Belarus diverts Ryanair plane to arrest dissident journalist; secret police present on flight, says airline CEO-World News , Firstpost
Roman Protasevich was held on Sunday after a Ryanair flight from Athens to Vilnius was intercepted by a Belarusian fighter jet and diverted to the capital of Minsk, State TV reported
Dublin: Belarus secret police are believed to have been present when a dissident journalist was detained when his plane was diverted to Minsk, the pinnacle of the Irish airline mentioned on Monday.
Roman Protasevich was held on Sunday after a Ryanair flight from Athens to Vilnius was intercepted by a Belarusian fighter jet and diverted to the capital of Minsk, state TV reported.
“It seems the intent of the authorities was to take away a journalist and his travelling companion,” Ryanair chief govt Michael O’Leary advised Eire’s Newstalk radio.
“We imagine there have been some (Belarusian safety company) KGB brokers offloaded on the airport as properly.”
Dublin-headquartered Ryanair is famend for ultra-low-cost, short-haul flights throughout the continental bloc.
Favoured by price range holidaymakers, the service is an unlikely participant in a high-stakes diplomatic disaster.
“I believe it is the primary time it is occurred to a European airline,” O’Leary mentioned.
“It was a state-sponsored hijacking, it was state-sponsored piracy.”
The Irish authorities additionally blamed Belarus for the diversion and known as for a troublesome response from Brussels.
“We can not permit this incident to go on the idea of warnings or robust press releases,” Irish Overseas Minister Simon Coveney advised state broadcaster RTE.
“I believe there has to be actual edge to the sanctions which can be utilized on the again of this.”
EU leaders are to meet later on Monday and are anticipated to toughen sanctions towards the japanese European state.
“It was an Irish airline, a plane that was registered in Poland, filled with EU nationals, travelling between two EU capitals,” Coveney mentioned.
“This will solely be described as aviation piracy,” he added.
“I believe the EU has to give a really clear response to it in any other case we’re giving all of the mistaken alerts.”
“We demand a right away worldwide investigation,” exiled Belarus opposition chief Svetlana Tikhanovskaya advised RTE.
“The escalation of violence in Belarus is the results of impunity, so now we have to put far more stress on the regime.”
Protasevich’s good friend, Franak Viacorka in the meantime advised BBC radio in London there was “no chance of coincidence… no chance that this plane was moved to Minsk due to different causes”.
Viacorka mentioned he was in contact along with his good friend earlier than he left Athens and mentioned Protasevich was involved that he was being adopted within the airport.
“I am unable to think about what’s taking place to him proper now,” he added.
“His girlfriend was arrested with him. She’s a Russian citizen. They each have been taken on the identical flight… They are going to be taking revenge, they are going to be punishing them each.”
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