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Belarusian officials accused of air piracy over forced landing of jet that led to dissident journalist's arrest: US prosecutor

Added 01-20-22 05:14:01pm EST - “The Ryanair flight traveling to Vilnius, Lithuania, from Athens, Greece, was told to land in Minsk, Belarus, in May 2021.” - Businessinsider.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Businessinsider.com: “Belarusian officials accused of air piracy over forced landing of jet that led to dissident journalist's arrest: US prosecutor”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

The US charged four Belarusian government officials with air piracy over the forced landing of a Ryanair jet last May, the Justice Department announced on Thursday. 

Four senior Belarusian officials were charged with "conspiracy to commit aircraft piracy for engineering the diversion of Ryanair Flight 4978," which had four US nationals and over 100 other individuals on board. 

The Ryanair flight traveling to Vilnius, Lithuania, from Athens, Greece, when it was told to land in Minsk, Belarus, because of a bomb threat in May 2021.

When the flight landed, Belarusian authorities boarded the plane and arrested dissident journalist Roman Protasevich — a vocal critic of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko — who was on board.

"We are committed to holding accountable these central participants in a shocking conspiracy to commit aircraft piracy that not only violated international norms and US criminal law, but also potentially endangered the lives of four US citizens and scores of other innocent passengers on board," US Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement. 

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