Last Sunday, a strange incident like this occurred when Belarusian authorities, with the help of air traffic controllers at the airport in the capital city of Minsk, lured a passenger plane from Irish Airlines in order to kidnap Belarusian opposition journalist “Roman Protasevich”. This incident is mentioned by journalist Anne Apple Baum in a report published by the American magazine “Atlantic”, as well as Western reactions to the incident and its repercussions on the regime of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.< figure class = " wp - block - image ">< img src = " https : // www . aljazeera . net / wp - content / uploads / 2021/05 / نص - الترجمة -. jpg ? w = 770 & amp ; resize = 770% 2 C 217 " alt =" " class =" wp - image -4582200 "/> figure >
Now Belarusian dictator “Alexander Lukashenko”, with this intuitive assumption, has hit the wall in a precedent which is the first of its kind. On May 23, in cooperation with Belarusian air navigation authorities, the flight of the airline “Ryanair” (Irish Airlines) was hijacked while passing through Belarusian airspace from the Greek capital Athens to the Lithuanian capital Vilnius. The Belarusian air traffic control tower was misled and the flight crew told them that there was a bomb on board. According to Belarusian state media, the plane was then “escorted” by a MiG fighter jet to the capital, Minsk.
In fact, there was no bomb and the warning was false, so Minsk airport was not the closest airport to the plane. As for after the plane landed, no one rushed to transport the passengers to the safety of the bomb as they were supposed to. occur in these situations, and the main focus of what happened after the evacuation has become clear.There are only two passengers on board, the first being Roman Protasevic, a blogger and journalist for the Belarusian opposition, and the other is his partner, Sophia Sapiga. Protasevic worked as an editor for “NEXTA”, a blogging channel for the Telegram app that was one of the most important sources of live information during the mass anti-regime protests that took place in Minsk. last summer. Protasevich left the country in 2019 and has lived in exile ever since, and Belarus put him on terrorist lists in a trial in absentia. As officials escorted him off the plane, Protasevic spoke to one of the passengers, saying, “I risk the death penalty.” A prison sentence in Belarus would certainly include Soviet-style interrogations, solitary confinement and torture.
Some details are unclear: Ryanair maintained a strange silence in the hours following the hijacking, issuing a direct statement that appeared to be a statement regarding a normal maintenance issue. The day after the incident, the CEO of Ryanair spoke, describing what had happened as a “state planned kidnapping”. And what happened leaves no doubt. The Belarusian regime violated air navigation control procedures designed primarily to inform pilots of real emergencies, so they could hijack a Belarusian opponent. In other words, this incident joins others, such as the heinous murder committed by Saudi Arabia against Jamal Khashoggi inside his country’s consulate in Istanbul, and Russia’s use of radioactive poisons and nerve gases against enemies of the Kremlin in London (in the case of the first L ‘ Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko), and in Salisbury, England (in the case of former Russian spy Sergey Skripal), the assassinations by Iran of his opponents in the Netherlands and Turkey, the kidnapping and detention of Chinese citizens living abroad and foreigners of Chinese origin, and many others. Freedom House has called these new practices “transnational repression” and, in its report, collected more than 600 examples.< figure class = " wp - block - image " id = " attachment _4582287">< img src = " https : // www . aljazeera . net / wp - content / uploads / 2021/05 / رئيس - بلاروسيا 11. jpg ? w = 770 & amp ; resize = 770% 2 C 513 " alt =" " class =" wp - image -4582287 "/> figure >
These questions are part of a new model emerging these days, where authoritarian states, in their pursuit of their enemies, no longer feel the need to respect passports, borders, diplomatic standards or air navigation control rules, as despots in this new world is more ready than ever to arrest or kill political opponents anywhere, regardless of nationality, or foreign laws or bureaucratic procedures which are theoretically supposed to protect them. Sometimes these regimes put pressure on other countries to help them, and sometimes they kidnap people without assistance, and in terms of the costs these regimes will incur as a result of their actions, such as sanctions or bad relations with various countries of the country. world, they don’t. don’t hurt them anymore.
This incident also attracts attention, as Lukashenko, unlike the rulers of Saudi Arabia, Russia and China, does not have a strong influence abroad, as Belarus has little influence. commercial influence, without major investments in New York or London, and without the wealthy elite. and influential businessmen who own British football clubs. Foot to help promote his authoritarian regime around the world. Given Lukashenko’s ability today to detain a European-owned aircraft registered there, which primarily carries European Union citizens from one European country to another, and possibly even endangers the ‘plane and its passengers, this indicates its willingness to completely break with Europe, and its complete confidence in Russia’s economic and political support if this has happened. Indeed, the director of “Russia Today”, the international television channel sponsored by the Russian government, tweeted that the kidnapping made her “envious” of Belarus, calling Lukashenko’s behavior a “fine performance.” senior Russian official called the kidnapping “possible and necessary”. None of this is surprising, as autocrats support each other while violating international law is just another part of this new model.
In the hours following the incident, a large number of Western leaders interacted on social media, including those who denounced the incident, such as the Secretary General of the Atlantic Treaty Organization North (NATO), the President of the European Commission and the US Secretary of State. The Lithuanian Prime Minister also received the plane after it landed in the capital, Vilnius, after many hours behind schedule. For its part, Latvia has already expelled the Belarusian ambassador from the country, and Britain has also banned Belarusian national airlines, and in the coming days, coordination will take place to respond to the incident, which should include new economic sanctions. to Belarus, or suspend flights to Belarus.
Moreover, another strange incident last Monday confirmed to the masses of Europeans that Belarus is not only a dangerous and lawless place, but a dangerous and lawless place at the gates of the European Union. Belarus postponed a German airline “Lufthansa” flight from Minsk (the capital of Belarus) to Frankfurt (Germany), also amid suspected bomb threats on the flight, and some observers feared to the time that passengers would be held hostage. Just as the Russian invasion of Ukraine has had repercussions throughout the European continent, the human rights catastrophe in Belarus will certainly affect other Europeans.
Europeans are not the only ones waiting these days, but autocrats and their supporters are also closely monitoring the situation in various authoritarian capitals around the world, awaiting the reaction of the West and of whether Lukashenko will survive his action, or that this news a repressive tool will also be made available to them. Of course, others will strive to use this method, only because it sends a message to opponents and exiles: you are not safe and you never will be, even if you live in a democracy. even if you are a political refugee. , and even if you are on a plane, passengers thousands of miles above the ground.