The UN human rights watchdog has demanded that Belarus release dissident journalist Roman Protasevich, whom it seized from a diverted airliner in an incident that has provoked an international furore.
"The manner, through threat of military force, in which Protasevich was abducted from the jurisdiction of another state and brought within that of Belarus was tantamount to an extraordinary rendition," a spokesman for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights told a virtual briefing.
"Such abuse of state power against a journalist for exercising functions that are protected under international law is receiving, and deserves, the strongest condemnation."
Citing a bomb threat Belarus scrambled a warplane to escort a passenger aircraft to a landing in the Belarus capital Minsk where Protasevich was detained. The plane was then allowed to proceed to its original destination of Vilnius in Lithuania.