The trial of a Polish-Belarusian journalist opened in authoritarian Belarus on Monday, Dec. 16, with the reporter dealing with up to 12 a long time in prison for criticising President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime.
The same working day Belarusian investigators introduced new charges in opposition to opposition chief Sergei Tikhanovsky, who in 2021 was observed responsible of organising riots and inciting social hatred and sentenced to 18 several years in jail.
Andrzej Poczobut, a correspondent for prime Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza and a agent of the Polish minority in Belarus, was arrested in March 2021.
He is accused of “calling for actions aimed at harming nationwide security” as very well as inciting hatred. The costs carry a punishment of in between five and 12 a long time in prison.
Poland stated Monday that the prices versus him have been “untrue and politically motivated”, calling for him to be freed.
Poland’s demand d’affaires at its embassy in Minsk, Marcin Wojciechowski, was not authorized inside of the courtroom for the demo.
“Poczobut is an activist acknowledged at the coronary heart of the Polish minority in Belarus and we have to be at his trial,” Wojciechowski informed AFP.
“It is a way to clearly show our solidarity with him and with the associates of the Polish minority.”
He stated a handful of activists and relatives have been permit into the courtroom ahead of staying instructed to depart.
Poczobut, 49, stayed in Belarus after Lukashenko suppressed mass protests versus his rule in the summer months of 2020.
He is currently being tried in the western town of Grodno, near the Polish border.
The Viasna legal rights team, which bundled Poczobut in its listing of 1,440 political prisoners in Belarus, posted a photograph of him wanting stern in the glass defendant’s box in court docket.
Belarusian and Polish journalists expressed their guidance of Poczobut as the trial opened.
Boris Garetsky, a spokesman for the Belarusian Association of Journalists, termed Poczobut “unbreakable.”
“Andrzej was provided independence in trade for leaving Belarus, he refused,” he said in a statement.
Adam Michnik, editor-in-main of the Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper for which Poczobut claimed, published a letter in his guidance.
“We are with you and we will be,” he said.
Poland has come to be a hub for exiled Belarusians.
– Rates towards Tikhanovsky –
Also on Monday, Belarusian investigators claimed that Tikhanovsky, a charismatic YouTube blogger who galvanised the opposition when he ran for president to try out to topple Lukashenko, faces new expenses of disobeying jail officials.
The Investigative Committee accused Tikhanovsky, 44, of provoking conflicts with cellmates and disobeying jail authorities.
The announcement was made as his wife and opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya will go on trial in absentia on Tuesday on expenses together with higher treason and conspiracy to seize electric power.
Tikhanovsky was not authorized to operate, and his wife ran in his put, claiming victory in the 2020 vote. She now lives in exile.
Lukashenko has been in power in Belarus since 1994.
The reclusive country has been at loggerheads with the West for a long time.
Lukashenko welcomed Russian troops last year, who released an offensive on Ukraine from many directions, which includes from Belarusian territory.