According to the Nexta channel, Pratasevich’s associate Stěpan Putilo (Pucila), who lives in Poland, was also sentenced in absentia to twenty years. This was confirmed by the TASS agency. She added that Jan Rudik (Rudnik) was given 19 years.
Pratasevič was prosecuted for “inciting social hatred, organizing mass protests and calling for acts threatening national security”. His Nexta Telegram channel reported on opposition actions during protests after the rigged Belarusian presidential election.
At the same time, the Nexta channel was banned in Belarus and labeled as terrorist. Pratasevich was aware of the danger and lived in exile. However, when he was returning from a holiday in Greece, Belarusian authorities forced a Ryanair plane flying from Athens to Vilnius with Pratasevich on board to land in Minsk. They also arrested his partner, Russia’s Sofia Sapage.
The Belarusian court sent Pratasevich’s girlfriend to prison for six years
Pratasevich pleaded guilty and asked for a fair sentence
Prosecutor Natalia Sokolovová demanded a ten-year sentence in maximum security prison for Pratasevich, twenty years for Putil and 19 for Rudik.
She explained the lower requested sentence by the fact that Pratasevich cooperated in the investigation. At the start of the trial in February, he said he felt guilty and asked the court to give him a “fair sentence”. The prosecutor’s office added that the accused, who was under house arrest, complied with the terms of the agreement, TASS wrote.
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