The Prosecutor General’s Office initiated a criminal case against Andżelika Borys, Chairperson of the Union of Poles in Belarus (UPB), and other members of the organisation.
They are charged under Art. 130-3 of the Criminal Code (‘deliberate actions aimed at inciting national and religious hatred according to national, religious, language, other social affiliation, as well as through justifying Nazism, which were committed by a group of persons’).
Since the year of 2018 and up to the present day, a number of ‘illegal mass events’ were organised and held ‘with the involvement of minors’ in Hrodna and other places in the region in order to ‘honour members of anti-Soviet gangs which acted during and after the Great Patriotic War, robbed and killed civilians in Belarus, destroyed their property’, Belarusian prosecutors state. According to them, the Polish activists’ recent aсtivity is relevant to ‘the rehabilitation of Nazism and justifying the genocide of the Belarusian people’.
On Thursday morning, homes of some members of the Union of Poles in Belarus were raided as part of the criminal case. Belarusian security officers made unexpected visits to Hrodna-based journalist and UPB member Andrzej Poczobut (he was later detained and taken to Minsk for interrogation); Maria Tiszkowska, the director of the UPB public school in Vaukavysk; Irena Biernacka, the head of the Lida branch of the Union.
The police also came to the Polish public school and the headquarters of the Union of Poles in Hrodna. The search of the office lasted eight hours, from 9 am to 5 pm.
“They was looking through everything: books, magazines. The computers were immediately confiscated. The content of the cameras was also checked; they did not seize them, but I do not know yet whether the memory cards are left,” UPB deputy chairperson Irena Walus told Belsat.
A day earlier, the Belarusian authorities sentenced Andżelika Borys, Chairperson of the Union of Poles in Belarus, to 15 days in jail. She was detained on March, 23; an administrative case was initiated against the woman over allegedly violating the rules of holding mass events (Article 24.23 of the Code of Administrative Offences). Later, it became known that Andżelika Borys was on trial behind the closed doors for her contribution to staging the Kazyuki fair which took place on March, 7 in the city of Hrodna.
“It is absolutely unacceptable that Poles are de facto being taken hostage by the Lukashenka regime,” Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki commented on the situation on Thursday and announced the Polish governmet’s taking action.
In early March, a diplomatic conflict broke out between Warsaw and Minsk over this year’s commemorating the so called Cursed Soldiers by a number of Polish organisations in Belarus.