The Russian authorities have transferred the Belarusian citizen Yana Pinchuk to Belarus. At home, she faces up to 19 years in prison on charges of calling for the seizure of power and the creation of an extremist group. Information about the extradition of the activist was confirmed to the paper by her lawyer Maria Belyaeva.
Pinchuk was detained in November 2021 in St. Petersburg. In April, the Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation approved her extradition to Belarus. According to investigators, Pinchuk was the administrator of the Vitebsk 97% protest Telegram channel, which the Belarusian authorities recognized as extremist. The Investigative Committee of Belarus claims that the defendant "collected personal information of people, published messages that contained calls for the seizure of state power, a violent change in the constitutional order", and also posted "knowingly false" messages in relation to the security forces, thereby "inciting social enmity" . These messages were published in the fall of 2020 during the mass protests in Belarus that began after the presidential elections.
On the Internet, Pinchuk allegedly used the nickname Princess Leia. However, the suspect herself says that there were several people with that nickname. For example, in March 2021, the Belarusian police posted a video confessing a 36-year-old protester with the same nickname. And by November 2021, the Vitebsk 97% chat still consisted of two users with the nickname Princess Leia, the BBC Russian Service reported . By December, only one of them remained.
According to Pinchuk, she posted on Telegram only reposts with information about the time and place of the rallies, as well as about helping the detainees. Her fiancé from St. Petersburg said that Yana did not go to Belarus in 2020 to participate in the protests, Paper wrote .