Six years in prison for journalist's girlfriend caught on plane in Belarus

A Belarusian court on Friday sentenced the girlfriend of a Belarusian journalist to six years in prison, nearly a year after they were arrested on a commercial plane hijacked to Minsk by a fighter jet.

Sofia Sapega, a Russian national, was arrested on May 23, 2021, while traveling from Greece to Lithuania with Roman Protasevitch on a Ryanair plane that was forced to land in Minsk by the Belarusian authorities.

Sapega will serve his sentence in a “general correctional colony”, the Belarusian Supreme Court announced in a statement.

The court found her guilty of inciting social hatred and illegally collecting personal data, among other charges, according to the French agency AFP.

The trial took place at the regional court in Grodno, 300 kilometers west of Minsk, close to Belarus’ border with Poland and Lithuania.

Russian news agency TASS added that Sapega was taken into custody after the sentence was read and has 10 days to appeal the court’s decision.

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