British lawyers have won a case at the UN on the arbitrary detention of Raman Pratasevich. Updated

Photo: BelTA
3 mins

На русском языке: Британские адвокаты выиграли дело в ООН по поводу незаконного задержания Романа Протасевича. Обновляется
На беларускай мове: Брытанскія адвакаты выйгралі справу ў ААН наконт незаконнага затрымання Рамана Пратасевіча. Абнаўляецца

Today, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) decided that Raman Pratasevich was imprisoned without legal basis after the forced landing of a Ryanair plane in Minsk on May 23, 2021. At the same time, a number of articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights were violated. This is reported by Nikolai Khalezin in his telegram channel with reference to the UN Human Rights Office. WGAD appealed to the government of Belarus with a request to immediately release Pratasevich and accord to him compensation and other reparations.

Khalezin publishes the details of the case. Thus, it describes as on May 23, Pratasevich boarded Ryanair flight FR4978 from Athens to Vilnius and when the aircraft crossed Belarusian airspace, it was confronted by a MiG-29 fighter jet. As a result, the board was ordered to make an emergency landing in Minsk. On landing, Pratasevich and his partner Sophia Sapega were detained by Belarusian authorities and taken into Belarusian state security (the KGB) custody.

«Mr. Pratasevich has not been allowed to see his family since his arrest. He has inadequate access to legal assistance and there is a reasonable basis to believe that his interactions with his counsel and parents are monitored and recorded. There is a strong presumption that he has been subjected to physical violence and/or psychological pressure, including threats of “extradition” to pro-Russian separatist militias in Eastern Ukraine (so-called ‘Luhansk People’s Republic’), where he could face torture and/or death. The authorities have broadcast several “confessions”, which Mr. Pratasevich’s parents believe were extracted under duress. On 25 June 2021, the authorities announced that Mr. Pratasevich and Ms. Sapega have been remanded under “house arrest”. Mr. Pratasevich remains under constant guard in an unknown location with little or no contact with the outside world»,– the message states.

In its decision, the WGAD concluded that Pratasevich has been arbitrarily deprived of his liberty, in contravention of Articles 2, 3, 7, 9, 10, 11, 19 and 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Articles 9, 14, 19, 21 and 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. 

In particular, the WGAD held that Pratasevich has been held without legal basis, that his arrest and detention were “based solely on his journalistic activity, his freedoms of express and assembly” and on “discrimination based on his political opinion”, and that his presumption of innocence, right not to be compelled to confess guilt and right to counsel have been flagrantly violated.

The WGAD expressed very serious concern for the physical and psychological well-being of Pratasevich and requested the Government of Belarus to immediately release him and accord to him compensation and other reparations. 

It’s noted that the WGAD decision is very strongly worded in relation to the authorities’ treatment of Pratasevich and the situation in Belarus more broadly. 

We remind that Raman Pratasevich is a journalist and the former editor-in-chief of the NEXTA and «Belarus Golovnogo Mozga» Telegram channels that played a pivotal role in broadcasting footage of the Lukashenko regime’s violent crackdown on protesters in the wake of the August 2020 presidential elections. 

Being updated.

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