‘Hang in there, son’: Parents of detained Belarusian journalist plead for international support
Parents of Belarusian journalist Roman Protasevich, Natalia and Dmitry Protasevich at a press conference in Warsaw, Poland on May 27, 2021. AFP - WOJTEK RADWANSKI

In the Polish capital, Warsaw, where they fled months ago, the parents of journalist Roman Protasevich, who was detained after a forced plane landing in Belarus on Sunday, pleaded for international help to secure their son's release. FRANCE 24's Gulliver Cragg reports.

With the EU threatening hard-hitting sanctions over Protasevich's shocking arrest, the parents of the Belarusian dissident journalist pleaded with US and EU leaders to help secure their son's freedom.

At a press conference in Warsaw, Dmitry Protasevich said his son has been denied access to independent lawyers and doctors. "We've been calling for Red Cross representatives, independent doctors and lawyers to have access to our son, but unfortunately the authorities refuse," he said.

For Natalia Protasevich, the past few days have been traumatic. "He's not even allowed to receive parcels" in prison, she told journalists.

When asked what message she'd like to get to her son, she broke down in tears. "Hang on in there son. We love you and we'll get you out of there," said Protasevich.

The detained journalist was last seen in a video released by Belarusian authorities on Monday in which he was seen supposedly admitting to helping to organize mass unrest, a charge that could land him in jail for 15 years.