Head of Union of Poles in Belarus cleared of all 'unfounded' charges

A spokesman for the Polish Foreign Ministry has said that the “unfounded” charges levelled against the leader of the Union of Poles in Belarus (ZBP) have been dropped.

Andzelika Borys was detained in March 2021, initially for organising a cultural event deemed "illegal" by the Minsk authorities but was later charged with inciting national and religious hatred and sowing discord on the grounds of national, religious and linguistic affiliation. 

Prosecutors also accused her of promoting Nazism, a crime which carries a penalty of up to 12 years in prison.

But the Belarusian authorities have now dropped the charges.

"We are pleased to note that Andzelika Borys has been cleared of the unfounded charges," Lukasz Jasina tweeted. "This is a step in the right direction. We hope that similar decisions will also be made against Andrzej Poczobut and other prisoners. We won't forget about you." 

Poczobut, an activist and journalist, was sentenced earlier this year to eight years in prison for "inciting hatred" and "terrorist activities".

Later on Tuesday, Marcin Przydacz, the head of the Polish president's International Policy Bureau, told a press conference: "We are satisfied with the information that Andzelika Borys has been cleared of all charges, but further work is needed, pressure on the regime in Minsk to release more political prisoners, including Andrzej Poczobut."

He praised the activities undertaken by Borys for Poland. In his opinion, for many Poles she is a hero who fights to maintain the culture, Polish language, and historical awareness of Poles living beyond the eastern border.

At the same time, Przydacz declared that diplomatic activities and appeals for the release of other political prisoners would be continued.

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