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Belarusian journalist arrested off flight was 'hostage' at press conference

Belarusian dissident journalist Raman Pratasevich attends a news conference at the National Press Center of Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Minsk, Belarus, Monday, June 14.
Belarusian dissident journalist Raman Pratasevich attends a news conference at the National Press Center of Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Minsk, Belarus, Monday, June 14. Copyright Ramil Nasibulin/BelTA pool photo via AP
Copyright Ramil Nasibulin/BelTA pool photo via AP
By Euronews with AP
Published on Updated
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The Belarusian dissident journalist who was arrested after authorities diverted a Ryanair flight to Minsk was present at a foreign ministry press briefing on Monday.

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Raman Pratasevich, the Belarusian dissident journalist who was arrested after his flight was diverted to Minsk last month, was present at a Belarusian foreign ministry news conference on Monday.

“No matter what he says, let’s not forget: he is a hostage. And the regime is using him as a trophy,” Franak Viacorka, an adviser to exiled opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, said on Twitter on Monday.

In May, Belarusian authorities diverted the Ryanair flight travelling from Greece to Lithuania in what EU leaders called a "hijacking".

The 26-year-old journalist founded a messaging app channel that was widely used in last year’s massive protests against hardline President Alexander Lukashenko.

BBC correspondent Jonah Fisher left the news conference when Pratasevich appeared, saying later on Twitter: “not taking part when he is clearly there under duress.”

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