UN: Minsk hides information on forced diversion of Ryanair aircraft

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The United Nations report on the forced diversion of a Ryanair passenger plane last year found that the bomb threat made by the plane in Minsk was “deliberately false” and that Belarus had withheld critical information from the team investigating the incident. sparked international outcry over what Western capitals denounced as an act of state hijacking.

The United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) set up a task force in May 2021, days after Belarus diverted a Vilnius-bound plane carrying Roman Protaksevich, a former director, and passenger. of the website of the Belarusian opposition Nexta and wanted by the regime of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. Protasevic was returning from Athens on a flight to the Lithuanian capital when a Belarusian MiG-29 chaser intercepted flight FR4978 in Belarusian airspace, with Belarusian authorities citing a bomb threat. Eventually the plane resumed its flight, after a long delay, without Protasevic and his Russian girlfriend being arrested.

Sofia Sapega’s girlfriend was later charged with inciting social hatred and faces up to 12 years in prison, while Protasevic remains under house arrest.

The UN report, sent to 193 ICAO member states on Monday, said Belarussian authorities had not had proper contact with Ryanair, an Irish-based company, about the alleged bomb threat despite the regulations. urging them to do so and did not help the crew speak to their base.

The pilots agreed to divert the aircraft to Minsk after a Belarusian air traffic controller issued a “red alert”, indicating a credible threat to the aircraft requiring an immediate landing.

It is unlikely that Ryanair had agreed to issue a “red alert” under the circumstances, the report said, which concluded that the bomb threat was “deliberately false”. No person or state has been identified as a source of blatant prank that is illegal, the report said.

European Union leaders and human rights groups have accused Belarus of making a bomb threat to force the plane to land on its territory and arrest Protasevic.

Minsk claims to have acted lawfully and in accordance with all international rules and has accused the West of trying to use the incident to try to undermine President Lukashenko.

Minsk tried to implicate the Palestinian organization Hamas in the threat of planting a bomb on the Ryanair aircraft with Hamas rejecting the accusation.

A spokesman for the President of Belarus did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the ICAO report.

“No files saved”

Citing a pilot witness, the authors of the report said that the investigation into the alleged bomb inside the cockpit when the plane landed in Minsk was sketchy and was completed in just 18 minutes.

Emergency services were called to stay away before the investigation was completed and the luggage compartment was opened for inspections, ICAO researchers added. Despite the alleged threat, the disembarked passengers took 30 minutes and the pilot was allowed to remain on board.

ICAO also presented gaps in cooperation with members of its research team.

The members of the group “were not given sufficient reason to explain why no records were kept” as local criminal and other investigations were ongoing.

Belarus also refused to provide access to Ryanair’s flight controller or official call records, nor did it provide audiovisual material from well-placed airport cameras.

The investigation did not provide a copy of an email reporting the bomb threat or email server logs, the report added. He cited data from an email provider registered in Switzerland, which show that the email was sent only after the aircraft had started landing in Minsk.

Belarusian authorities told investigators they received the email 30 minutes earlier, but only provided a screenshot as evidence.

Ryanair did not comment directly on the report.

The latest is the first international finding since Belarus air carriers were banned from flying over EU and UK airspace. The EU and Britain have also urged their airlines to avoid Belarusian airspace unless there is an emergency.

The EU has imposed travel bans and seizures on 86 Belarusian individuals and companies, including the transport and defense ministers, in response to a forced landing.

Source: ΑΠΕ-ΜΠΕ

Source From: Capital

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