Andrzej Poczobut, a journalist and activist of the Polish minority staying in a Belarusian penal colony, was honored with the Medal of the 75th Anniversary of Jan Karski’s Mission. The award was granted by the Jan Karski Society. Just as the legendary emissary of the Polish Underground State suffered Nazi imprisonment and torture, Andrzej Poczobut experiences a similar test of physical fortitude, steadfastness of character and perseverance in the spirit of hope.
In the justification for awarding the medal, the Jan Karski Association emphasized that Poczobut’s mission “is obviously close to the mission to stop the Holocaust undertaken in 1942 by Jan Karski.”
Just as the legendary emissary of the Polish Underground State suffered Nazi imprisonment and torture, so Andrew Poczobut experiences a similar test of physical fortitude, steadfastness of character and perseverance in the spirit of hope. Just as Karski, freed from prison by his comrades-in-arms, returned to fight for Poland, Poczobut, freed by the forces of international solidarity, will return to fight for Poland. Belarus and its place in the family of free, self-determining societies and nations.
“May the spirit of Jan Karski, Dear Andrzej, be with you, helping you to persevere! No criminal regime is eternal, although usually its ‘führers’ try not to believe it to the end” – it was emphasized.
Poczobut in a Belarusian prison
Poczobut is staying in a penal colony in Nowopolotsk in northern Belarus. On Thursday, Poczobut’s wife Oksana announced on Facebook that he would spend the next six months in solitary confinement. She wrote, citing a letter received from her husband, that Poczobut was punished with a six-month stay in solitary confinement because he refused “a job that cannot be done”.
“The doctor refused to sign a certificate that his health allows him to be kept in solitary confinement, because the examination showed heart rhythm disturbances and blood pressure of 190/140. But the next day, a more experienced medic, an internist, came and signed the certificate. He sent him to solitary confinement and now measuring Andrzej’s pressures do not show the results, “wrote Oksana Poczobut.
About a month and a half ago, Poczobut was transported to the place where he was serving his sentence – the penal colony in Novopolotsk in northern Belarus. On August 12, it turned out that he had spent 30 days in solitary confinement. “Despite the summer, it was so cold there that he woke up from the cold” – informed Oksana Poczobut.
Poczobut, political prisoner
On February 8, Andrzej Poczobut was sentenced to eight years in a high-security penal colony. The judge of the Grodno Regional Court, Dzmitryj Bubieńczyk, issued the sentence. In what was considered a political trial, which began on January 16, the authorities accused Poczobut, a citizen of Belarus and an activist of the Polish minority, of “inciting hatred”, and his actions, consisting in cultivating Polishness and publishing articles in the media, were attributed the features of “rehabilitation of Nazism”. Poczobut was also accused of calling for actions to the detriment of Belarus. In May Supreme Court rejected Poczobut’s appeal and upheld the sentence.
Organizations human rights recognize Poczobut as a political prisoner and the treatment of him as politically motivated. The Polish authorities demand that Poczobut be released and cleared of politically motivated, untrue charges. Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has repeatedly assured that it is constantly working to free Poczobut.
Main photo source: Leonid Shcheglov/AP/East News