Andżelika Borys – the head of the Union of Poles in Belarus banned by Minsk – has been cleared of untrue charges, said the spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Łukasz Jasina. “This is a step in the right direction,” he added. “We hope that similar decisions will also be made against Andrzej Poczobut and other prisoners,” he wrote.
“We are pleased to note that Angelica Boris was cleared of false charges. This is a step in the right direction. We hope that similar decisions will also be made against Andrzej Poczobut and other prisoners. We don’t forget about you,” MFA spokesman Łukasz Jasina wrote on Twitter.
One year in prison, another year under house arrest
Andżelika Borys was detained in Grodno on March 23, 2021, initially for organizing the Grodno Kaziuki cultural event, which the authorities considered “illegal”. She was sentenced to 15 days in detention, but she did not go free, because the authorities quickly brought more charges against her.
The leader of the Union of Poles banned by Minsk Belarus (ZPB) activities aimed at inciting national and religious hatred and sowing discord on the basis of national, religious and linguistic affiliation were accused. According to the prosecutor’s office, Borys was supposed to work for the “rehabilitation of Nazism”. According to this article, in Belarus it was punishable by imprisonment from five to 12 years.
Two days after Borys was detained, the militia arrested an activist of the Union of Poles in Belarus and a journalist, Andrzej Poczobut, as well as Irena Biernacka and Marina Tiszkowska from the regional branches of the Union of Poles. Anna Paniszewa, an activist of a Polish organization from Brześć, who was detained on March 12, was also included in the criminal case.
In March 2022 Boris was released from custodybut was still under house arrest. The leader of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko he argued that the decision to release Borys was a sign of his goodwill, because “he is always ready to throw himself into the fire to save people.” He also claimed that he did not intend to “bargain” with the West using political prisoners. At the same time, he maintained that “no one rushed to help” Angelica Borys, which was not true. The Polish authorities have repeatedly informed about efforts to free all activists of the Union of Poles in Belarus, which resulted, among others, in the release of three activists from prison.
Main photo source: Rafal Oleksiewicz/Reporter/East News