Friday, 15 April 2011 13:46

Free Andrzej Poczobut! – sign an appeal to the Europe’s last dictator

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Some time ago on this blog I talked about the dramatic situation of Belarusian journalists and dissidents who were protesting against the falsified presidential election. Unfortunately it's hard to say that events are getting better now, 4 months after Lukashenka’s triumph.

One story is of Andrzej Poczobut, a Polish-Belarusian independent journalist, blogger and correspondent of the Polish press. On April 6th when he was going to participate in a TV link-up conference with the deputies from the EU-Belarus European Parliament Group, he was detained by the Belarusian KGB and charged with 'insulting the president'. Just after the imprisonment Andrzej's house was raided by the KGB and his wife was interrogated for many hours.    

According to the Belarusian Criminal Code Articles 367 and 368 Andrzej might be punished with up to 4 years of imprisonment, but the authorities have threatened that he may even spend 8 years in prison. Nevertheless even though Andrzej criticised the last dictator of Europe a many times and does not regret doing so, the articles attached to his act of accusation against Lukashenko aren't even mentioned.

The reaction of the EU was quick. Catherine Ashton issued an official statement condemning the imprisonment while the European Parliament called the Belarusian authorities to free the journalist. At the same tame Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza organised the campaign of support and an appeal to free Poczobut which was joined by many other media.

A few days before he was jailed Andrzej Poczobut wrote in an article: "Lukashenko is struggling with the remnants of the independent civil society now. He does not want to have any witnesses. He wants the world to forget about Belarus."

Andrzej Poczobut is one of those steadfast witnesses who Lukashenko wants to silence. He's a reporter to whom, to quote the Vilnius writer Józef Mackiewicz in Andrzej's blog – "only the truth is interesting".

I would like to thank Andrzej Poczobut and other brave Belarusian journalists who allow us to remember "that country under the gray sky…where the day after tomorrow instead of weeds and sagebrush, white and red flowers will sprout" named Belarus.

Now I do think that we have to show that "the world will not forget about Belarus" and help Andrzej Poczobut and other Belarusian Partisans, (as independent journalists sometimes call themselves in that country for a joke).

Here you can SIGN an appeal to free Andrzej Poczobut.

Last modified on Sunday, 01 May 2011 18:25
Ziemowit Jóźwik

Ziemowit Jóźwik is 23. Coming from Bieliny, a small village in the Holy Cross Mountains (Poland), he is now based in the more well known city of Krakow. Having written for Europe & Me since Issue 5 he will now take on the challenge of expanding our knowledge of the eastern borders of the European landscape. His blog will explore how European issues are understood 'under Eastern eyes.'

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