[Warsaw, Poland]Belarusian opposition announced on Friday that dissident journalists were forced to appear in national television videos.
In a 90-minute video aired Thursday night, 26-year-old Roman Protasevich repented of his opposition and said he respected Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko as “a man with a steel ball.” ..
His colleagues responded with anger, accusing Belarusian authorities of slandering themselves and forcing Protasevic to deny the opposition.
Sviatrana Chikanoskaya, a key opposition candidate in the Belarusian presidential election last August, said that when she visited Poland, Protasevic and other prisoners were “certainly tortured” from the detention center. Has been assaulted. “
Anna Krasulina, a spokesman for Tsikhanouskaya, described Protasevich as a hostage.
“He made his remarks under severe physical and psychological pressure, perhaps under drugs,” Lukashenko told The Associated Press. “We, the Lukashenko administration threatened Belarusian democratic forces. Requests the immediate release of Roman, who was used as a toy and tool to do so. “
On May 23, when a Belarusian controller ordered pilots to land in Minsk because of the threat of a bomb, Protasevich was flying from Greece to Lithuania on a Ryanair flight. No bomb was found, but Protasevic and his Russian girlfriend were arrested.
Protasevic said on a state-owned ONT channel show that he was nervous with a quivering voice, and opposition parties were pondering a strong government change plan, in an internal conflict to split the funds provided by Poland and Lithuania. Said he was trapped.
Protasevic, who ran a widely popular channel on Telegram’s messaging app, helped organize months of protests against Lukashenko. He also expressed repentance for his actions and was extensive. He said he pleaded guilty to organizing the turmoil. The charges are 15 years in prison.
Protasevic said he feared he could be sentenced to death for being part of a battalion of volunteers who fought against Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine. He begged Lukashenko not to hand him over to the separatists who initiated a criminal investigation against him.
In the end, he said he was fed up with political action and just wanted to have a family and live a normal life. Then he shed tears and covered his face with his hands. There were clearly visible handcuffs marks on the wrist.
Stsiapan Putsila, co-founder of the Nexta channel with Protasevich, told The Associated Press that Protasevich was likely exposed to both “psychological pressure and specially designed drugs,” and the failure was the result of medication. He added that there is a possibility.
“His remarks have nothing to do with reality, the result of intolerable torture and emotional exploitation,” Pzira told The Associated Press, officials apparently brainwashing Protasevic and betraying his colleagues. He added that he was trying to convince him.
Belarus has been shaken by months of protests triggered by Lukashenko’s re-election in the sixth term in the August vote, which was widely seen as tampering. Belarusian leaders responded to opposition demands to resign in a fierce crackdown. More than 35,000 people were arrested, thousands were beaten, and opposition leaders were imprisoned or forced to leave the country.
The show, which aired Thursday night, was Protasevic’s third appearance on state television. In a short video the day after his arrest, he confessed that he had produced a massive uproar, and other remarks broadcast Wednesday weakened demonstrations against Lukashenko, and opposition parties had a better moment to revive them. He said he should wait. He also said it was set up by an unidentified companion.
Furious European Union leaders responded to flight detours by keeping Belarus’ flag carrier Belarus out of the block’s airports and airspace and instructing European airlines to bypass Belarus. They also further strengthened the sanctions previously introduced by the United States and the EU and drafted a devastating new measure against the country’s top industrial enterprises.
In Berlin, a spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel said, “The German government condemns this new presentation of Protasevic in the strongest words.”
Stephen Seibert called the confession “totally worthless and plausible.”
“This is a disgrace to the broadcasters that screened it and the leadership of Belarus,” Seibert told reporters in Berlin.