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Washington, DC – House Foreign Affairs Committee Lead Republican Michael McCaul has released the following statement in response to reports the Lukashenka regime in Belarus forced a Ryanair commercial flight to land in order to arrest journalist Roman Protasevich.

“Lukashenka’s violent repression of the pro-democracy opposition and independent media knows no bounds. To arrest a journalist for simply exposing the truth of the regime-sanctioned police brutality against anti-government protests in Belarus is abhorrent. To force an Irish aircraft with nearly 200 innocent civilians to land in order to make that arrest is an egregious affront to democratic societies around the world. The Belarusian dictator and those who continue to support him cannot go unpunished. The international community must respond decisively and speak with one voice in demanding the immediate release of Roman Protasevich.”