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Facing six years in prison in Belarus, Russian national Sofia Sapega appeals to Lukashenko for clemency

Awaiting trial in Belarus and facing a minimum of six years in prison, Russian national Sofia Sapega has already asked Alexander Lukashenko to grant her a pardon, her stepfather Sergey Dudich told the radio station Ekho Moskvy on Tuesday, December 21. 

“Any decision can only be made after the trial. But we still hope for the president’s pardon, I know that Sofia has written an appeal for clemency addressed to the president of the Republic of Belarus. We’ll be waiting [to see] what will happen,” he said.

Dudich also recalled that Sapega’s relatives appealed to Putin’s administration after she was detained in Minsk in May. “We received a reply from the Foreign Ministry that your case and Sofia’s fate are being monitored, and that Russian diplomats are monitoring the situation and the course of the investigation. We’re doing what we can, we knocked everywhere,” he said.

Asked about Sapega’s case on Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists that “everything possible is being done to protect the interests of our citizens.” He also added that Russian and Belarusian authorities “are in constant dialogue” on the matter.

The Belarusian authorities arrested Sofia Sapega alongside her boyfriend, Belarusian opposition journalist Roman Protasevich, in May 2021, after their Ryanair flight was forced to land in Minsk. 

The Belarusian Investigative Committee brought final charges against Sapega in December, indicting her for allegedly inciting hatred. As reported by BBC News Russian, Sapega made a plea bargain with investigators but still faces a minimum of six years in prison. Sapega’s stepfather said that she “was counting on the deal with the investigation, assistance from Russia, extradition, and that the case wouldn’t go to court at all.”

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