The four men reside in Belarus and are considered “on the run” by American justice.
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Published on 01/20/2022 23:49
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American justice announced, Thursday, January 20, the indictment of Belarusian government officials accused of having diverted a Ryanair plane in 2021 to arrest an opposition journalist who was on board.
According to a statement from the Manhattan federal prosecutor, four officials are charged with a “conspiracy to commit an act of piracy to divert Ryanair flight 4978” on May 23, 2021, which traveled from Athens to Vilnius, to the airport from Minsk “in response to an alleged bomb threat on board the plane”.
In detail, the American justice accuses “Belarusian government officials Leonid Mikalaevich Churo, Oleg Kazyuchits”, and two others, with incomplete or unknown identities “of having participated centrally in the plot”. The four men reside in Belarus and are considered “on the run” by American justice.
On May 23, 2021, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko sparked international outrage by sending a fighter jet to intercept Ryanair flight FR4978 linking Greece to Lithuania. The plane had been forced to land in Minsk and the Belarusian authorities had arrested a dissident journalist, Roman Protasevich, and his partner Sofia Sapega who were on board. Several countries, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and the European Union, had announced sanctions against Belarus.
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