German Evangelical Church condemns Belarus


Central Europe


The Boeing 737-8AS Ryanair passenger plane (flight FR4978, SP-RSM) from Athens, Greece, that was intercepted and diverted to Minsk on the same day by Belarus authorities, landing at Vilnius International Airport, its initial destination. photo AFP, Petras Malukas

The Evangelical Church of Germany (EKD) has called for the immediate release of journalist Roman Protasevich, who was arrested by Belarussian police. This writes the German press agency IDEA.

"I urge the Belarusian authorities to release Roman Protasevich immediately, as well as all other political prisoners. All the people in Belarus, especially the prisoners and their families and friends, deserve our full attention and solidarity", said Petra Bosse-Huber, Bishop of the EKD Church Office in Hanover, on Tuesday in a statement. Bosse-Huber leads the "Ecumenism and work abroad"-department of the EKD.

Protasevich was on a flight from Athens to the Lithuanian of Vilnius. When the plane was in Belarusian airspace, air traffic controllers warned the pilots of a bomb threat, thus forcing them to land at the Minsk airport. From there, Belarusian police arrested Protasevich and his girlfriend. The European Union condemned the actions of Belarus and implemented sanctions.

According to the German Bishop, the arrest of Protasevich is a "kidnapping that reveals the terrifying relentlessness with which the regime persecutes all those who campaign for freedom, democracy and human rights in Belarus."

Bosse-Huber expressed the expectations that "the governments of the European states and the European Union will find an appropriate political response to this kidnapping and offer protection to members of the freedom movement who are similarly at risk".


Earlier, the German Catholic Eastern Europe relief organisation Renovabis also expressed its horror at the forced landing of the passenger plane in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Renovabis managing director Markus Ingenlath emphasised to Katholisch.de that the renewed escalation of violence by the Belarusian government was "only the spectacular tip of the iceberg".

Since the controversial presidential election last August and the subsequent mass protests against the re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko, the intimidation, suppression and arrests of opponents of the regime have continued.



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