In an article for the publication, Reports Legal, Brackenbury’s client explain how Belarus’ recent actions demonstrate how not to seek an arrest, as well as how to invite international sanctions.
Ryanair Flight FR4978 was en route between two EU capitals (Athens and Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania) when it was intercepted by a fighter jet from Belarus. Early reports indicate it was Belarusian air traffic control that informed the pilots of a potential security threat on board. They were then given instructions to divert to Minsk. On board, 171 passengers and crew members experienced an unscheduled layover of just under six hours. Roman Protasevich (a 26-year-old journalist from Belarus), and his girlfriend Sofia Sapega (a Russian national), were forcibly removed from the plane by Belarusian officials. Roman Protasevich is known for his criticism of President Alexander Lukashenko and is said to have played a key role for the opposition in the August 2020 presidential election. This election was “not transparent, free or fair”, according to an OSCEa report of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, dated November 2020.
Brackenbury’s client explain the legal issues behind the aircraft diversion in international airspace and arrest and the legal remedies available including UK and EU sanctions and outline the limits of extradition in such a case.