Lower house calls for release of Belarusian political prisoners

On February 18, a Belarus court in Minsk sentenced two Belsat TV (owned by the Polish state) journalists, Katerina Andreyeva and Daria Chultsova, to two years in prison on charges of instigating protests and for filming a rally against the country's leader, Alexander Lukashenko. Stringer/PAP/EPA

Poland’s Sejm (lower house) has called on the Belarusian authorities to release Belsat TV journalists and other political prisoners.

On February 18, a Belarus court in Minsk sentenced two Belsat TV (owned by the Polish state) journalists, Katerina Andreyeva and Daria Chultsova, to two years in prison on charges of instigating protests and for filming a rally against the country's leader, Alexander Lukashenko.

"The use of the criminal procedure (…) in a case related to protests against the rigging of the presidential ballot in August 2020, proves the anti-democratic intentions of the authorities and the lack of independence of the Belarusian judicial system," the resolution stated.

The Sejm also said that the "media and journalists play a special role in every society, while access to reliable and independent information is the foundation of a democratic state of law."

According to the resolution, the verdict of the Belarusian court should be considered another example of violation of human rights by the Belarusian regime, as well as evidence of the ongoing attack on freedom of speech and freedom of assembly in the Republic of Belarus.

The lower house also called on the international community to "show solidarity with Belarusian civil society and to exert adequate pressure on the Belarusian authorities to release all political prisoners."