Opposition: Belarusian dissident forced to confess on TV

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Belarusian opposition activists say that a dissident journalist has been coerced to appear in a video on state TV in which he wept and praised the country’s authoritarian ruler. In the 90-minute video aired Thursday night, 26-year-old Raman Pratasevich repented for his opposition activities and said he respects Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko as “a man with balls of steel.” His associates reacted with outrage, accusing the Belarusian authorities of forcing Pratasevich to smear himself and disavow the opposition. Speaking Friday on a visit to Poland, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the main opposition candidate in Belarus’ presidential election last August, said that Pratasevich and other Belarusians who have spoken in videos from custody “are for sure being tortured and violated.”