On March 28, the Grodno Regional Court of Belarus began a trial in the case of Russian woman Sofya Sapega, who was arrested last year along with Belarusian opposition blogger Roman Protasevich after a forced landing of a Ryanair plane in Minsk. She was charged under seven articles of the Criminal Code.
The judge granted the prosecutor’s motion to hold the hearing behind closed doors. About it informs Correspondent of the Belarusian state agency BelTA.
According to the publication, this decision was made “in order to prevent the spread of information of an extremist nature”, and is also allegedly connected with the fact that during the consideration of the criminal case personal data of more than 230 people, including judges, prosecutors and employees of internal affairs bodies, will be announced. .
The charges were filed under the following articles of the Criminal Code:
- Part 3 of Article 130 (“Commission of intentional actions aimed at inciting other social hatred, committed by an organized group of persons that entailed other grave consequences”);
- part 4 of article 16 and article 364 (“Organization of violence and threats of violence against an employee of the internal affairs body and his relatives in order to obstruct his lawful activities”);
- part 4 of article 16 and article 365 (“Organization of influence on an employee of the internal affairs bodies in order to change the nature of his legal activities by threatening to destroy and damage property, spreading slanderous information and divulging other information that he wants to keep secret”);
- part 4 of article 16 and part 1 of article 366 (“Organization of violence and threats of violence, destruction and damage to property against an official performing official duties”);
- Part 4 of Article 16 and Article 389 (“Organization of a threat of murder, violence, destruction and damage to property against a judge and their relatives, and threats of disseminating slanderous and disclosure of other information that these persons wish to keep secret, committed in connection with the implementation of justice by a judge “);
- part 4 of article 16 and article 198 (“Organization of obstruction in any form of the legal professional activity of a journalist, forcing him to refuse to disseminate information committed with the use of violence, with the threat of its use, destruction and damage to property, infringement of rights and legal interests of a journalist”);
- Parts 1 and 2 of Article 203-1 (“Deliberate illegal collection and dissemination of information about the private life and personal data of another person without his consent, which caused significant harm to the rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of a citizen”).
According to investigators, Sofya Sapega administered the Black Book of Belarus telegram channel, which published the personal data of the Belarusian security forces. The channel itself has been declared extremist in Belarus. Last May, state TV channels aired a video where Sapieha said she was the editor of this telegram channel.
The Russian woman was detained on May 23, 2021 after the Belarusian authorities forcibly landed the Athens-Vilnius airliner in Minsk, in which she flew with the co-founder of the Nexta telegram channel Roman Protasevich.
Western countries sharply condemned the actions of Minsk, accusing the regime of Alexander Lukashenko of air piracy in order to kidnap a person. The main attention was drawn to the figure of Protasevich.
Shortly after his arrest, Protasevich began speaking in the Belarusian media criticizing his former associates. Subsequently, he was released from the detention center. The charges against him have not been dropped, but there is no reliable information about where he is now and what he is doing.