Flight FR4978 took off from Athens and was nearing its final destination of Vilnius, Lithuania when it was suddenly forced to divert to Minsk. RIGHT: Airport personnel and security forces are seen on the tarmac in front of Protasevich's Ryanair flight. He said that Protasevichs brief appearance on Belarus state television Monday night was not reassuring given the apparent bruising to his face and the strong likelihood that his appearance was not voluntary and his confession to serious crimes was forced.
He said the Canadian government is calling for Belarusian journalist Raman Pratasevich to be released immediately.
In a video posted online, the detained blogger, Roman Protasevich, 26, said he was in good health, being held in a pretrial detention facility in Minsk, and acknowledged having played a role in organising mass disturbances in the capital past year.
US President Joe Biden yesterday condemned Belarus for its actions and said he had asked his advisers to give him options to hold those responsible to account.
"It's madness!" declared Xavier Bettel, the prime minister of Luxembourg.
The European Union and the United Kingdom have issued new sanctions against Belarus in light of the incident, with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps instructing the Civil Aviation Authority to request airlines avoid Belarusian air space "to keep passengers safe".
A senior Belarusian transport official said the authorities received a letter claiming to be from the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas threatening to blow up the plane over Vilnius unless the European Union renounced support for Israel.
Mr Michel also called for the release of Mr Protasevich - a critic of Belarussian president Alexander Lukashenko - and his Russian girlfriend Sofia Sapega.
The Montreal-based ICAO has no regulatory power, and the European Union has no authority over flights taking off and landing in Belarus or flying over its airspace, apart from direct flights that originate or land in Europe.
London also said it had issued instructions for British aircraft to avoid Belarusian airspace.
The Kremlin, for its part, seized on the criticism of Belarus to accuse Western capitals of hypocrisy, pointing to forced landings of Bolivian President Evo Morales' plane in 2013, when US authorities thought Edward Snowden was on board, and of a Belarusian passenger jet in 2016 shortly after take-off from Kyiv, so Ukraine could arrest a passenger.
Mr Lukashenko has been president of Belarus since the post was established in 1994 and won re-election for a sixth time in 2020 with 80% of the vote, in a ballot deemed "neither free nor fair" by the EU.
NEXTA, a news service where Protasevich worked before setting up his own widely followed blog, ran an interview with his mother, who said that as soon as she heard reports of a bomb scare on a flight, she knew it was a plot to capture him.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said it was "very hard to believe" the seizure of Mr Protasevich from the flight could have taken place "without at least the acquiescence of the authorities in Moscow".
What do you think the global community should do about Belarus's tactics?
To his father, Dzmitry Protasevich, the video comments on Monday seemed to be a result of coercion.
Moscow has dismissed the outrage in the West, saying Belarus was acting reasonably and within the law when the plane was diverted. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum denied his group had any knowledge or connection to the matter.
Belarus said its ground controllers had given guidance to the flight but had not ordered it to land.
Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary, who referred to the incident as a state-sponsored hijacking, said he believed security agents had been on the flight.