Judge who sentenced Polish leader in Belarus banned from entering Poland
The judge who sentenced the head of the Union of Poles in Belarus (ZPB), Andzelika Borys, to 15 days' arrest, will be banned from entering Poland for an indefinite period on Thursday, the head of PM's office has said.
On Wednesday, a Belarusian court sentenced Borys to 15 days in jail for violating a law on mass gatherings.
Also on Thursday morning, Andrzej Poczobut, a ZPB board member, was detained by the Belarusian authorities.
"In accordance with the guidelines of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, today the judge who yesterday sentenced Andzelika Borys to 15 days of arrest will be prohibited from entering the territory of Poland for an indefinite period," Michal Dworczyk said.
According to the Belarusian prosecutor's office, a criminal case against Borys and "other people", concerns incitement to national and religious hatred, as well as "the rehabilitation of Nazism."
The allegations also relate to organising "a series of illegal mass events with the participation of minors, during which participants of anti-Soviet bands operating during the Great Patriotic War and after its end were honoured."
Earlier in the morning, Dworczyk said that Poland would raise the issue of repression against Poles in Belarus on the international forum. "We simply cannot agree to what is happening to our compatriots abroad," Dworczyk said.
He went on to say that every Belarusian official and every person who engages in repression against the Polish minority in Belarus "will suffer the consequences".
Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz said on Thursday that more and more Poles in Belarus are politically repressed.
"Unfortunately, we have signals that other Polish activists may be subject to various kinds of repression... I will contact our consul... to establish the facts and contact with the militia or institution that made the detention," the deputy minister said.
On Tuesday evening, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Poland would raise the matter during a European Council meeting on Thursday.
"We do not agree to Poles being treated in such a way, to this type of hostage-taking, as you can say about this type of action, which the Belarusian authorities carry out on a larger scale," Morawiecki said. "This action is absolutely inconsistent with any international standards."
Seated in Grodno, a city with a large Polish population, the ZPB is the biggest Polish diaspora organisation in Belarus. In 2005, the union was outlawed by the Belarusian authorities but has continued its activities despite the ban.
Przydacz also announced on Wednesday that Poland, along with 18 other countries, was launching the 'International Accountability Platform for Belarus,' an independent NGO mechanism whose aim is to ensure accountability for serious human rights violations in Belarus.
Political demonstrations demanding the resignation of President Lukashenko and new, fair elections, have been taking place in Belarus since August 9.