Sofia Sapega is a citizen of Russia and is studying International and European Union Law at the European Humanities University. This year she is defending her master’s thesis. Belsat talked to Sofia’s colleagues.
Sofia’s classmate, on condition of anonymity, says that although she is not a close friend, she knows Sofia well.
“I have known her from the very first year, we had very good communication within the university. We always did some tasks together. I knew that she was flying to Greece, because we discussed the diploma, then she wrote to me from Greece for the last time about a week ago also about the diploma. It was evident from the correspondence that everything was fine with her.”
But our interlocutor did not know that Sofia has a boyfriend.
According to her, Sofia’s Telegram account has already been deleted. “Yesterday I tried to find her, write something to her, but the account was no longer there,” says the classmate. Perhaps Sofia deleted it when it became known about the landing in Minsk.
Our interlocutor says that Sofia was not politically engaged. “In my opinion, she was kind of an apolitical person, at least as far as I know. I have never seen any posts or reposts related to something of this kind. I know that she is a citizen of Russia, I didn’t even think that she might be interested in something [political].”
Another friend of Sofia also agreed to speak only anonymously, since “in modern Belarus you can already be persecuted for acts of friendship”.
He says that “Sofia was aware of all the latest news in Belarus and the world. But she was more interested not in politics, but in law. I know that she was deeply saddened and worried by the topic of human rights violations, as she specializes in it.”
According to our interlocutor, Sofia was born in Russia, but has lived almost all her life in Belarus. After leaving school she decided to enter the EHU in Vilnius. She had just finished her master’s work and wanted to take a break. Together with Raman Pratasevich they chose Greece.
“As far as I know, the relations between young people are warm and trusting. I don’t know how they met, they don’t like to discuss personal life,” he says.
As for Sofia, the interlocutor adds that she is “a very calm, melancholic person, an introvert in general. She loves to paint, leads a sporty lifestyle, I think she was interested in the philosophy of Martin Heidegger.”
Sofia’s friends are shocked by recent news. “We do not understand the reasons and motives for her detention. I believe that she was detained to put additional pressure on Raman. We have no other assumptions,” says Sofia’s friend.
The EHU demanded the immediate release of its student.
“Teachers and classmates confirm that Sofia is distinguished by high academic performance and impeccable reputation in the EHU community. The university insists on the need to provide urgent consular assistance to Sofia. In addition, the EHU appeals to international partners, donors and the human rights community in order to facilitate the immediate release of the student,” the statement reads.
Tsimafei Misyukevich, President of the EHU Student Representative Office, says that together with the Student Union of Lithuania and the European Students’ Union, they were preparing a joint position on Sofia’s situation.
“The situation is really unprecedented; it was difficult even to imagine such a thing. The entire student body believes that this is an act of state terrorism, it cannot be interpreted in any other way,” he says.
The Russian Foreign Minister also responded. Sergei Lavrov said that the Russian Embassy in Belarus had asked to provide the consul with access to the detained Sofia Sapega. According to Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Ministry also contacted the girl’s father.
Hanna Rusinava, Belsat.eu