The Belarusian state television broadcast a second interview with the imprisoned journalist and government critic Roman Protasevich (26). Suddenly he admits wrongdoing – and praises ruler Alexander Lukashenko (66). For Protasevich’s father, the interview is clearly the result of “abuse, torture and threats.”
The 26-year-old government critic was arrested after his Ryanair flight was forced to land in the capital Minsk by a Belarusian fighter jet en route from Athens to Vilnius. Now he admits on state television that he has called for protests.
The Belarusian authorities accuse Protasevich of organizing demonstrations against the government after the controversial presidential election last year.
“You broke it”
Protasevich’s father told the AFP news agency that it was a testimony obtained through torture. “I know my son very well and I think he would never say something like that,” he says.
Activist in Belarus: Protasevich sits in Lukashenko’s torture lock(03:32)
The worried father goes on to say: “You broke him and forced him to say what was necessary.”
Roman Protasevich and his partner were arrested on May 23 and have been in custody ever since. In response to the forced landing arrest, the EU closed its airspace to aircraft from Belarus. In addition, a landing ban was issued. (euc)