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Kremlin suggests waiting for Belarusian leader’s decision on convicted Russian’s fate

Dmitry Peskov noted that it was up to Belarus to decide whether to hand Sofia Sapega over to Russia

MOSCOW, June 27. /TASS/. Moscow suggests waiting for Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko to make a decision on a request for a pardon filed by Russian national Sofia Sapega convicted in Belarus, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

"As for the request for a pardon, let’s wait for a decision by the Belarusian head of state," Peskov said, adding that it was up to Belarus to decide whether to hand Sapega over to Russia.

Sapega was apprehended at the Minsk airport on May 23, 2021, together with Roman Protasevich, one of the founders of the Nexta Telegram channel, which the Belarusian authorities deem extremist. The Grodno Regional Court sentenced the Russian national to six years in a general security colony on May 6, 2022. She was found guilty of deliberate actions aimed at inciting social hatred, as well as of illegally collecting and spreading personal information. Sapega did not appeal the sentence. Lukashenko said last week that he believed it was possible to hand the convict over to Russia based on the existing legal practices. Sapega’s stepfather Sergey Dudich told TASS that her family expected the penal colony’s authorities to send her request for a pardon and related documents to the Belarusian presidential office.