KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — A dissident journalist who was arrested after his plane was diverted to Belarus said in a video from prison that protests against the country’s authoritarian leader had fizzled and the opposition should wait for a better moment to revive demonstrations. It was Raman Pratasevich’s second such appearance that allies dismissed as having been coerced.
In footage aired late Wednesday on Belarusian state TV during an hour-long program, the 26-year-old Pratasevich also said that he had been set up by an unidentified associate.
The presenter of the broadcast on the ONT channel claimed that the Belarusian authorities were unaware that Pratasevich was on board a Ryanair jet en route from Greece to Lithuania when flight controllers diverted it to the Belarusian capital of Minsk on May 23, citing a bomb threat. No bomb was found after the landing, but Pratasevich was arrested along with his Russian girlfriend.