The prosecutor's office of Belarus requested 10 years in a strict regime colony for the ex-editor-in-chief of the Nexta Telegram channel Roman Protasevich, for the second founder of the channel Stepan Putilo, the state prosecution requested 20 years in absentia, for administrator Yan Rudik - 19 years. This was reported by Sputnik Belarus, as well as the human rights center Viasna .
Putilo and Rudik are absent from the courtroom, they are tried in absentia. Protasevich previously fully admitted his guilt, he is offered to be taken into custody in the courtroom.
In April, Protasevich was charged with a new, tougher charge of re-leading an extremist formation. The same accusation was brought against Jan Rudik, who is abroad. This article of accusation (part 2 of article 361-1 of the Criminal Code) provides for up to ten years in prison. According to the investigation, Protasevich was the editor-in-chief of Nexta in May-September 2020 and, together with other defendants, led this “extremist formation”. Then he moved from Warsaw to Vilnius and until May 2021 led another “extremist formation” – the Telegram channel and social networks “Belarus of the Brain”, promoting the opposition agenda there.
Protasevich was under investigation along with his Russian girlfriend Sofya Sapega after they were removed from the flight. To arrest the couple, the Belarusian authorities on May 23, 2021, on the orders of Alexander Lukashenko, landed a Ryanair plane flying along the Athens-Vilnius route with the help of a bombing message. A fighter jet was raised into the sky to escort the passenger aircraft. Protasevich was accused of inciting social hatred, organizing riots and organizing actions that grossly violate public order. Sapieha was charged with inciting social hatred, as well as participating in mass riots. The couple began to cooperate with the investigation and was released under house arrest. After that, Roman Protasevich repeatedly appeared in the state media of Belarus. On the air of the ONT TV channel, he said that he respects Alexander Lukashenko and considers him "a man with balls of steel."
Sapega was sentenced to six years in prison on charges of illegally collecting and distributing "information about private life constituting the personal and family secrets of another person, without his consent, which caused harm to the rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of the victim." According to the prosecution, Sapieha was involved in the administration of the Black Book of Belarus, a Telegram channel that published the personal data of security officials involved in bullying protesters. In April 2023, she was allowed to be transferred to Russia.