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Lukashenko refuses to pardon convicted Russian Sofia Sapega

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Russian citizen Sofia Sapega, who is currently serving a lengthy prison sentence in Belarus, has been denied a pardon, according to a report by state-owned outlet RIA Novosti citing Sapega’s stepfather Sergei Dudich.

On May 6 last year, a court in Belarus sentenced Sapega to six years in prison. She was charged on seven criminal charges. In particular, she was found guilty of the “illegal collection and dissemination of information about a private life, constituting personal and family secrets of another person without his consent, causing harm to the rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of the victim.” At the end of June, Sapega asked Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko for a pardon.

In fall 2022, Anton Gashinsky, Sapega’s lawyer, told RIA Novosti that her clemency petition had been received by a special commission and was up for review before the end of the year. “The commission considered the petition and refused,” said the lawyer. He explained that the Russian received a reply from the commission on January 2 and told her family about the decision in a letter at a later date.

“We will request that she be transferred to Russia to serve her sentence,” Gashinsky stressed.

Sofia Sapega is a Russian citizen from Vladivostok – prior to her conviction, she lived in Vilnius and studied law at European Humanities University. Sapega held residence permits in both Lithuania and Belarus.

Sapega is the former girlfriend of Raman Pratasevich, one of the creators of the Telegram channel Nexta. The pair were detained on May 23, 2021. That day, a Ryanair plane flying from Athens to Vilnius, was forced to land at Minsk National Airport in Minsk after receiving an alleged bomb threat. After landing, Protasevich and Sapega were both detained and arrested.

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