The Polish Foreign Ministry has made an appeal to the Belarusian government, urging them to release all individuals detained for political reasons, including a prominent Polish minority activist.
Andrzej Poczobut, a journalist and active member of the Union of Poles in Belarus (ZPB), an organization representing the Polish minority in Belarus that was recently delegalized by the authorities, was arrested in March 2021. He faced charges of “instigating hatred against religious and national groups, and rehabilitating Nazism.” In February 2023, Poczobut received an eight-year prison sentence, which he is currently appealing.
In solidarity with political prisoners in Belarus, the Belarusian Viasna Human Rights Centre declared May 21 as a Day of Solidarity, commemorating the death of political prisoner Vitold Ashurak, who passed away in a penal colony on the same day two years earlier.
The Polish ministry emphasized that there are nearly 1,500 political prisoners in Belarus.
Following the announcement of Poczobut’s sentence, Poland took decisive action by temporarily closing the crucial Bobrowniki crossing with Belarus and implementing additional transport restrictions. These measures will be lifted upon Poczobut’s release.