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    Polish activist’s trial begins in Belarus

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    The trial of Belarusian-Polish journalist and Polish minority activist Andrzej Poczobut, imprisoned by the Belarusian regime, began before the district court in Grodno on Monday, the Polish foreign ministry has said.

    Lukasz Jasina, the foreign ministry spokesman, wrote on social media that the Polish charge d’affair in Minsk, Marcin Wojciechowski, was barred from entering the courtroom.

    Poczobut, a well-known journalist in Belarus and a long-time correspondent for Poland’s Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper, is also an activist for the Union of Poles in Belarus (ZPB), a Polish minority body that has been delegalised by the Belarusian authorities.

    Poczobut was arrested on March 25, 2021, on charges of “instigating hatred on religious and national grounds,” and “rehabilitating Nazism,” and has remained in a Belarusian prison since then.

    Arrested on the same day were ZPB leader Andzelika Borys and several other members of the organisation. Borys was released in March, 2022, but may still face charges.

    The imprisonment of Poczobut and the remaining ZPB members triggered vigorous protests from human rights organisations and the international community, including the Polish government, which said the arrests were politically motivated.

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