Belarus arrested a journalist on Sunday after a private plane the journalist was on was forced into an emergency landing in the Belarusian capital of Minsk.

The Ryanair plane had taken off from Athens earlier on Sunday and was on its way to the Lithuanian capital Vilnius.

The pilot was called up by the Belarusian Air Force to make an emergency landing in Minsk, because a bomb threat had been received by the government.

No bomb was found during a search of the plane, but journalist Roman Protasevic on board was arrested.

The 26-year-old Protasevic works for the online news medium Nexta, which is often critical of the way Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko works.

The Belarusian government has labeled Nexta as 'extremist'.

It is prohibited by law to distribute articles and information from the platform in the country.

Protasevic was on a list of individuals linked to "terrorist activities", according to the government.

Opposition parties in Belarus argue that the bomb threat was false and only served as a cover for the Belarusian regime to arrest a critical journalist.

Lithuania has asked NATO and the European Union to intervene.

The freedom of the press in Belarus is under severe pressure under the rule of Lukashenko, who has been called the 'last dictator in Europe'.

Lukashenko has been in power since 1994 and was re-elected for a sixth time last August.

This sparked major protests in the former Soviet state.


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