The mother of dissident journalist Roman Protasevich's girlfriend, who was arrested with him in Belarus after their plane was forced to land there, said her daughter was innocent and simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
In an interview with AFP, the 26-year-old's mum said she has not slept in days and she "grips her phone tightly, hoping for any news" of her son.
The claim of a genuine bomb scare has been dismissed by Western leaders.
Natalia Protasevich, the mother of the journalist, said there was clear evidence that her son had been subject to violence, referring to footage released a day earlier from the Minsk pre-trial detention centre where he is being held.
Separately, the White House said that national security adviser Jake Sullivan on Monday spoke with Belarus opposition leader Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya. "They're going to kill him in there!"
Pratasevich was a co-founder of the Telegram messaging app's Nexta channel, which played a prominent role in helping organize the anti-Lukashenko protests.
He had been living between Poland and Lithuania.
After his detention, Pratasevich was seen in a brief video clip on Belarusian state television late Monday, confessing to some of the charges authorities have levelled against him. "We still don't know if he is in there, what his condition is, how he is feeling", said his father Dmitry.
With dark markings visible on his forehead, he said he was being treated "according to the law".
"He would never speak like that".
"This was a clear attack on democracy and on the freedom of the press", Trudeau told a news conference, joining worldwide outrage.
Her fears were echoed by opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who said the global community must act in concert to prevent a repeat of Belarus' weekend gambit.
"This is the time to act", she said. "Suspension of flights over Belarus doesn't solve the real problem".
President Joe Biden applauded European Union sanctions and said he ordered his administration to hold Belarus accountable.
The UN rights office and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson joined calls for Protasevich to be released, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he would "strongly support action through all available global institutions", including North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
European Union leaders on Monday agreed to cut Europe's air links with Belarus and urged EU-based airlines not to fly over its airspace, calling on Belarus to release Protasevich and Sofia Sapega. Air France, KLM, Finnair, Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines have all said they will also avoid flights over the country.
Mass protests erupted against President Alexander Lukashenko last summer after he declared victory in a presidential election that his opponents said was rigged, but they lost momentum amid a sweeping crackdown by the authorities.
Ottawa will be "examining further options", he added.
The protests lasted for months with tens of thousands taking to the streets to denounce Lukashenko, who has ruled Belarus with an iron fist for over two decades.
Top experts and officials say it's unlikely Belarus would've diverted a flight without Russia's permission.
"An ordinary Belarusian will not suffer from this. Ordinary Belarusians can not afford flights", said Valentina, a retired teacher who like others was afraid to give her last name.