Alyaksandar Lukashenka, the winner of the 2020 Belarusian presidential election according to the results of the country’s Central Election Commission, said that he would consider the extradition of Russian national Sofia Sapega, sentenced to six years in prison in Belarus for “inciting hatred,” Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reports.
“I feel bad for the girl. We need to deal with this issue… She’s Russian. We have a practice: we can hand over a Russian national to Russia. Let her serve her sentence there. Or they can do what they want. I think she learned a big lesson,” the politician said.
On 6 May, a court in Belarus’ Grodno sentenced Sapega to six years behind bars. The Belarusian law enforcement arrested Sofia Sapega alongside her boyfriend, Belarusian opposition journalist Roman Protasevich, in May 2021, after their Ryanair flight was forced to land in Minsk.
After Sapega’s arrest, a pro-government Telegram channel Zheltye Slivy published a video of her “interrogation,” in which Sofia admitted that she was running a Telegram channel called The Black Book of Belarus. This channel published information about Belarusian law enforcement officers accused of torturing protesters.
Roman Protasevich is no longer under home arrest. He is working for a Belarusian pro-government human rights group Sistemnaya Pravozashchita (“Systemic Defence of Human Rights”). Protasevich recently stated that he had married another woman.