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    Belarusian foreign ministry summons Polish charge d’affaires

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    The Polish charge d’affaires in Minsk was summoned to the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) at 16.30 Warsaw time on Thursday, according to a statement from the Polish foreign ministry.

    On Wednesday, after a court in the western Belarusian city of Grodno sentenced a Polish minority activist to eight years in prison, Łukasz Jasina tweeted the news. This was followed by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoning the Belarusian charge d’affaires.

    Andrzej Poczobut was arrested in March 2021 on charges of “instigating hatred against religious and national groups, and rehabilitating Nazism.”

    A long-time correspondent for Poland’s Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper, Poczobut was also active in the Union of Poles in Belarus (ZPB), a Polish minority organisation that has been banned by the Belarusian authorities.

    The Polish MFA regularly protested against his arrest, which human rights organisations have recognised as being political, and on Wednesday Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki described his eight-year sentence as “inhuman.” It was also criticised by President Andrzej Duda.

    On Thursday, the Polish Deputy Foreign Minister declared that Warsaw will demand that those responsible for the conviction of Poczobut be put on the European Union’s sanctions list.

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