LVIV, Ukraine (AP) — A lady who ran a Belarusian opposition messaging app channel and was arrested alongside together with her activist boyfriend when an airliner they had been on was pressured to land in Belarus was convicted Friday of costs that included inciting social hatred.
Following her conviction, Sophia Sapega was sentenced to 6 years in jail.
Sapega is a Russian citizen, and her lawyer, Anton Gashinsky, stated she would enchantment to Russian President Vladimir Putin to intervene.
Sapega and Raman Pratasevich had been flying from Athens, Greece, to Vilnius, Lithuania a 12 months in the past when their airplane was ordered to land in Belarus accompanied by a fighter jet due to an alleged bomb risk.
Pratasevich was the editor of Nexta, a well-liked channel on the Telegram messaging app that was a key think about organizing protests in Belarus after President Alexander Lukashenko gained a disputed sixth time period in August 2020.
Sapega ran one other Telegram channel that printed the private knowledge of civil servants and army personnel who took half in mass repressions of the protests.
Western international locations denounced the airplane diversion as tantamount to air piracy by Belarus. The European Union banned Belarusian airways from its air area and airports as a part of sanctions in opposition to the nation.
The post-election protests had been probably the most critical problem to Lukashenko’s authoritarian rule since he first took workplace in 1994.
The protests attracted as many as 200,000 folks within the capital of Belarus on some days and persevered for a number of months. Authorities responded with a extreme crackdown by which police arrested greater than 35,000 folks and hundreds had been overwhelmed. Main opposition figures have been imprisoned or pressured into exile.