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U.S. Charges 4 Belarusian Government Officials with Conspiracy to Commit Aircraft Piracy

The indictment noted that Belarusian officials alleged the journalist was stirring up “mass unrest” and had been wanted by the government.
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Marines of the Baltic Fleet forces of the Russian Navy train in the zone of obstacles during military exercises at the Khmelevka firing ground in the Kaliningrad region, Russia November 24, 2021. REUTERS/Vitaly Nevar

The Hill

Four Belarusian government officials have been charged with conspiracy to commit aircraft piracy after a plane traveling from Athens to Vilnius, Lithuania, was ordered last May to be diverted so that a Belarusian journalist could be arrested, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York announced Thursday.

The four officials — Leonid Mikalaevich Churo, Oleg Kazyuchits, Andrey Anatolievich Lnu and Fnu Lnu — were charged with one count of conspiracy to commit aircraft piracy. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said they are based in Belarus but remain at large. 

According to the indictment filed Thursday in Manhattan federal court, a Ryanair Flight on May 23, 2021 — which was carrying four Americans in addition to over 100 others — was ordered to be diverted to Minsk, Belarus. 

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