The Russian girlfriend of a Belarusian dissident arrested with him when his aircraft was diverted to Minsk is being held on suspicion of crimes on the time of final 12 months’s protests, Moscow stated on Tuesday.

Sofia Sapega, a 23-year-old regulation pupil on the European Humanities University (EHU) in Lithuania, was detained together with 26-year-old opposition journalist Roman Protasevich when her flight from Athens to Vilnius was diverted to Minsk on Sunday. .

The diversion, triggered by an alleged bomb scare, sparked a worldwide outcry and Western leaders have been calling for each to be released.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated in a assertion Tuesday that Sapega was detained on suspicion of “committing crimes” between August and September 2020.

That interval corresponds to the outbreak of large anti-government protests that rocked former Soviet Belarus after a disputed presidential election in August final 12 months.

The fees in opposition to Sapega weren’t specified, however Zakharova stated they’re coated by varied articles of the Belarusian penal code.

After three days, will probably be determined whether or not to launch her or put her in preventive detention, the assertion added.

Zakharova stated a Russian consul met with Sapega’s mother and father, who reside in western Belarus, on Monday.

Russia hopes to acquire permission for a consular assembly with Sapega quickly, he stated.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated early Tuesday that he “hopes that in the near future” Sapega shall be released.

Protasevich fled to Europe in 2019 from the place he co-directed the Nexta Telegram channels, a key Belarusian opposition media outlet that helped mobilize protesters.

In Belarus, he faces fees of organizing mass riots, a crime punishable by as much as 15 years in jail.

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