"Please save him", begs mother of Belarusian journalist

Parents of Roman Protasevich, the Belarusian journalist detained after detour to Minsk by a commercial Ryanair flight to Lithuania, beg help the international community to release their son, who faces the death penalty in Belarus for opposing the Lukashenko regime.

I ask you, I implore you, I call on the entire international community to save you. He’s just a journalist, he’s just a child, please, please … I beg you for help. Please save him! They will kill you “, said Natalia Protasevich, a mother in tears in an interview with the French agency AFP, this Tuesday, from Wroclaw, Poland, where she lives.

Natalia also said that she has not slept since she learned of the arrest and that she spends time on the phone hoping to receive news about her son, the 26-year-old Belarusian opponent, who, in a video released on state television “confesses” the crimes of which he is accused, specifically to have organized the demonstrations against the reelection of President Aleksandr Lukashenko in elections that are not very transparent.

For eight months, Natalia, 46, and Roman’s husband and father, Dmitry, 48, have lived in Poland, where their son also lived after fleeing Belarus due to political persecution. Roman eventually moved to Lithuania with his girlfriend, Sofia Sapega, who was also arrested. In fact, he felt so safe that he did not hesitate to go on vacation to Greece, an episode that ended on Sunday, with the hijacking of Ryanair airliner where it went, internationally condemned act and that has already led to sanctions against Belarus by the European Union.

Roman’s parents fear that their son is being held under the purview of secret services, specifically the KGB, but that they know nothing more than that.

The lawyer tried to see him today, but failed. We do not know where he is, under what conditions and how he is being treated. One of our authorities’ methods of torture is not to tell families where their loved ones are being held “, added Dmitry, a former soldier.

Natalia and Dmitry have no doubt that their son was forced to confess to having organized the protests in Minsk and that it was possible to see that they beat him. To his father, Roman looked extremely nervous, appeared to have no teeth and had marks of aggression on the left side of his face and neck.

The video was clearly staged. It was done under duress and cannot be credited “insisted the father.

The mother also revealed that Roman was always a “fighter for justice”, a struggle that started as a teenager, when he started in journalism and political activism.


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