Belarus’ outrageous ‘hijacking’ needs serious, swift consequences (opinion)

 Belarus’ outrageous ‘hijacking’ needs serious, swift consequences (opinion)

Now imagine the military plane belongs to a country ruled by a dictator, and you’re a journalist and pro-democracy activist in exile who has been critically documenting the dictator’s tyranny.

It sounds like a movie thriller, but it’s the harrowing ordeal described by passengers of the Ryanair Athens-to-Vilnius flight on Sunday. And it did not end well for journalist Roman Protasevich. The plane was forced to land on orders of President Alexander Lukashenko, the long-time dictator of Belarus, whose security forces immediately arrested Protasevich.

This cannot stand.

Recent years have seen so many autocrats brazenly violating once-accepted norms — assassinating government critics on foreign soil, murdering journalists, seizing other country’s territory — that some may lose sight of how unacceptable, how intolerable this behavior is.

After Russia’s theft of Crimea, Saudi Arabia’s murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and most…

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