The journalist and activist for the minority Polish community in Belarus will spend the fall and most of the winter in a secure housing unit.
This information was disclosed by Andrzej Poczobut in his letter. The punishment was given for refusing to work, which the journalist claims he could not do.
Initially, a prison paramedic declined to issue a medical certificate qualifying Andrzej for being transferred to a secure housing unit (SHU) due to a heart rhythm disorder and a blood pressure reading of 190/140 during the examination. However, the next day, a therapist came and signed the certificate.
It should also be noted that prior to this incident, Andrzej Poczobut had spent 30 days in a punishment cell of the Navapolatsk correction facility, where he was placed immediately after the transfer.
Along with other Union of Poles of Belarus activists, Andrzej Poczobut was taken into custody on 25 March 2021 under what is known as the “Polish case”.
For an article about the Soviet attack on Poland in September 1939, Andrzej Poczobut was accused of inciting national hatred. In the article, the journalist referred to the Soviet invasion of Poland as an act of aggression. The evidentiary materials in the case also contained the journalist’s defense of the Polish minority in Belarus, an article about the quashing of Belarusian protests in 2020, and a 2006 piece about one of the leaders of the anti-communist movement in the Hrodna region of Belarus.
The journalist was sentenced to 8 years of incarceration on 8 February 2023.
While in custody, the journalist was deprived of family visits, his letters were censored, and his correspondence with his son was blocked. Andrzej Poczobut endured constant pressure throughout his more than two-year incarceration. Despite being offered release in exchange for requesting a pardon and leaving Belarus, he repeatedly refused.