Health of Polish minority leader in Belarusian prison deteriorates

Paweł Supernak/PAP

The health of Andzelika Borys, a leader of the Polish minority in Belarus detained by the Minsk regime, has worsened, according to the head of the Poland-sponsored television channel in Belarus.

"There has been concerning news from Andzelika Borys, especially with regard to her health," Agnieszka Romaszewska-Guzy, head of the Belsat TV channel said on Facebook on Wednesday.

Andzelika Borys is a leader of the Grodno based Union of Poles in Belarus (ZPB), the biggest Polish diaspora organisation in Belarus, an organisation unrecognized by the authorities in Minsk.

"According to my information... Andzelika finally agreed to depart for Poland, but the Belarusian authorities have suspended the move in a bid to blackmail Andrzej Poczobut," Romaszewska-Guzy also said.

Poczobut is another ZPB leader detained by the Alexander Lukashenko regime.

According to Romaszewska-Guzy, Borys's health deteriorated after being moved to a remand centre in Zhodzina near Minsk.

The relations between Warsaw and Minsk chilled after the Belarusian strongman, Alexander Lukashenko, started to use anti-Polish rhetoric amid domestic protests against last August's presidential election that Lukashenko claims he has won, but the opposition say was rigged.

Belarus has been gripped by months of nationwide protests against Lukashenko's rule, but the regime has responded with violence and persecution.

In March, the Lukashenko regime detained Borys, Poczobut and three other activists of the Union of Poles in Belarus (ZPB), who have since left for Poland on condition that they will never return to Belarus. According to informal reports, Borys and Poczobut have so far refused to leave the country.

Lukashenko has accused the ZPB leaders of inciting national hatred due to their commemoration of Polish WWII underground fighters, some of whom Minsk considers criminals.

The arrests triggered a harsh response from Warsaw, which was backed by the EU and the US. 

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