Polish activist released from Belarusian prison

Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz said that Borys (pictured in 2019) was feeling quite well and that she needed rest and convalescence at the moment. Tomasz Gzell/PAP

Andżelika Borys, the leader of the Union of Poles in Belarus (ZPB), has been released from a Belarusian prison, the spokesman for the Polish foreign ministry told PAP on Friday.

Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz said that Borys was feeling quite well and that she needed rest and convalescence at the moment.

He added that Borys was still in Belarus and that the foreign ministry was in contact with her.

Asked about the situation of Andrzej Poczobut, another member of the ZPB held in Belarusian prison, Przydacz said that Polish diplomacy is also seeking his release. "It is an absolute priority for us," he said.

Borys was detained in the western city of Grodno on March 23, 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. The prosecutor accused her of promoting Nazism, a crime which carries a penalty of up to 12 years in prison.

Two days later, Poczobut, an activist and journalist, was also detained along with fellow activists Irena Biernacka and Maria Tiszkowska of the ZPB's regional branches. Charges were also brought against another ZPB member from the western city of Brest, Anna Paniszewa.

The Polish foreign minister on Wednesday appealed to the Belarusian authorities for the unconditional release of Borys and Poczobut.