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UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres yesterday backed calls for an independent investigation after Belarus forced down a commercial airliner so it could arrest an opposition activist.

“The secretary-general is deeply concerned over the apparent forced landing of a passenger aircraft over Belarus on 23 May and the subsequent detention of Mr. Roman Protasevich,” said the UN chief’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric in a statement.

“The secretary-general supports calls for a full, transparent and independent investigation into this disturbing incident and urges all relevant actors to cooperate with such an inquiry,” he added.

Guterres “remains greatly concerned by the deteriorating human rights situation in Belarus in the aftermath of last August’s presidential elections,” the spokesman said.

“He urges the Belarusian authorities to fully respect all its international human rights obligations, including in relation to the freedoms of expression, assembly and association.” ― AFP