Joe Biden called the detention of Roman Protasevich “a shameful attack on political dissent and press freedom”
US President Joe Biden called the forced landing of the Ryanair plane in Minsk and the detention of journalist Roman Protasevich, who was flying on it, “direct challenges to international norms.” Biden’s statement posted on the White House website.
The United States condemns in the strongest terms both the diversion of the plane [to Minsk] and the subsequent arrest of Mr. Protasevich. The outrageous incident and the video, which Mr Protasevich appears to have filmed under duress, are a shameful attack on political dissent and press freedom.
The United States called for the release of Protasevich and other Belarusian political prisoners, and also supported the call for an international investigation of the incident in Minsk and the sanctions that the European Union decided to impose after it. The White House will also develop “appropriate options for bringing those responsible to justice,” Biden added.
I applaud the courage and determination of Belarusians fighting for fundamental rights, including journalists like Roman Protasevich and opposition leaders like Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and her husband Sergei Tikhanovsky.