Poland to sanction Minsk officials over Poczobut ruling

In February 2023, Poczobut was sentenced to eight years in prison. Artur Reszko/PAP

Poland will put sanctions on hundreds of “representatives of the Belarusian regime” after the Belarusian Supreme Court upheld an eight-year prison sentence on Andrzej Poczobut, a journalist and Polish minority leader, the Polish interior minister announced on Friday.

In its ruling the court rejected Poczobut's appeal against the sentence, passed in February for "intentional actions aimed at inciting hostility and hatred on national, religious and social grounds."

Responding to the ruling on Twitter, Mariusz Kamiński wrote: "On Monday I shall announce the inclusion of several hundred representatives of the Lukashenko regime on the sanction list in connection with the upholding of the draconian sentence on Andrzej Poczobut."

Poczobut, 49, a popular journalist in his country and a long-time correspondent for Poland's Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper, was also active in the Union of Poles in Belarus (ZPB), a Polish minority organisation that has been de-legalised by the Belarusian authorities.

Internationally recognised as a political prisoner, other countries have joined Poland in calling for his release.