On Thursday in Warsaw, Natalia and Dmitry Protasevich held a press conference in which they asked for support in freeing their son, Belarusian opposition journalist Roman Protasevich.
“I turn to you as Roman’s mother. I want you to hear my scream, the scream of my soul. I want you to understand how difficult this is for us and how we’re struggling with this absurd situation,” Natalia Protasevich said.
She urged the conference’s participants to convey her plea everywhere throughout the world — to EU leaders, the EU leadership and US authorities.
“I beg you, help me save my son,” she said.
Roman’s mother also added that Belarusian authorities are persecuting Belarusian citizens who want freedom, democracy and a better future. She emphasized, that her son had been a peaceful journalist who simply reported on what was going on in his country.
Dmitry Protasevich, on the other hand, thanked journalists and media outlets for a truthful account of events surrounding Roman Protasevich’s arrest by Belarusian authorities.
“Roman was a journalist just like you,” he said.
Conflicting information concerning Roman Protasevich’s health appeared on Monday. Independent Belarusian media outlets informed that the journalist had been taken to hospital, but several minutes later Belarusian propaganda channels released a recording in which Protasevich assured that he was feeling well.
On Sunday, May 23, Belarusian authorities ordered a Ryanair passenger plane on the Athens-Vilnius route to conduct an emergency landing in Minsk. The reason offered was the alleged presence of a bomb on board the plane. Once the aircraft landed, Belarusian police detained and arrested opposition activist and journalist Roman Protasevich and his girlfriend.
Belarus’ actions were condemned by the international community and many countries, which accused Belarus of breaking international law, piracy and state terror. The European Union has urged commercial flights to avoid Belarusian airspace and imposed stronger sanctions on the Belarusian government.