Belarus Sentences Activist Sofia Sapega to 6 Years in Jail

    Photo: Reuters [via NBC]

    The Facts

    • Sofia Sapega, a Russian law student and girlfriend of Belarusian dissident Raman Pratasevich, was sentenced on Fri. by a Belarusian closed-door court to six years in prison for inciting social hatred and illegally disseminating private information.

    • Pratesevich was editor of the opposition NEXTA channel on Telegram, a key factor in organizing protests in Belarus against Pres. Lukashenko after the election in Aug. 2020.


    The Spin

    Pro-establishment narrative

    This is a clear sign of a dictatorship at work and the trial was a sham. Sofia Sapega has become collateral damage of Lukashenko's attack on her boyfriend Protasevich and the dictator's attempts to maintain control of the opposition. Political prisoners face ill-treatment in Belarus - Sapega must be released immediately.

    Narrative B

    Sapega was arrested for and charged with legitimate crimes, and will have to face the consequences. Nevertheless, Russia - which has strong political ties with Belarus - has provided her with all necessary assistance from the moment of her arrest, and will continue to protect her interests through diplomatic and other channels. So far she has been held in good condition and has no complaints about her health or detention conditions.


    Establishment split

    CRITICAL

    PRO

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