Editors of Niva Weekly Still under Investigation in Poland
According to RFE/RL
In Belastok the investigation of the alleged financial violations by the editorial board of the weekly of Belarusians, Niva, is going on. The prosecutor’s office extends the list of the suspected Belarusian activists related to the edition of the newspaper but refuses to say what they are charged with.
In June 2003 Niva underwent a financial examination as a result of which there were fined some insignificant violations of the accountancy. The program board of Niva undertook to urgently correct them.
Usually such violations are punished with a small fine. However, the control body, Supreme Control Chamber of Poland, suddenly directed the case to the prosecutor’s office. The Niva editors were charged with untimely issue of the budget means.
According to the professor Eugeniusz Mironovicz, former head of the program board, it is connected with the irregular issue of the subsidies by the state.
-- Though the control showed that no money was missing, there started a campaign from which one could get the impression that there happened something that almost put in danger the economical security of the Polish state.
The police paid visits to each of the members of the program board of Niva and took their fingerprints. At first representatives of Bialystok Prosecutor’s Office stated that the editors of the weekly could be sentenced to eight years of jail. Then the office refused from it and doesn’t even want to explain what the charges are.
According to the prosecutor of one of the boroughs of Bialystok Bazhena Kishlo, the case has no political motivation. However, the chief editor of Niva Eugeniusz Wappa says that even minimal sentence to the editors of the newspaper, among whom there are representatives of eight Belarusian organizations of Poland will deprive them of state subsidies for the issue of the newspaper, the possibility to apply to the European Union for financing of Belarusian projects and run for seats in the Parliament:
-- A kick in Niva is a kick in all Belarusian organizations of Poland. I must say it distinctly, because as a result the juridical basis and the place for meeting disappear. You see, we receive telephone calls all the time, people also come to us. It is the center of Belarusian life, there’s no such a big center anywhere else in Poland.
Who will benefit from the liquidation of “Niva”? The member of the revision commission of the program board, professor Oleg Latyshonok says:
-- I’d like to find it out. I can’t understand for whom it was necessary to bring a criminal case against Niva and then against the whole Belarusian society.
Ales Dzikowicki, Warsaw