“We are determined to raise the issue of repression against Poles in Belarus on the international forum. We simply cannot agree to what is happening to our compatriots across the eastern border,” the head of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister, Michał Dworczyk, said on Thursday, referring to the recent detention of members of the Union of Poles in Belarus.
Another Union of Poles in Belarus’ board member detained: report
On Wednesday, the head of the Union of Poles in Belarus, Andżelika Borys, was sentenced by a court in Grodno, western Belarus, to 15 days in custody for organising the traditional cultural event Saint Casimir’s Fair. On Thursday, the head of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister reported on social media that in the morning in Grodno, Western Belarus, Andrzej Poczobut, a board member of the Union of Poles in Belarus, was detained.
Mr Dworczyk, asked by the commercial broadcaster TVN24 what the charges are against Poczobut, pointed out that there is no official information yet, but unofficial sources indicate that the journalist is accused of “inciting feuds between nationalities”. “This is a serious charge, subject to heavy imprisonment, but we have to wait for official information,” Mr Dworczyk stressed.
He added that Mr Poczobut has been very involved in activities for the Polish minority for years. “He has already been arrested and interrogated many times, he has been in custody several times due to his activities, but he is an extremely righteous and principled and also a very brave man,” the head of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister emphasised.
“This method of action and the accusations, if they are confirmed, clearly prove that it is a very strong intimidation of the activists of the Union of Poles in Belarus, the Polish minority,” he pointed out.
Michał Dworczyk assured that Poles in Belarus can count on any help that the Polish consular and diplomatic services are able to provide. “We are determined to raise the issue of repression against Poles in Belarus on the international forum. We simply cannot agree to what is happening to our compatriots across the eastern border,” he stressed.
The deputy head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Marcin Przydacz, also referred to the wave of arrests of Polish activists in Belarus.
“Alexander Lukashenka and the authorities in Minsk targeted Poles in Belarus. After some other groups, we had to deal with the continuing policy of repression against Belarusian society, against independent activists and the media. Today it is an attempt to… destabilise the situation around Poles in Belarus. There is never consent from Poland and the Western world for this,” he stressed.
“I will be contacting our consul. He is definitely on his way to establish the facts, establishing contact with the militia or institution that conducted the detainment, [get more details] about the health condition [of Mr Poczobut] and the reasons for the arrest,” he assured.
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