Polish school director detained in Belarus

Anna Paniszewa, the director of the Polish School in the Belarusian city of Brest, on the Polish border, was detained on Friday after returning to Belarus from Poland.

A video was shown on Belarusian state TV of Paniszewa in handcuffs after initial reports of her detention were aired by the tut.by portal, which wrote that the move may have been related to criminal proceedings concerning "heroization of war criminals."

Paniszewa was returning to Belarus from Poland by coach and was supposed to be in Brest at 01.20.

On Thursday, the Belarusian foreign ministry announced the detention of a 43-year-old co-founder of the Polish School organisation in connection with criminal proceedings over "heroization of war criminals."

The proceeding's initiation was announced on Wednesday by the press office of the Brest province prosecutor, reportedly in connection with an event organised on premises leased by the Forum of Polish Local Initiatives and the Polish School.

According to the prosecutor, on February 28 an "illegal mass event" was organised there with the participation of children and young people.

"Young people dressed in the uniform of the Polish scouting organisation sang songs and recited verses glorifying war criminals, including Romuald Rajs, known by the pseudonym 'Bury'," the prosecutor said.

Bury was one of the Cursed Soldiers, underground partisan units who fought the communist regime after World War II. Some of them have been accused by Belarus of killing Belarusian citizens.

On Thursday, Paniszewa described the prosecutor's allegations as "invented" on social media and said the matter was aimed at liquidating the Polish School.

The school director's detention follows a series of tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions between Minsk and Warsaw.