Europe is with you Andrzej, says EP president
President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek (pictured) has called for the immediate release from prison of journalist Andrzej Poczobut, jailed by Belarusian authorities in Minsk.
Left - Jerzy Buzek; below right, Andrzej Poczobut: photos - PAPPresident of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek has called for the immediate release from prison of journalist Andrzej Poczobut, in jail in Minsk for taking part a demonstration against what are widely regarded as rigged presidential elections in Belarus.
"I demand that the authorities in Minsk release Andrzej Poczobut from custody immediately. The 15-day detention order […] is a sign of the continued pressure on citizens who have the courage to think differently and talk about it openly," Jerzy Buzek told a session of the European Parliament yesterday.
“Europe is with you, Andrzej,” Buzek said.
Poczobut, a correspondent for the Gazeta Wyborcza daily and leading activist with the Union of Poles in Belarus was sentenced to 15 days imprisonment for taking part in an “unsanctioned protest” following December election won by President Alexander Lukashenko.
The US, EU and others have not recognised the result.
Poczobut also says he was beaten by Belarusian security forces (KGB) while being interrogated.
The European Union strongly condemns the harassment of members of the Union of Poles in Belarus and other civil society organizations and national minorities, Buzek said.
Poland’s president, Bronislaw Komorowski, is still consulting with the Foreign Ministry and the Union of Poles in Belarus
before deciding on the official response to Pozcobut’s imprisonment.
Eastern European policeman?
Meanwhile, a documentary broadcast on Belarusian state TV last night accused Poland of setting itself up as the "Gendarme of Eastern Europe.".
In another sign of worsening relations between the two neighbours, the Open Forum programme asserted that Poland was trying to destabilise Belarus.
"Open support of some presidential candidates, a [black] list of prohibited entry into the EU by Belarusian officials, a conference [in Warsaw] by the Belarusian opposition, donors, attacks against Belarusian by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Belarusian authorities," were just some of the charges laid against Poland in the programme. (pg)