Roman Protasevich: Arrested Belarusian journalist appears in 'confession' video

24 May 2021, 20:26 | Updated: 24 May 2021, 23:51

Roman Protasevich has appeared in a new video released by Belarusian authorities
Roman Protasevich has appeared in a new video released by Belarusian authorities. Picture: Nexta Telegram
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

The journalist who was arrested after a Ryanair flight was redirected to Belarus in a "state-sponsored hijacking" has appeared in an apparent confession video.

Roman Protasevich was seen on pro-government channels appearing to admit that he had been "plotting riots" in the capital Minsk last year.

He also reportedly said that those who had arrested him have treated him "correctly" and "lawfully".

However, the footage appears to show the journalist with a number of marks on his forehead.

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In the footage, Mr Protasevich - who is a critic of the Belarusian dictator - said he is good health and admitted helping to organise mass protests in Minsk last year.

He also denied having heart problems, claims which had been shared on social media.

On Sunday, Mr Protasevich was taken into custody in the eastern European country during a flight from Athens, Greece, to Vilnius, Lithuania, on the orders of President Alexander Lukashenko.

The plane was redirected to the Belarusian capital after Ryanair staff were told by flight controllers that there was a bomb threat against the aircraft.

According to the independent Russian media outlet Mediazona, the journalist said in the video: "I continue to cooperate with the investigation and give confessions about the organization of riots in the city of Minsk."

The outspoken critic of Mr Lukashenko added that he was in a pre-trial detention facility in the capital and denied reports of heart problems that had been reported on social media.

He can be seen sitting at a table wearing a dark top and holding both hands together in front of him.

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