Swiss detained in Belarus freed after minister intervenes

File photo: Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis, right, and Belarus Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei attend an opening ceremony of the new Switzerland Embassy in Minsk, Belarus, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020 Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
This content was published on August 14, 2020 - 15:06

The young Swiss man arrested during protests over the recent presidential election in Belarus has been freed, Swiss foreign minister Ignazio Cassis said.

The minister tweeted on Friday afternoon that it was “happy news from Belarus: after my telephone call with Vladimir Makei this morning: the detained Swiss man is free! I am relieved.”

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The father of the 21-year-old Tanguy Darbellay  confirmed to Swiss public television External linkthat his son had been freed.

A tweet by the Swiss ambassador to Belarus showed the freed man.

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The Swiss foreign ministry saidExternal link that Darbellay was in good health.

Earlier on Friday Belarus said it was ready for "constructive and objective dialogue" after a telephone call between Makei and Cassis. Switzerland had said that the case of the arrested man had been discussed.

Wrestler Darbellay  was detained in a Belarus prison after being arrested during protests in Minsk on Monday evening. The Swiss foreign ministry had said that it was treating the case as highly urgent. 

Darbellay, from canton Valais, moved to Minsk in autumn last year to pursue his passion for wrestling. He speaks the language and is well integrated in the city, according to the father. He is part of the Swiss national wrestling team and won the title of national champion in the 80-kilogram weight class in May 2019. 

Darbellay was reportedly arrested on the third day of protests while returning home.

The Swiss foreign ministry had already criticised the official police reaction in Belarus following protests which erupted in response to Sunday’s presidential election and had called for the respect of human rights.

According to reports, police arrested thousands of protestors and used stun grenades and rubber bullets leaving hundreds injured and at least two dead.

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