Belarusian court sentences Nexta organization member Roman Protasevich to eight years

MINSK: The Minsk Regional Court has sentenced Roman Protasevich, a member of the Nexta organization, which has been designated as a terroris...


MINSK: The Minsk Regional Court has sentenced Roman Protasevich, a member of the Nexta organization, which has been designated as a terrorist organization in Belarus, to eight years in prison, a TASS correspondent reported.

In his last statement to the court in late April, Protasevich pleaded for "a fair punishment that would not entail serving a prison term." He said that he was willing to do his best to offset the damage caused by his actions. The prosecution, however, asked the court to sentence Protasevich to ten years in prison.

The Belarusian Prosecutor General’s Office said earlier that Protasevich, who was under house arrest, had complied with a pre-trial cooperation agreement.

Nexta case

The Minsk Regional Court started hearing the case of Protasevich, Stepan Putilo and Yan Rudik in mid-February. The defendants were charged with organizing mass riots, inciting social hatred, creating an extremist formation and a terrorist organization, calling for the seizure of power and slandering the Belarusian president. Putilo and Rudik were also accused of plotting to seize power.

Putilo is the founder of Nexta’s channels on YouTube and social media. Protasevich and Rudik played an active part in these projects. In early April 2022, the Belarusian Supreme Court designated the Nexta extremist formation as a terrorist organization and banned its activities in the country. According to the Prosecutor General’s Office, the organization has been engaged in extremist and terrorist propaganda since mid-2020, and was also involved in the creation of groups of radically minded people for the purpose of committing unlawful acts.

Protasevich was detained in Minsk, along with Russian national Sofia Sapega, on May 23, 2021, after a Vilnius-bound Ryanair flight en route from Athens had been forced to make an emergency landing at Minsk International Airport after a reported bomb threat, which proved to be a false alarm. The pair were charged in particular with organizing activities that violated public order and inciting social hatred. On May 6, 2022, the Grodno Regional Court sentenced Sapega to six years in prison. The Belarusian Prosecutor General’s Office later granted her request to be remanded to Russian penal authorities to serve the remainder of her sentence in Russia. Moscow’s Presnensky District Court is expected to consider the Federal Penitentiary Service’s petition for Sapega’s handover to Russia on May 24.


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Local Glob: Belarusian court sentences Nexta organization member Roman Protasevich to eight years
Belarusian court sentences Nexta organization member Roman Protasevich to eight years
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