GAMAG EUROPA demands the immediate release of Protasevich and Sapega.
GAMAG EUROPA (GE), the European branch of the Global Alliance for Media and Gender demands an end to the oppression of freedom of expression in Belarus. We call on the Belarus authorities, together with President Alexander Lukashenko, to end all forms of harassment and attacks on journalists, bloggers, intellectuals and all independent voices in the country, with immediate effect.
Freedom of expression is an integral part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and must be respected.
Roman Protasevich, 26, Belarus blogger and former editor of the opposition Telegram channel NEXTA, together with Russian citizen Sofia Sapega, 23, his partner, were detained by Belarus police on May 23, after the flight they were on (Athens-Vilnius) was diverted to Minsk, following a bogus bomb threat. According to reports by the official Belarus news agency, President Lukashenko personally gave the order to land the plane because of a suspected bomb threat. No bomb was found on board the aircraft.
This arrest could lead to Protasevich facing the death penalty since he has been added to a list of state-named ‘terrorists’, in view of his media reports, which included the coverage of protests that followed the result of the 2020 general elections, as well as the reporting of brutal violence against protesters by law enforcement personnel.
These protests saw the arrest of a number of journalists, who are still in detention, and include our women colleagues:
Katsiaryna Andreeva, Dariya Chultsova, Yulia Slutskaya, Ala Sharko, Ksenia Lutskina, Marina Zolatav, Volga Loyka, Ludmila Chekina, Alena Talkachova, Angela Asad, Irina Rybalka, Ala Lapatka, Dariya Danilava, María Novik, Katsiaryna Tkachenka, Irina Kastsuchenka, Lubou Kaspiarovich, Irina Schastnaya, Hanna Vishniak, Viktoria Kulsza, Volga Klaskouskaya, Natalia Radzina, Ludmila Korszun and Katsiaryna Barysevich.
The full list of detained journalists is much longer.
GAMAG EUROPA demands the immediate release of Protasevich and Sapega, together with all journalists, bloggers, intellectuals, women and men being detained by the regime, as well as an independent investigation of the forced landing of the diverted Ryanair flight in Minsk.
Finally, we demand that all acts of violence against independent voices and critics of the Lukashenko regime be investigated, and an end to the persecution of freedom of expression in Belarus
 These names have been provided by the RAZAM Association of Belarusians in exile and confirmed by our fellow journalists in Minsk.
Photo: Diario Alerta de Cantabria
GAMAG EUROPE / 25-5-2021