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2021.07.26 17:55

Air traffic controller who diverted Vilnius-bound plane to Minsk allegedly missing

LRT.lt2021.07.26 17:55

A man working for the Belarusian air traffic control has allegedly gone missing together with his family, independent Belarusian media Nasha Niva reported on Monday.

Aleh Halehau, employee of Belaeronavigatsia and an ethnic Georgian, lived in Minsk with his family, but failed to turn up to work after holiday. The social media profiles of himself and his family have also reportedly been deleted or hidden, according to Nasha Niva.

"Personally, I haven't seen Aleh for a long time," his colleague said. “There are rumors that he has disappeared. [...] It is impossible to call him, he has deleted his social networks.”

Deputy director of Belaeronavigatsiya, Ivan Gerlovsky, confirmed to Nasha Niva that the human resources department has been looking into Halehau’s disappearance.

Another colleague told the Belarusian reporters that the man had been on holiday in Georgia.

In May, the regime of Alexander Lukashenko scrambled military aircraft to divert a Vilnius-bound Ryanair flight from Athens to Minsk. Security services then arrested a dissident journalist Roman Protasevich and his partner Sofia Sapega, a student at the European Humanities University (EHU) in Vilnius.

Lithuanian officials have called it state-backed terrorism, while the European Union and the West haved imposed sanctions.

Later the same month, independent Belarusian media published the alleged conversations between the Ryanair pilots and the Belarusian air traffic controllers, who informed the crew of an alleged bomb onboard the plane.

Colleagues of Halehau confirmed to Nasha Niva that his voice in the audio recordings was authentic.

The regime of Alexander Lukashenko later published its own transcripts of the conversation. Head of Ryanair, Michael O’Leary, called the alleged transcript misleading.

Read more: Minsk flight incident

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