Protasevich is a 26-year-old Belarusian dissident who rose to prominence during the 2020 Belarusian protests.
He was a co-founder of the NEXTA Live Telegram channel, which played a key role in organizing and documenting the demonstrations against the re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko.
The protests were met with a violent crackdown by the Belarusian authorities, and Protasevich went into exile in Lithuania.
Stepan Putilo, a fellow dissident who was sentenced in absentia to 20 years in prison on Thursday, founded the channel. Mr. Putilo is in exile in Poland at present.
Nexta and Nexta Live were used to organize the largest demonstrations in Belarus's history, which occurred in 2020.
After Mr. Protasevich's detention, his family claimed that he was compelled to make false confessions and apologize on state television.
In a single public appearance, he extolled the Belarusian leader and confessed to trying to overthrow him. His public criticism of the Belarusian opposition has fueled rumors that he is under intense duress from the government.
Since 1994, the same leader, Mr. Lukashenko, has governed Belarus. In 2020, he defied months of protests as opposition politicians and activists were detained and jailed.
Belarus Dissident blogger Roman Protasevich sentenced to 8 years in prison | Oneindia News
On Monday, August 1, 2023, a court in Belarus sentenced Protasevich to eight years in prison. Mr. Protasevich was charged with organizing mass demonstrations, calling for sanctions against Belarus, forming or commanding an extremist group, and plotting to usurp power.
Protasevich, who has been held in custody since his arrest, appeared in court wearing a prison uniform and pleaded guilty to the charges against him.