The Forced Landing of a Civil Aircraft and Detainment of an Opposition Journalist in the Republic of Belarus
(Statement by Press Secretary YOSHIDA Tomoyuki)
May 24, 2021
- On May 23, during its flight through the Belarusian airspace, a Ryanair aircraft bound for Vilnius from Athens was forced to make an emergency landing in Minsk by the Belarusian authorities which notified the crew of the flight a potential safety threat. As a result of the safety inspections, nothing untoward was found in the aircraft, but a journalist Mr. Roman Protasevich, who was on board and had been wanted by the Belarusian authorities on charges including inciting riots, was detained.
- Such forced landing of a civil aircraft by the Belarusian authorities may have contravened the Convention on International Civil Aviation. Furthermore, it is unjustifiable that the Belarusian authorities arbitrarily detained a specific passenger flying on a civil aircraft which was forced to make an emergency landing. As such, the Government of Japan strongly condemns such actions.
- It is extremely regrettable that, despite the appeals from the international community, including Japan, the Government of Belarus has not stopped the arbitrary detention of its citizens, and is continuing to act against the principles of the rule of law and democracy. Japan once again strongly urges the Belarusian authorities to immediately cease such arbitrary detention and forceful oppression of its citizens, and to engage in national dialogue that respects the rule of law and democracy.