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Belarus. Wife of the imprisoned Andrzej Poczobut: I don’t know what is happening to my husband

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Oksana Poczobut reported on Thursday that she did not know what was happening to her husband – Andrzej Poczobut, a jailed journalist and activist of the Polish minority in Belarus. She has not received a letter from him since February 26.

“Before, when there were no letters from prison, I was worried that my husband was in solitary confinement. Now, after there have been deaths behind bars (among prisoners – ed.), I always hope that it is just solitary confinement,” wrote Oksana Poczobut on Facebook.

She added that on February 28, her husband should have finished serving his sentence in the so-called PKT, i.e. a special cell, referred to as a “prison within a prison”. “There have been no letters from him since February 26, so I really don’t know what is happening to him,” said the journalist’s wife.

Sentence of eight years in a maximum-security penal colony for Andrzej Poczobut announced on February 8, 2023, judge of the Grodno Regional Court, Dzmitry Bubienczyk. The journalist was sent to the penal colony in Novopolotsk, which is considered one of the worst prisons in the world Belarus.

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Andrzej Poczobut behind bars

Poczobut was arrested on March 25, 2021 and has been behind bars since then. In a political trial, the authorities accused Poczobut, a citizen of Belarus and an activist of the Polish minority, of “incitement to hatred”, and his actions – consisting in cultivating Polishness and publishing articles in the media – were ascribed the hallmarks of “rehabilitation of Nazism”. Poczobut was also accused of calling for actions to the detriment of Belarus. Last year Supreme Court He rejected Poczobut’s appeal and upheld the verdict.

Organizations human rights they consider Poczobut a political prisoner. The Polish authorities demand Poczobut’s release and his cleansing of politically motivated, false accusations.

Available information shows that even before the trial, Poczobut refused to agree to the condition set by the authorities to leave the country of his citizenship in exchange for his release.

Andrzej Poczobut. Photo from January 2023Leonid Shcheglov/AP/East News

The activities of Andrzej Poczobut

Poczobut is an activist and journalist from Grodno. For many years he cooperated with Polish media, including “Gazeta Wyborcza” and TVP Polonia, reporting on the situation in Belarus. For critical statements about Alyaksandr Lukashenko, who has been ruling the country since 1994, he was arrested and tried (ultimately received a suspended sentence). As an activist of the Union of Poles in Belarus, which was not recognized by the Belarusian authorities and banned in 2005, Poczobut, a history enthusiast, devoted a lot of time to, among others, to research the fate of Poles in today’s Belarus. The Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has repeatedly assured that it is constantly working to release Poczobut. Officially, the Polish authorities announced in March this year that if he was released, the border crossing in Bobrowniki, which was closed in response to the conviction of Poczobut, would be opened.

Main photo source: Leonid Shcheglov/AP/East News



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