Polish-Belarusian border crossing in Bobrowniki to remain closed, says minister
The Polish interior minister has said that the Polish-Belarusian border crossing in Bobrowniki, north-eastern Poland, will remain closed as long as Andrzej Poczobut, a Belarusian-Polish journalist and minority activist, remains in prison.
Poland closed the Bobrowniki border crossing on February 10, two days after Poczobut had been found guilty and sentenced by a court in the Belarusian town of Grodno to eight years in prison.
Poczobut, an active member of the Union of Poles in Belarus (ZPB), a Polish minority organisation that had been delegalised by the Belarusian authorities, had been arrested in March 2021 on charges of "instigating hatred against religious and national groups, and rehabilitating Nazism."
The Bobrowniki border crossing will remain closed as long as Andrzej Poczobut is imprisoned," Mariusz Kamiński said.
"The Belarusian side is fully aware of this fact. If Andrzej Poczobut is released tomorrow, the border crossing in Bobrowniki will be opened the day after tomorrow," he added.
According to Kamiński, Poland would take further steps if repressions in Belarus continued. "Poland will take a tough line with the (Belarusian - PAP) regime if there are further steps against the Polish state, against Polish citizens and against our compatriots who are Belarusian citizens," he said.
The Bobrowniki crossing is one of the major transit points between the two countries and was a hotspot during the 2021 migration crisis when thousands of people tried to get into Poland from Belarus.
Following a resolution of the Sejm, the lower house of Polish parliament, which condemned the conviction and jailing by Andrzej Poczobut, Kamiński had decided to include more people connected with the regime of Alexander Lukashenko, the Belarusian president, to a sanctions list.
The sanctions list includes names of people who support both Russia's war on Ukraine and the violation of human rights in Russia and Belarus. It was first published last April.