Trial of Polish activist in Belarus continues

2023-01-27 13:18 update: 2023-02-01, 19:18
Photo PAP/Artur Reszko
Photo PAP/Artur Reszko
The trial in Belarus of Polish minority activist and journalist Andrzej Poczobut is continuing, though the hearing has been moved from the circuit court to a local district court, PAP has learned.

The trial, in which Poczobut is charged with "instigating hatred on religious and national grounds and rehabilitating Nazism," began on January 16 in Grodno (western Belarus).

Poczobut, a well-known journalist in Belarus and a long-time correspondent for Poland's Gazeta Wyborcza daily, is also an activist for the Union of Poles in Belarus (ZPB), a Polish minority organisation that has been delegalised by the Belarusian authorities.

Poczobut was arrested on March 25, 2021 and has since been incarcerated in a Belarusian prison.

"On Thursday the trial took place in the Akciabrski (southern Belarus - PAP) district court," PAP was told by phone at the Grodno circuit court. The change of location was due to limited space in the circuit court building.

No further information about the trial has been made available as it is being held in secret, through a decision of the presiding judge. As a result, neither media nor friends and family of the accused are allowed in the court and the defence lawyer is not permitted to make public statements. Hearings were also held on January 25 and 26. Further hearings will be held according to the judge's decisions but will probably occur daily.

Poczobut's trial was postponed twice, originally having been scheduled for November 28 and later January 9. 

Poland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has repeatedly called for Poczobut's release on the grounds that he is innocent and his trial is politically motivated. (PAP)