Belarus opposition figure detained when flight diverted


KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — A founder of a messaging app channel that has been a key information conduit for opponents of Belarus’ authoritarian president has been arrested after an airliner in which he was traveling on was diverted to Belarus because of a bomb threat. Authorities said President Alexander Lukashenko personally ordered that a MiG-29 fighter jet accompany the plane to the Minsk airport Sunday. The Belarusian Interior Ministry said Raman Pratasevich was arrested at the airport. Pratasevich is a co-founder of the Telegram messaging app’s Nexta channel, which Belarus last year declared as extremist after it was used to help organize protests against President Alexander Lukashenko. Pratasevich, who had fled the country for Poland, faces charges that could carry a prison sentence of up to 15 years.

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