According to Rome, Protasevic begged flight attendants not to land Flight 4978 in Minsk. Politico..
When the pilot announced an emergency landing, passengers said the flight was “only minutes” from their destination.
Protasevic told passengers that he was “faced with the death penalty.”
Belarusian journalist and activist Roman Protasevich Detained in Minsk On Sunday, he begged flight attendants not to land an Athens-Vilnius flight in the Belarusian capital because of fears of his life. Politico..
Belarusian officials sent fighters on Sunday to bypass Ryanair’s plane because of the threat of a fake bomb. When a passenger plane was forced to land in Minsk, police officers boarded a jet plane, arrested Protasevic and his girlfriend, and caused international anger.
Passengers on Ryanair Flight 4978 told the outlet that the plane was “just minutes” from its Lithuanian destination when the pilot announced that it would make an emergency landing in Minsk.
Initially, Politico reported that many of the 171 passengers on the flight were worried that there might be something wrong with the plane or Vilnius Airport.
However, according to media reports, the 26-year-old dissident Protasevic, who has openly criticized Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s rule, knew what was really happening.
Passengers in flight said The Daily Beast As soon as Ryanair announced the detour, Protasevic “immediately” opened the overhead compartment to collect the electronics and handed the laptop and phone to his girlfriend. Sophia Sapega.
“The man standing behind me wants to talk to the steward,” Razel, a Lithuanian woman living in Greece, told Politico. “He was shocked and scared.”
After that, Protasevic began to appeal to the crew.
“Don’t do this. They will kill me,” he said. “I am a refugee.”
According to witnesses, flight attendants cited a “legal agreement” as the reason the plane had to land.
The other passengers were mostly calm, but the passengers said AFP Reporter Katie Lee Protasevic expressed fear and told other passengers that he was “faced with the death penalty.”
“He wasn’t screaming, but it was clear he was very afraid,” passenger Edvinas Disma told Lee. “If the window was open, he would have jumped out of it.”
Upon arriving in Minsk, authorities dropped the passengers from the plane in groups of five, and the dog sniffed the passengers and their bags, Politico reported.
One passenger, Saulius Ambrule, told news sites in the Baltic states Delphi, He soon realized that the bomb threat was a ploy.
“When we landed, people were standing around the plane doing nothing and seemed happy with themselves,” Danauskas told the outlet. “They didn’t release us for 30 minutes. If there was a bomb on the plane, why didn’t they release us?”
The passenger said New York Times Protasevic’s luggage was checked twice before the guards took him to the terminal and was arrested there.
“The Romans were with us and after we arrived they took him and his girlfriend,” Razel told Politico. “Everything very carefully. He was very calm and did not scream. He followed them and somehow accepted his destiny.”
For the next seven hours, passengers said they were waiting.
“The Belarusian authorities treated us like prisoners. We were on the bus for hours but couldn’t go to the bathroom for hours without water at the airport. All they actually did. To show that they are looking for something, when they just wanted to get a man, “Razel told Politico. “It was a circus, a blunder.”
Belarusian national media reported that it was Lukashenko who gave the “obvious order” to ground the plane in Minsk. Insider Cheryl Te reported, according to Flightradar.com data showing that the jet was closer to its Lithuanian destination than Minsk.
A lawyer trying to help Protasevic told the Times that he believed he was in a prison in Minsk, run by a Belarusian intelligence agency.
Belarusian authorities on Monday I posted a video Of Protasevic, he said he was working with the authorities.
International response is quick. on Monday, European Union moved to isolate Belarus, Orders all EU-based airlines to evade Belarusian airspace and prohibits Belarusian airlines from entering EU airspace and landing at airports.
The White House Called for an international search To detour the flight, President Joe Biden issued a statement praising the European Union’s call for economic sanctions.
“The United States will continue to face the fight against the people of Belarus,” Biden said.
Read the original article Business insider