Minsk demands Warsaw extradite creators of NEXTA Telegram channels

Stsyapan Putsila ala NEXTA. Screenshot: BelsatTV

On November 16, Belarusian diplomats held a meeting with Marcin Wojciechowski, Poland’s Chargé d’Affaires in Minsk.

“The Polish side received the note with a copy of the extradition requests for criminal prosecution by S.Putsila and R.Pratasevich sent by the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Belarus to the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Poland and the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Poland,” the statement reads.

The Belarusian ministry expressed concern over Stsyapan Putsila’s and Raman Pratasevich’s ‘continuing criminal activities through extremist Telegram channels’. They called on the Polish authorities to extradite the two men to the Republic of Belarus as soon as possible.

In response, Raman Pratasevich said on Twitter that he was ready to return to Belarus voluntarily and surrender to its security forces in exchange for ‘forcibly taking Mr Lukashenka to the International Court of Justice in The Hague’.

Interior minister faults Telegram, Radio Free Europe for ‘coordinating protests’ in Belarus

Stsyapan Putsila is the creator of the most popular Belarusian TG channel NEXTA; until recently, Raman Pratasevich contributed to it as an editor. The both bloggers were put on the interstate wanted list.

In mid August, the Interior Ministry initiated a criminal case under Article 293 of the Criminal Code against Stsyapan Putsila (better known as NEXTA, НЕХТА). The blogger faces up to 15 years in jail for organising ‘mass riots, accompanied by violence against an individual, pogroms, arson, destruction of property or armed resistance to representatives of the authorities’, as well as for ‘training or other preparation of persons to participate in such riots, as well as financing or other material support of such activities’.

According to the Belarusian authorities’ version, NEXTA keeps steering and controlling the current protests in Belarus via his channels on the web.

On November 5, the Investigative Committee issued a resolution on the involvement of the creators of TG channel NEXTA Stsyapan Putsila and Raman Pratasevich as defendants in the case of mass riots (Art. 342 of the Criminal Code).

NEXTA TG channel creators accused of organizing riots and put on wanted list