May 24, 2021

Risch on Lukashenka’s Forced Diversion of Flight to Arrest Journalist

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today released the following statement in response to the Lukashenka regime’s forced diversion of a commercial flight yesterday in order to arrest a Belarusian journalist and dissident:

“I strongly condemn the Lukashenka regime’s forced diversion of a commercial flight in order to arrest Belarusian journalist Raman Pratasevich. This hijacking is intolerable and must be immediately reviewed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). ICAO should suspend Belarus until this incident is properly investigated and resolved. There must be accountability for these clear violations of international standards.

“Lukashenka has increased his brazen attacks on those who oppose him, and on the freedoms of speech and the press. Mr. Pratasevich should be immediately released, along with the hundreds of other political prisoners in Belarus. The international community must stand together to continue to pressure Lukashenka to leave the seat of government that he has stolen from the Belarusian people. I expect to see the Biden Administration work with the European Union to address yesterday’s abuses immediately.”