Andrzej Poczobut wrote in a letter that he would not seek a pardon, even under pressure from the authorities, reveals Radio Swaboda. A journalist and activist of the Union of Poles in Belarus has been in custody since March on charges of “inciting hatred”.
Radio Swaboda published an excerpt from a letter that Andrzej Poczobut, a journalist and activist of the Union of Poles in Belarus, wrote to one of the readers. “I will not ask for a pardon, even under pressure,” he assured. “In such matters as my similar behavior would be immoral and unworthy of the memory of the Home Army heroes” – he added.
As he pointed out, it is understandable for him “that he will face a long stay in prisons and labor camps”. In the letter, as stated, Andrzej Poczobut describes his situation as “prison stability”, writes that he is reading books and is preparing for a trial, the date of which is unknown.
Arrested members of the Union of Poles in Belarus
Andrzej Poczobut, as well as the head of the Union of Poles in Belarus, Andżelika Borys, are in custody in Żodzin, near Mińsk. They were detained in March. On Thursday, six months have passed since Borys was arrested, on Saturday – Poczobut.
The authorities have launched a criminal case against Polish activists for “inciting hatred”, facing up to 12 years in prison. Three activists – Irena Biernacka, Maria Tiszkowska and Anna Paniszewa – also accused under the same article, were released from custody in May, but were forced to leave Belarus. They are in Poland.
The authorities argue that ZPB activists have committed acts bearing the hallmarks of “Nazism rehabilitation”. They are accused of “praising war criminals, including Romuald Rajs Bury”. Activists dismiss these accusations as unfounded. Human rights defenders regarded the case of the Union of Poles in Belarus as politically motivated, and the activists as prisoners of conscience.
The case of the Union of Poles in Belarus is part of the narrative of the Belarusian authorities and official media, which recently intensified the message calling soldiers of the Home Army and representatives of the Polish underground in today’s Belarus “war criminals”.
The dispute over the Soviet version of history
On September 17, on the anniversary of the USSR’s aggression against the Second Polish Republic, Belarus celebrated a new national unity holiday for the first time. This date is presented as “reunification of Eastern and Western Belarus”. Drawing profusely on the Soviet version of history, the Belarusian authorities present the actions of the Red Army as “liberating the lands of Western Belarus and Ukraine from the oppression of your Poland”.
The propaganda ignores the crimes of the Soviets and idealizes their role in “building Belarusian statehood”, presents the activities of the Second Polish Republic and the Polish underground as anti-Belarusian, and the AK even accuses it of collaborating with the Nazis.
This context includes the activity of the Union of Poles in Belarus and Polish organizations, which are accused of “rehabilitating Nazism” and striving to build national divisions, as well as intending to “regain the Eastern Borderlands”.
In a broader sense, the authorities are trying to argue that last year’s post-election protests were a West-inspired conspiracy against Belarus and are making an analogy between the protesters and the Nazis. According to experts, reaching for anti-Western threads in the policy of memory is a reaction to the political crisis and is aimed at consolidating the supporters of the current government.
Main photo source: TVN24