Andrzej Poczobut released pending trial


Andrzej Poczobut with his son in July 2011

On Saturday Andrzej Poczobut, the Belarusian Polish journalist and Gazeta Wyborcza correspondent was charged with libelling Alexander Lukaszenko, then released from custody on a signed undertaking not to leave his place of residence..  He could face five years imprisonment if convicted since, after 3 months in custody in 2011, he received a suspended sentence on the same charge.

“I don’t know why they let me out. Since I was arrested, I have refused to give testimony and not answered the investigator’s questions. I only know that I’m charged with libelling the President of Belarus, and that according to an assessment ordered by the KGB I “libelled” him in 12 commentaries on the Internet sites Belarusian Partisan and Charter 97”.

Poczobut was arrested at his home on 21 June.  His computer was removed, and a Belarusian Security Service representative has said that other charges may follow.

Marek Bućko, a specialist on Belarus believes that international pressure could help in this case. He says that in a situation where the trial will be a farce, Polish public opinion, and the EU in general, must show solidarity with the journalist.

From a report at Gazeta Wyborcza

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