The Russian girlfriend of a Belarusian dissident arrested with him when their airplane was diverted to Minsk is being held on suspicion of crimes on the time of protests final yr, Moscow mentioned Tuesday.
Sofia Sapega, a 23-year-old legislation scholar on the European Humanities University (EHU) in Lithuania, was detained together with opposition journalist Roman Protasevich, 26, when their Athens-to-Vilnius flight was diverted to Minsk on Sunday.
The diversion, prompted by a supposed bomb scare, provoked a worldwide outcry and Western leaders have been calling for each to be launched.
Russian international ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova mentioned in a press release Tuesday that Sapega was being held on suspicion of “committing crimes” between August and September 2020.
That interval corresponds with the outbreak of mass anti-government protests that rocked ex-Soviet Belarus after a disputed presidential election in August final yr.
The expenses in opposition to Sapega weren’t specified, however Zakharova mentioned they’re coated by a number of articles of the Belarusian legal code.
After three days, there might be a ruling on whether or not to launch her or put her in pre-trial detention, the assertion added.
Zakharova mentioned a Russian consul met on Monday with Sapega’s dad and mom, who stay in western Belarus.
Russia is anticipating to get permission for a consular assembly with Sapega quickly, she mentioned.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov mentioned earlier Tuesday that he “hopes that in the near future” Sapega might be launched.
Protasevich fled to Europe in 2019 from the place he co-ran the Nexta Telegram channels, a key Belarus opposition media that helped mobilise protesters.
In Belarus he faces expenses of organising mass unrest, an offence punishable by as much as 15 years in jail.
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