Woman faces four years in jail for Tinder profile photo showing her at an anti-government protest in Belarus
- Protest was in 2020 but photos were only reported to authorities recently
- Authorities released video of woman ‘confessing’ her alleged crime
- ‘You shouldn’t protest,’ she said in the video, seemingly under duress
A woman has been detained in Minsk after she posted two pictures on Tinder showing her at a protest rally against the country’s leader, the dictator Alexander Lukashenko.
The unnamed woman, 29, a manager at a logistics company, was seen wrapped in the white-red-white flag of free Belarus.
Though the protest took place in 2020, it recently triggered a complaint which led to her being held by the feared Belarusiun KGB security services.
According to the nation’s laws, she could now face up to four years’ imprisonment.
The woman – appearing deeply uncomfortable – was seen in a video apologising for using the pictures on her Tinder dating app profile.
A 29-year-old manager of a logistics company from Minsk is pictured during a protest in Belarus in 2020
Belarusian authorities released a video of the woman seemingly confessing her crime under duress
She appeared to have been speaking under duress, a familiar tactic used by Belarusian authorities.
She was asked: ‘What have you been detained for?’
She replied: ‘Article 342: participation in unofficial mass events.’
‘What did you do?’
‘I participated in protests in 2020.’
‘What did you do it for?’
‘It was interesting…’
‘And now? Do you regret [what you did]?
‘Of course, it was meaningless and not relevant.
‘Of course, I should not have done that.
‘What can you tell people who go [to protests]?’
‘Well, that you shouldn’t protest because this is not the method to achieve, to express your opinion.’
The woman appeared at a protest against Belarusian leader Aleksandr Lukashenko (pictured) in 2020
The security services claimed that after her detention, two female friends of the woman – also present at the anti-Lukashenko protests – sought to escape Belarus.
One fled to Turkey, but the other was detained at the border with Poland, seeing to reach the EU.
The incident comes just weeks after human rights defender Nasta Loika was allegedly detained by Belarusian authorities and forced to release a video statement under duress.
NGO the International Federation for Human Rights said Ms Loika was detained for 15 days on the charge of ‘petty hooliganism’ for receiving funds from foreign sources to support her human rights work.
The campaigner was also detained for the same ‘arbitrary’ charge the previous month, being targeted ‘solely for her human rights activism Amnesty International claimed.
During her September detention, Ms Loika was ‘denied access to her lawyer, warm clothing, and basic necessities, as well as to the medical care she requires.’