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Diverted Ryanair flight investigation concludes Belarus is ‘unlawful’

#Diverted #Ryanair #flight #investigation #concludes #Belarus #unlawful

The United Nations agency responsible for investigating last year’s rerouting of a Ryanair flight through Belarus announced on Tuesday that it had completed its investigation, again pointing the finger at Minsk’s “unlawful” actions.

On May 23, 2021, a Ryanair flight from Greece to Lithuania had to land in Minsk, with the Belarusian authorities arresting the dissident journalist Roman Protasevich and his partner Sofia Sapega on board.

“The ICAO Council yesterday concluded its discussions on the May 2021 incident in Belarusian airspace involving Ryanair flight FR4978 and condemned the actions of the Belarusian government in committing unlawful interference,” the International Civil Aviation Organization said in a statement.

The investigation was expanded in early January to identify certain “missing facts” and to consider new information.

Montreal-based ICAO investigated audio recordings of the Minsk air traffic controller monitoring the affected flight.

The agency said the bomb threat used as an excuse to divert the plane was “deliberately false and endangered its safety.”

“The threat was communicated to the flight crew on the instructions of senior Belarusian government officials,” she concluded.

The statement added that the Council representative of Russia – a close Minsk ally – “expressed his state’s strong objection to identifying Belarus as the source of the unlawful interference”.

The Council, made up of 36 countries, has asked its President to forward the results of the investigation to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

ICAO’s job is to set the rules for civil aviation around the world, but it has no power to impose sanctions.

In the event of a proven violation of international rules, their role is to assist any country that wishes to issue convictions or sanctions under the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation, the institution said.

Last month, Sapega asked Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko for a pardon after being sentenced to six years in prison for “inciting social hatred” and “illegally collecting personal data”.

Protasevich is currently under house arrest awaiting trial.

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#Diverted #Ryanair #flight #investigation #concludes #Belarus #unlawful

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