Roman Protasevich: voluntary / compulsory (?) Interview

26-year-old Roman Protasevich, arrested during a forced landing in Minsk, gave an interview to the Belarusian state television. Relatives consider his remorse compulsory, human rights activists claim that he was tortured.

Tears, recognition in the attempt to overthrow Lukashenka, praise for the Belarusian president and hopes for a calm family life, without politics and protests – what was that? Repentance, fear, consequences of torture and cowardice? Parents and human rights activists are sure that he was tortured, as evidenced by the marks of the handcuffs, that is, Roman was forced to say what he was saying. They just broke it …

The oppositionist’s father admitted to AFP that his son’s interview caused him real pain:

“I know my son very well and I think that he would never say such things. They broke him and made him say what was needed. “

Human rights activist Kenneth Roth notes:

“It’s horrible to think about the brutality that the Belarusian security forces must have used to force Roman Protasevich to make this video. This should be evidence of A in the prosecution of torture and ill-treatment under President Lukashenka. ”

But back to the point. In an interview that aired Thursday night, Protasevich announced that he was giving it of his own free will. He admitted that he wanted to overthrow the current Belarusian president, criticized him a lot, but “he began to understand that he was doing the right thing, and I certainly respect him.” In the end, emotions prevailed, Protasevich burst into tears and shared his desire to forget about politics, get married and have children, says the BBC. Wiping away his tears, Roman declared:

I never want to get involved in politics again. I want to hope that I can fix everything and live an ordinary calm life, have a family, children, stop running from something. Sorry.

What is it? Directed production? Sincere remorse? Real fear of retaliation? The claims are controversial, and everyone can draw their own conclusion by watching the video. This is the third interview of the oppositionist on state television after he was arrested at the Minsk airport. In one of them, he noted that it is useless to call people for further protests. The journalist and Sophia Sapega, who is on the same flight with him and his girlfriend detained with him, face serious charges. And if Roman faces up to 15 years in prison for organizing mass riots, then under the article for terrorist activities he may receive a harsher sentence. It was not for nothing that on the plane, upon learning about the landing in Minsk, he said: “I will receive the death penalty here.”

The couple’s arrest caused a violent EU reaction, which is preparing an extensive package of sanctions against the Belarusian authorities. Effective from midnight today ban on the use of the EU airspace by Belarusian airlines. And this is just the beginning. Ursula von der Leyen called the incident an “attack on democracy” and Charles Michel, head of the EU Council, said:

“We will not tolerate trying to play Russian roulette with the lives of innocent civilians.”

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