Court in Belarus gives Russian woman Sofya Sapega six years in prison

The girl was charged under seven articles of the Criminal Code of Belarus, including inciting hatred and organizing threats to the security forces. She will serve her sentence in a penal colony

Sofya Sapega

A Belarusian court has sentenced Russian Sofya Sapega to six years in a penal colony, BelTA informs. The girl was detained in May 2021 in Minsk together with the former editor-in-chief of the opposition Telegram channel Nexta (Belarusian authorities recognized him as extremist) Roman Protasevich after the forced landing of a Ryanair passenger plane.

The verdict has not entered into force and can be appealed , clarified in court.

According to, the girl was taken into custody in the courtroom.

Sapega was charged under seven articles of the Criminal Code of Belarus, including inciting hatred, organizing threats to security officials and judges, obstruction of the work of a journalist, illegal collection of personal data.

The trial against the Russian woman was held behind closed doors, this was explained by the fact that during the process personal data of a large number of citizens, including judges and employees of internal affairs bodies, were announced.

The maximum punishment for the toughest article— about inciting social enmity and discord (part 3 of article 130)— 12 years in prison. As stated in the Prosecutor General's Office of Belarus, during the preliminary investigation, Sapieha fulfilled the obligations stipulated by the pre-trial cooperation agreement, in connection with this, the punishment provided for by law can be reduced by half. In December, Sapieha's relatives reported that she had written a petition for clemency addressed to the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko.

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A Ryanair plane flying from Athens to Vilnius was forced to land in Minsk on May 23, 2021 due to a bomb report. Information about the mining was not confirmed. Protasevich and Sapega were removed from the flight and detained, later they were arrested.


They spent a month in a pre-trial detention center, then both were transferred to house arrest. As stated in the Investigative Committee of the Republic, Protasevich and Sapega entered into a pre-trial agreement with the investigation. Belarusian state channels showed several interviews with Protasevich, in which he stated that he admits his guilt and no longer wants to engage in politics.

In August last year, Sapieha admitted that someone from entourage of the ex-editor-in-chief of Nexta, and the Belarusian special services have nothing to do with this (the New York Times wrote about the role of the KGB officers of Belarus in the forced landing of the flight). Protasevich later claimed that employees of the headquarters of the leader of the Belarusian opposition Svetlana Tikhanovskaya were involved in sending a false message about the bombing of the Ryanair aircraft.

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