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Activists previously detained in Belarus express gratitude to Poland

“Three Polish minority activists were released from Belarusian arrest and are staying in Poland under the protection of the Polish state. They are in contact with their loved ones. They feel well,” said the deputy head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Marcin Przydacz on Wednesday.

Irena Biernacka, Marya Tishkovska and Anna Panysheva were held in detention in Belarus in connection with accusations concerning their participation in commemorating the soldiers of the Polish independence underground.

“You can endure the inhuman conditions in prison because you believe in God. We really felt that the Polish side would not leave us,” said the president of the Vawkavysk (South-West Belarus) branch of the Union of Poles in Belarus, Marya Tishkovska.

“It is a pity that Poles in Belarus are treated in this way. We were born Poles in this land, we taught children the Polish language, we remembered places of national remembrance, soldiers who died in the Eastern Borderlands. We did nothing wrong,” she said.

“I would like to express my gratitude to the Polish state that saved me from prison,” said Anna Panysheva, head of the Forum of Polish Local Initiatives in Brest (South-West Belarus).

“Of course, we did not want to leave, but that’s how things turned out,” Irena Biernacka said. She added that she was “grateful to the Polish side” and thanked the president and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Marcin Przydacz stated that due to the “delicate nature of the case”, he could not state the circumstances of the three activists crossing the border. Asked about the possibility of bringing to Poland the families of the released activists he emphasised that “it would be their autonomous decision”.

Mr Przydacz also declared that the Polish state would seek the release of other Polish minority activists, namely Angelika Borys and Andrzej Poczobut.

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