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Polish FM reacts to letter of Polish-Belarusian journalist imprisoned by Lukashenka

In a letter written from prison, Andrei Pachobut (Andrzej Poczobut), journalist and activist of the Union of Poles in Belarus, says that he soon expects to be sentenced and sent to a prison camp. His letter was published via the Telegram app by the Belarusian human rights organisation Viasna, delegalised by the Belarusian regime of Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

Zbigniew Rau, Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs, currently on a state visit to Slovenia, was asked by journalists whether Poland has come to terms with the possibility of Pachobut being sent to a prison camp.

“Poland has absolutely not come to terms with this and will never come to terms with the violation of human rights or with the treatment of the representatives of the Polish minority in Belarus as hostages. The actions that the Lukashenka regime is using in this dialogue of sorts with our country deserve the most severe condemnation,” said the top Polish diplomat.

Minister Rau enumerated some other outrages perpetrated by the Belarusian dictatorship recently, such as “illegally inducing foreigners from North African and Middle Eastern countries to cross our border; this is the purpose of the persecution of our compatriot in Belarus, as well as the repeated desecration of graves that we hold so dear and that are a testimony to our shared identity.”

The imprisonment of Pachobut

Back in min-August, the independent Belarusian Association of Journalists said it had information Andrei Pachobut’s case will soon go on trial.

Pachobut had been arrested in March 2021, along with Anzhalika Borys (Andżelika Borys), the head of the Union of Poles in Belarus, who has been released a year later.

“Thank you for remembering about me and for not being indifferent to my plight. Of course, it is nice to know, that one has not been forgotten, even though my captivity has lasted for 17 months. Everything is as per usual on my end. The prison, the cell, the bars, all those are now well-known to me and familiar :),” wrote Pachobut.

He writes that there are rumours he will soon be put on trial.

“I do not delude myself as to the outcome [of the trial], I will accept the sentence calmly and with a clean conscience, I will go to the prison camp. Well, such is my lot. I have always known, that if such times come to Belarus, I will go to prison. As my present situation shows, I was correct,” the imprisoned journalist writes, adding that the prison is full of “many interesting people, so I also have someone to talk to.”

Belarusian human rights organisations, Polish authorities, and the international community, widely recognise the oppressive measures Lukashenka’s regime uses against representatives of the Polish minority as politically motivated and part of a crackdown on civil society and freedom of expression.

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