Roman Protasevich: Journalist appears on state television

Belarusian journalist Roman Protasevich, who was arrested in Minsk after being taken off a diverted flight last month, has appeared in a tearful interview on state television.

In the interview, he confessed to organising anti-government protests and praised President Alexander Lukashenko.

Mr Protasevich’s family say the interview was conducted under duress.

The reporter, 26, was editor of the opposition Nexta channel on the Telegram messaging app until last year.

He was put on a list of “individuals involved in terrorist activity” last year.

Mass protests erupted across Belarus after long-time leader Alexander Lukashenko claimed victory in a 9 August presidential election widely condemned as rigged, and a crackdown followed.

In the interview broadcast on Thursday evening, Mr Protasevich admitted to attempting to topple Alexander Lukashenko and said that he was speaking to the television channel by choice.

He said that he had criticised President Lukashenko a lot but “began to understand that he was doing the right thing and I certainly respect him”.

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