Friday, August 27, 2021

Two activists of Polish minority held hostage by Belarus' dictator

 The Belarusian authorities decided to prolong the detention of two leading members of Belarus’s Polish community, Andżelika Borys and Andrzej Poczobut for another three months. But, can be released if they plead guilty and ask Alexander Lukashenka for grace.

The head of the Union of Poles in Belarus (ZPB), which is not recognized by the authorities in Minsk, Andżelika Borys, and a journalist and activist of the ZPB, Andrzej Poczobut, have been in prison for over five months. At the end of May, they refused to leave the country and remained behind bars. At that time, three activists of the Polish minority in Belarus were taken straight from the prison cell to Poland. Now, as the Polish newspaper 'Rzeczpospolita' reports, the regime of Alexander Lukashenka is once again making a proposal to the Poles.

Yuri Waskrasienski, a former opposition activist and political prisoner who turned over to the authorities and now heads the Round Table of Democratic Forces supported by the regime, said in an interview with Rzeczpospolita that Poles would be released if they pleaded guilty and wrote a letter to Lukashenka asking for pardon.

Waskrasienski claims that about 100 of the more than 600 political prisoners wrote to the country's leader and that they will start returning home in September.

Andżelika Borys and Andrzej Poczobut have been charged, along with three other representatives of the Polish minority in Belarus, with "deliberate actions aimed at inciting racial, national, religious or other social hostility" and "rehabilitating Nazism" due to their commemoration of Polish WWII underground fighters.

Oksana Poczobut, the wife of an imprisoned journalist, told Rzeczpospolita that "for some people, the sense of justice and personal dignity is stronger than the fear of imprisonment." - Andrzej belongs to the group of such people - she added. In her opinion, both Boris and Poczobut should be released because "they are innocent and have nothing to apologize for."

- Based on reporting by: Rzeczpolpolita (pl.), DoRzeczy (pl.) and TheFirstNews (en.).