Journalist charged with insulting Belarusian president

A correspondent for the Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza has been charged with insulting Belarusian president Aleksander Lukashenko.

Prosecutors in Minsk brought forward the charges against Andrzej Poczobut, who is a leading activist in the Polish minority organization the Union of Poles in Belarus, yesterday.

This is the third time that the journalist, a Belarusian citizen, has been charged with offenses since the contested presidential elections in Belarus in December 2010.

Poczobut was fined for participating in what was deemed an illegal protest rally in the wake of Lukashenko's sweeping electoral victory.

Dissidents, the US, EU and Poland declared the election to be rigged.

The journalist was later imprisoned for 15 days.

The current charges are based on ten articles published in the Gazeta Wyborcza daily, later disseminated through a Belarusian dissident website.

A number of prominent politicians have already come out in defence of the journalist.

'I urge the authorities in Minsk to carry out the immediate withdrawal of charges against Andrzej Poczobut,' said President of the European parliament, Jerzy Buzek.

In a direct address to the journalist, he added:

'You have the full support of the European parliament, you are not only in the battle.'

If found guilty, Poczobut could face two years behind bars.

Karel Schwarzenburg, the Czech Republic's Foreign Minister, was swift to backed up Buzek's remarks.

'Putting European media correspondents in prison for political reasons is something inconceivable,' he said.


blog comments powered by Disqus

Partners: Social Network