News | European Parliament
Join the call for the release of Roman Protasevich and Sofia Sapega, who are being held by Belarus authorities. Find out how you can help.
Belarus journalist Protasevich and his girlfriend Sapega were on a flight from Athens to Vilnius on 23 May when the Belarusian government forced the plane to redirect to Minsk where they were detained.
The move was immediately met with widespread condemnation from all around the world and led to calls for sanctions against the country.
Parliament President David Sassoli said: “The events in Belarus, with the hijacking of a civil plane to arrest opponents of the regime, require a leap forward in our response in both strength and speed.”
Parliament and other EU institutions are calling for the immediate release of Protasevich and urge everyone to speak up about this blatant breach of fundamental rights.
What you could do to help get Roman Protasevich released
The abuse of human rights can only thrive in silence. Help create a noise by speaking up for Protasevic and Sapega who are currently being silenced and detained.
What you could do online:
- Use the hashtag #FreeRomanProtasevich and #FreeSofiaSopega on Twitter and other platforms
- Help us to spread the message by sharing this article and our posts on social media, such as our tweet
You could come up with your own ways to protest. For example, President Sassoli suggested using airports to highlight the cause: “I think it would be a very positive gesture if a photo of Roman Protasevich were to be displayed in the main airports of European Union member states, as a mark of solidarity and to show that we will not fail him.”
What the EU is doing in response to the actions by Belarus
EU leaders met a day after the forced redirection of the Ryanair flight to decide on a common response. President Sassoli opened the summit with a call for action: “Our response must be strong, immediate and unified. The European Union must act without hesitation and punish those responsible. Tonight you have a great responsibility to show that the Union is not a paper tiger.”
EU leaders agreed to ban Belarusian planes from flying in EU airspaces or using EU airports. They also called for the release of Protasevich and Sapega as well as an investigation by the International Civil Aviation Organization. They also agreed targeted economic sanctions and to add to the list of people subject to sanctions.
What the European Parliament has called for regarding Belarus
Parliament’s foreign affairs committee discussed the events in Belarus on 26 May with opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. She told MEPs: “I call on the European Parliament to ensure that the reaction of the international community is not limited to the Ryanair flight incident. The response must address the situation in Belarus in its entirety.”
Parliament has regularly called for fair elections in Belarus as well as for respect for human rights and the rule of law.