Poczobut banned from speaking in his native language

Administration of Hrodna detention center, where Andrzej Poczobut is held, decided that coversation betweent the prisoner and his father during a visiting hours has to be conducted in one of the official languages. Because they spoke Polish, the visit which was supposed to last 2 hours, was cut short after 20 minutes.

– I came today to the prison to give a package for my son and I aksed for a meeting with him. The visiting was permitted, but they informed me that I cannot speak Polish with my son, we were supposed to communicate only in the official languages. Andrzej told me that this is against the law and that we can speak Polish with each other. The security guards took 20 minutes to decide how to react, and finally Andrzej was taken away – Stanislaw Poczobut said in a conversation with „Nasha Niva“ reporter.

He also added that at home they almost always speak Polish, only with Andrzej’s wife, Oksana they speak Belarusian. According to the journalit’s father, Andrzej is in a good condition. – They won’t break him – he said. – For us, Poles, it is extremely important that my son acts honorably, after the shameful behaviour of our candidate [Jaroslaw Romanczuk] in [presidential] elections. This trial will be a farse and that’s why it will be held behind the closed doors. – commented Stanislaw Poczobut.

Andrzej Poczobut, who is a journalist of Gazeta Wyborcza and an activist of the Union of Poles in Belarus, is accused of „offending president“ and „slander of president“, which based on Belarusian Criminal Code can be punished with two to four years in prison. The trial will start on June 14th. Vital Laitsko will be the judge.

Valatsin Stefanovich stressed that this is the first closed-door court trial after the December 19th, however Mr. Poczobut is facing different charges than all other dissidents tried in a recent crack-down, who were charged with either organizing or participating in mass social unrest. – The law on withholding the content of a court proceedings is meant to be used in controversial cases, such as rape or in a context of the classified state information. Belarusian law leaves an option of holding trial behind closed doors in „exceptional cases“, and that’s why many political processes where kept secrete – Mr. Stefanovich told Belsat.

Michal Janczuk (TV Belsat)


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