The Investigation Committee founded a group that ought to check into the Hrodna journalist’s articles and expressions.
On July 11, 2012 Andrzej Poczobut was summoned to Hrodna region KGB department. He was told that the group for investigating his case had been founded. Moreover, experts examined “Skazany na polskość”, a documentary based on Poczobut’s story and broadcast by Belsat TV and Telewisja Polska (TVP3), the journalist said. “According to one of them, there are not any crime components in the film. In the view of another expert, the film contains both the slander of the President and the discreditation of the Republic of Belarus,” Andrzej Poczobut told Belsat TV.
The journalist stated that his right of defense was broken. ”The film had been examined before the criminal case against me was initiated. Thus, I was not aware of carrying out the examination, I was not able to petition for my experts’participating, set extra questions, etc. As I still decline to give evidence, our meeting was short,” Poczobut said.
On June 21, the journalist was arrested; his Hrodna apartment was searched, a computer and documents were confiscated. The criminal case under Article 367-2 of the Criminal Code (recidivous slander of the President) was opened against him by Hrodna Investigation Committee. In his articles Andrzej Poczobut offered an opinion that Aliaksandr Lukashenka influenced on death sentencing to Dzmitry Kanavalau and Uladzislau Kavaliou who were accused of committing terroristic attack in Minsk metro on April 11, 2011.
Poczobut’s detention evoked a wide response: the Polish government, EU and UN bodies called Belarus to immediately release him. Amnesty International recognised Poczobut a prisoner of conscience.
On June 30 the journalist was released on his own recognisance.
It is not the first time that the journalist has been accused of insulting Aliaksandr Lukashenka: last year he stood trial started which was held behind the closed doors. Having spent three months in jail Poczobut was given a suspended sentence of three years of imprisonment. At the moment he faces up to five years.