The former editor-in-chief of the Telegram-channel NEXTA Roman Protasevich, detained in Minsk, pleaded guilty under the article on organizing and preparing actions that grossly violate public order. This message appeared in Telegram-channel BelTA on Thursday, June 3.
We are talking about massive protests that gripped Belarusian cities after the end of the presidential elections in August 2020. “The appeals that I published contributed to the riots on the streets and Minsk lived in a state of chaos for three days,” Protasevich said.
He explained that he pleaded guilty immediately after the presentation of charges and documents that allegedly confirm his involvement in the incident. “I admit it openly. I was one of those people who posted calls to go outside 9 [августа]”, – added the journalist.
The former editor-in-chief of NEXTA and his girlfriend were detained on May 23. They flew from Athens to Vilnius on a Ryanair plane. The board urgently landed in Minsk after the report of a bomb on board. At home, Protasevich is accused of creating an extremist group and calling for riots after the presidential elections in August 2020.
After the publication of the first video with a confessionary testimony, journalists and doctors saw signs of torture on Protasevich’s face, including strangulation. The security forces tried to hide the use of violence against the detainee using foundation. In turn, the oppositionist’s lawyer justified the abrasions on his forehead by saying that he “stood for a long time, was tired and leaned his forehead against the wall.”
In Belarus, for more than six months, mass protests continued after the presidential elections on August 9, 2020. The reason for them was the alleged violations during the voting. The actions were harshly suppressed by the police and riot police. Tens of thousands of people were detained, many spoke of torture and beatings in isolation wards. Four people were killed in clashes with security officials, dozens were sentenced to imprisonment. Episodic local protests are still taking place in the country.