Belarusian opposition blogger Roman Protasevich, who was arrested in 2021 after his flight was grounded in Minsk, has been pardoned, according to state news agency Belta. Protasevich had been sentenced to eight years in prison for organising protests, inciting “terrorism”, and slandering Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. Protasevich worked for the news agency Nexta, which reported on the mass protests that followed Lukashenko’s re-election in 2020. His arrest prompted international outrage and triggered European sanctions against Lukashenko. Meanwhile, rumours about Lukashenko’s health have spread over the past few weeks, with exiled Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya urging her supporters to be prepared for any chance to turn the country into a democracy.