MOSCOW, January 31. /TASS/. Moscow will keep a close watch on how the rights of Russian national, Sofia Sapega, who has been denied a pardon in Belarus, are observed, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday.
"Naturally, all possible efforts were taken [to help Sofia Sapega]," he said, adding that these efforts "were not enough" for a pardon because Belarus "is a sovereign state with its own laws and its own approaches."
"Anyway, we will continue to watch closely how the rights of the Russian citizen are observed," the press secretary pledged.
Sofia Sapega was detained on May 23, 2021 at Minsk airport along with Roman Protasevich, the founder of the Nexta Telegram channel, which was recognized as extremist in Belarus. Sapega was found guilty of deliberate actions aimed at inciting social enmity and discord based on social background, which were committed by a group of people and caused grave consequences, as well as of illicitly collecting and disseminating personal information. The Grodno Regional Court sentenced her to six years in prison on May 6, 2022. Later, she filed a plea for a pardon, which was ultimately turned down. It was reported earlier, citing her attorney, that a request to transfer her to Russia so that she could serve out her sentence there would be submitted soon.
Deputy Chief of Staff of the Belarusian Presidential Administration Olga Chupris told reporters earlier on Tuesday that Sapega was denied a pardon on legal grounds, because she had failed to meet the criteria for such a decision and that there was absolutely no bias in this decision.