Prosecutor General orders investigation into Ryanair incident

Łukasz Gągulski/PAP

Poland's Prosecutor General has ordered an investigation into the forced landing on Sunday of a Ryanair flight in Minsk, the National Prosecutor's Office spokesperson has told PAP.

The inquiry will be based on the alleged "use of deception and threats to take control of an aircraft and the detention of its passengers," Lukasz Lapczynski said on Monday morning.

On Sunday Belarus forced a Lithuania-bound Ryanair flight from Athens, carrying a key opposition activist, to land at Minsk airport.

Belarusian air-traffic control apparently used a bomb threat to make the aircraft land while a Belarusian air-force jet also intercepted the flight.

Roman Protasevich, a leading opposition activist, was arrested once the aircraft was on the ground. He is a co-founder of the Telegram messaging app's Nexta channel, which Belarus last year deemed an extremist organisation after it was used to help organise major protests against Alexander Lukashenko, the Belarusian president.

Mirroring the widespread international outrage over the incident the Polish authorities accused Minsk of violating international law, committing piracy and "state terrorism" by "hijacking the plane."

Poland has demanded the international community react decisively and the circumstances of the incident clarified.

Meanwhile the forced landing has been described by Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O'Leary as "state-sponsored hijacking".

"This was a case of state-sponsored hijacking ... state-sponsored piracy," O'Leary told Irish Newstalk radio.

"It appears the intent of the authorities was to remove a journalist and his travelling companion ... we believe there were some KGB agents offloaded at the airport as well," he said.