The 26-year-old told Belarusian state television broadcaster ONT on Thursday that he had “pleaded guilty” for organizing large-scale “unsanctioned protests” following the controversial elections last August.
“I openly admit that I was one of the people who published calls to take to the streets on August 9th. As soon as the documents were presented to me and charged, I immediately pleaded guilty, according to Article 342 of the (Belarusian) Criminal Code is the organization of large-scale, unauthorized protests, “Protasevich said in an interview on the program” Nothing Personal “.
“It is painful to see ‘confessions’ from Raman Pratasevich. His parents believe that he was tortured. This is not Raman I know. This man on Goebbels’ television is the regime’s hostage and we have to make everything possible. him and the other 460 political prisoners, “wrote Viačorka in the Belarusian spelling of his name.
Protasevich was also featured in an ONT “investigative document” earlier this week into the Ryanair flight incident. The documentary repeats the claim made by Belarusian authorities that they did not know Protasevich was on board the plane when they diverted it.
NEXTA, the telegram channel that Protasevich co-founded in 2015, found popularity in providing information about government violent repression against election-related protests. After most of the activists were arrested or exiled, the channel became a reliable source of verified information for the protesters to coordinate their moves.
The conciliatory tone in Protasevich’s interview on Thursday may sound all the stranger to fellow campaigners.
At one point Protasevich tells the interviewer that he respects the president’s refusal to bow to public criticism. “I realized that Alexander Grigoryevich (Lukashenko) had received a lot of criticism for putting pressure on him. And in many ways, despite the pressure, he acted like a man with steel balls,” he said.
Protasevich also collapses in front of the camera and says he never wants to get involved in politics again.
“I’ve reconsidered a lot. I never want to get involved in politics, in any dirty games and showdowns. I want to hope that I can correct everything and lead a normal peaceful life, have a family, have children, stop it, running away from something, “he said.