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Belarus pardons disident blogger Roman Protasevich, state media says

Protasevich being arrested at an anti-government protest in Minsk circa 2020
Protasevich being arrested at an anti-government protest in Minsk circa 2020 Copyright Sergei Grits/Copyright 2017 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Sergei Grits/Copyright 2017 The AP. All rights reserved
By Euronews with Anadolu
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Protasevich was accused of coordinating mass protests against President Alexander Lukashenko in 2020.

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Belarusian authorities have pardoned Roman Protasevic, an opposition activist and journalist who was arrested and sentenced for coordinating mass protests against President Alexander Lukashenko in 2020.

The 28-year-old was arrested two years ago on a Ryanair flight from Athens to Vilnius, which made an emergency landing in Minsk due to a ‘bomb threat’.

In a statement to the Belarusian press, Protasevic stated that Lukashenko issued an amnesty decision and that he signed the necessary documents for his pardon.

Protasevic, who was released with the amnesty decision, said: "Of course, this is excellent news. I am personally grateful to the President and the country for this decision."

His family however said the string of apologetic statements was forced.

On 3 May, the Minsk District Court sentenced Protasevic to eight years in prison for his involvement in terrorist incidents in Belarus.

Protasevic had been placed under house arrest since being apprehended.

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