Komorowski will react to journalist's Belarus jail sentence

Poland's President Bronislaw Komorowski is expected to react within the next few days to the detention of journalist Andrzej Poczobut in Minsk.

"The president is consulting with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Union of Poles in Belarus in order to agree on an optimal response," read a statement on the Chancellery of the President's website. "Talks are planned for the next few days, and information about their outcome will be immediately communicated to the public."

The journalist was sentenced to 15 days' detention on February 11 by the Oktyabrsky District Court in Minsk on charges of "participation in the unsanctioned protest rally" that followed the December 19 presidential elections. Mr Poczobut says he covered the protests for Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza.

Mr Poczobut is also the president of the Supreme Council of the Union of Poles in Belarus (UBP), an organization which represents the Polish minority in Belarus, estimated at around 400,000.

The UPB has officially appealed to Mr Komorowski to react to the sentence, as well as to the harassment and repression of their members by Belarusian authorities.

"Harassment and imprisonment of the President of the Supreme Council and other members of the organization is the unmistakable attack on the Union of Poles," the appeal read.

In January, Mr Poczobut had been detained by agents of the Belarusian security service. He was allegedly beaten, and had his apartment raided before receiving a fine of 1.75 million Belarusian rubles (about ?500).

According to him, all these actions amount to revenge on the part of the Belarusian authorities for his and his organization's active position against the government's abuses.

The President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek has called today for Mr Poczobut's immediate release.

From Warsaw Business Journal by Alice Trudelle


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