Dutch airline KLM to stop flying over Belarus after Rutte condemns the country

The Dutch airline will not fly over Belarus after the Belarusian authorities forced a Ryanair flight to land on Sunday. The plane was grounded due to a faulty bomb threat, but was actually used to arrest journalist Roman Protasevich.

Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, called for KLM to cease flights over Belarus yesterday. He referred to the forced landing of the Ryanair flight in Minsk as “unacceptable and unprecedented”, RTL Nieuws reports. The German airline Lufthansa has also stopped flights passing over Belarus.

Why was the Belarusian journalist arrested?

Roman Protasevich is a Belarusian journalist, blogger, and activist. He is the founder of the news channel Nexta, which has over two million followers. It reports on various issues including mass demonstrations against Belarusian president Lukashenko’s regime.

Since the journalist’s arrest, the regime has released footage of Portasevich confessing to attending protests in Belarus. Many believe he was coerced into confessing. According to the NOS, his own channel, Nexta, reports that the journalist has been hospitalised.

He currently faces the death penalty for his “crimes.” Below you can see the footage of his confession. The marks on his face suggest signs of physical coercion.

International outcry

Governments of various countries have also spoken out against Protasevich’s arrest. The Italian Foreign Ministry has called his arrest a “kidnapping”, while the president of the European Council referred to it as an “international scandal.”

German Chancellor, Angela Merkel has called for Protasevich to be released immediately, the NOS reports.

READ MORE | Big Brother: Dutch municipalities secretly watch citizens through social media

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Feature Image: Oskar Kadaskoo/Unsplash

Chloe Lovatt 🇬🇧http://globeshuffler.wordpress.com
A British native, Chloe has a love for other languages and cultures, having lived in Spain before moving to the Netherlands. She is keen to explore the Dutch landscape, cultural spots and — the most important — food! After being here for a few months she already has developed a mild addiction to kibbeling.

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