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Polish court refused to extradite Nexta founder Stepan Putilo to Belarus

26.01.2022, 18:16

On January 26, the Warsaw District Court refused to extradite Stepan Putilo, founder of the Nexta telegram channel, to Belarus, as Belsat and the Belarusian service of Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported.

The Belarusian authorities accused Stepan Putilo of organizing mass riots and group actions that violated public order (parts 1 and 3 of Article 293, parts 1 and 2 of Article 342 of the Criminal Code of Belarus), as well as inciting hatred (Part 3 of Article 130 of the Criminal Code) and a number of other articles.

The judge read all the articles that Putin was accused of by the Belarusian side and asked him if he agreed to be extradited to Belarus. Putilo disagreed. The prosecutor's office declared the extradition inadmissible.

As a result, the judge ruled that it was inadmissible to extradite Putilo to the Belarusian regime "just because a psychopathic dictator wants it." This meets the standards of democratic countries and the Declaration of Human Rights, the Constitution of Poland, the judge said. An appeal can be filed within seven days.

Stepan Putylo said that news that his extradition would be considered in court was unexpected, as he received international protection and asylum in Poland. "However, later I found out that according to the law, this trial should have taken place anyway, because such norms, which, unlike the Belarusian legislation, apply and they apply to everyone. The court's decision was obvious. Even the prosecutor's office supported the fact that I could not be extradited to Belarus. And in the practice of my lawyer, this is the first time in 40 years that he fully agreed with the position of the prosecutor, ” Stepan Putylo said.

Earlier, the Belarusian authorities also sought extradition from Poland for Roman Protasevich, who was the editor-in-chief of the Nexta channel, who afterwards was detained in Minsk in 2021.

As IMI reported, Roman Protasevych was detained on May 23. He was a passenger on the Athens-Vilnius flight, which made a forced land in Minsk due to a report of a bomb threat on board. After the inspection, Belarusian police arrested him. Ryanair has received instructions from Belarusian air traffic controllers to land the plane in Minsk. By order of the president Lukashenko, a MiG-29 military fighter was lifted into the sky to escort the plane.

Together with Protasevich, security forces detained his girlfriend Sofia Sapega.

As IMI reported, the State Security Committee of Belarus entered the founders of the NEXTA Telegram Channel to the list of persons involved in terrorist activities, along with Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s leaders and other international terrorists.

An updated version of the List of organizations and individuals involved in terrorist activities has been published on the website of the State Security Committee of the Republic of Belarus

As IMI reported, on November 16, Belarus sent a note to the Polish side demanding immediate extradition of Stepan Putyl and Roman Protasevich. 

On November 5, the Investigative Committee of Belarus accused Stepan Putylo and Roman Protasevich of organizing mass riots in Belarus. 

On October 20, the Tsentralny District Court of Minsk found the Nexta Live telegram channel and the Nexta logo to be extremist. 

The telegram channel Nexta Live, which covers the protests in Belarus  has been renamed as "HEXTA-Live", after a Minsk court recognized his logo as "extremist stuff."

As IMI reported, on August 14, 2020, it became known that the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Belarus had opened proceedings against the founder of the opposition telegram channels Nekhta and Nekhta Live, Stepan Putylo and declared him wanted. He faces up to 15 years in prison. Putyla is accused of organizing mass riots.

In August, Russia's Interior Ministry put Stepan Putilo, the founder of the Nexta Telegram channel on a wanted list.

The telegram channel Nexta Live, despite the shutdown of the Internet, became the main source of information about the protests in Belarus.

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