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The persecution of Poles in Belarus and the sentencing of Andrzej Poczobut in a show trial to 8 years in prison by a Belarusian court

Written declaration No. 765 | Doc. 15713 | 09 May 2023

Signatories:
Mr Arkadiusz MULARCZYK, Poland, EC/DA ; Ms Boriana ÅBERG, Sweden, EPP/CD ; Mr Knut ABRAHAM, Germany, EPP/CD ; Ms Iwona ARENT, Poland, EC/DA ; Mr Włodzimierz BERNACKI, Poland, EC/DA ; Mr Bob De BRABANDERE, Belgium, EC/DA ; Ms Eva DECROIX, Czech Republic, EC/DA ; Mr Normunds DZINTARS, Latvia, EC/DA ; Mr Erkin GADIRLI, Azerbaijan, EC/DA ; Mr Paul GALLES, Luxembourg, EPP/CD ; Mr Paul GALLES, Luxembourg, EPP/CD ; Mr Georg GEORGIEV, Bulgaria, EPP/CD ; Mr Oleksii GONCHARENKO, Ukraine, EC/DA ; Mr Marcin GWÓŹDŹ, Poland, EC/DA ; Mr Max HENGEL, Luxembourg, EPP/CD ; Mr Serhii KALCHENKO, Ukraine, EC/DA ; Ms Olena KHOMENKO, Ukraine, EC/DA ; Ms Iryna KONSTANKEVYCH, Ukraine, EC/DA ; Mr Tomasz LATOS, Poland, EC/DA ; Mr Oleksandr MEREZHKO, Ukraine, EC/DA ; Ms Mariia MEZENTSEVA, Ukraine, EPP/CD ; Mr Daniel MILEWSKI, Poland, EC/DA ; Ms Octavie MODERT, Luxembourg, EPP/CD ; Mr Dmytro NATALUKHA, Ukraine, EC/DA ; Mr Aleksander POCIEJ, Poland, EPP/CD ; Mr Serhii SOBOLIEV, Ukraine, EPP/CD ; Ms Katarzyna SÓJKA, Poland, EC/DA ; Ms Rita TAMAŠUNIENĖ, Lithuania, EC/DA ; Mr Markus WIECHEL, Sweden, EC/DA

We, the undersigned, declare the following:

The Belarusian authorities have been carrying out activities aimed at Poles in Belarus for years. Representatives of the Polish minority in Belarus are persecuted, Polish cultural heritage is being destroyed. In addition, Belarusian propaganda repeats the Russian message, trying to discredit and slander Poland in the eyes of Belarusians. The culmination of the Belarusian authorities’ repression against the Polish minority in Belarus was the show trial of journalist Andrzej Poczobut. In this political trial, the Minsk regime accused Andrzej Poczobut of “inciting hatred” and “acting to the detriment” of Belarus by calling for sanctions. On 8 January 2023, he was sentenced by the Belarusian regime court to 8 years in a penal colony with a strict regime. Since his arrest on 21 March 2021, he has not been able to see his family. Moreover, political prisoners are tortured and kept in inhumane conditions.

We call on the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, the Committee of Ministers and member States to act for the immediate and unconditional release of Andrzej Poczobut and other activists of the Union of Poles and to support for all initiatives that contribute to the democratisation of Belarusian public life both in the diaspora and in Belarus.