Russia’s human rights council to seek detained woman’s extradition from Belarus

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MOSCOW, June 8. /TASS/. The Russian Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights will seek the extradition of Russian national Sofia Sapega, who was detained in Belarus to Russia, head of the council Valery Fadeyev told TASS on Tuesday.

“She is a Russian citizen, we will monitor this and will strive to ensure that there is the unconditional observance of the law [in the investigation], or even better, that she is extradited to Russia,” he said. “I always say that Russian citizens should be brought back irrespective of the crime committed,” he added.

Sofia Sapega was detained at Minsk airport on May 23 together with Roman Protasevich, one of the founders of the Telegram-channel Nexta, declared as extremist in Belarus, following an emergency landing of a Ryanair passenger plane.

Several days later, Sapega said in a video uploaded to the Internet she was an editor of the Telegram-channel Black Book of Belarus, a site that doxes Belarusian police. A court in Gomel in April ruled that this Telegram-channel was extremist. Earlier, a court turned down a complaint against Sapega’s detention. The Russian Embassy in Minsk has been allowed to make multiple visits to the detained Russian woman. Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei told the daily Kommersant that the president might make a decision to pardon Sapega or to extradite her to Russia. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on June 1 said that Sapega would be investigated in Belarus.