Gazeta Wyborcza’s journalist Andrzej Poczobut receives threats
Andrzej Poczobut, a famous journalist, activist of the Union of Poles in Belarus, unrecognized by the Belarusian authorities, received a telephone call from an unknown man on January20.
As Radio Racyja reports, the man threatened Andrzej Poczobut and his family if he didn’t stop his public activity and leave the Polish House in Ivyanets.
“The man called at about 6 in the evening. He asked rather rudely how I had settled in Ivyanets. I was very emotional, I said the KGB couldn’t scare me. I said I would go to a prosecutor, because in my opinion, the threats were related to my public activity. The reasons are the events in Ivyanets,” the journalist said.
After a criminal case against head of the Polish House in Ivyanets (the Minsk region) Tereza Sobal had been instigated, the authorities called the Ivyaents Union of Poles branch for a meeting and announced elections of a new head of the Polish House.
Teraza Sobal, an activist of the unrecognized by the authorities Union of Poles, is accused of committing a crime allegedly taken place in 2004, when the Polish House in Ivyanets received material aid from head of the Union of Poles Tadeusz Kruczkowski in 2004. Though the limitation period had expired long ago, the criminal case against Tereza Sobal was instigated.
The Union of Poles in Belarus regards the actions by the authorities as a provocation and are going to defend the Polish House in Ivyanets. Some activists locked themselves in the house waiting for an attack.
Andrzej Poczobut says the Poles in Ivyantes have never been engaged in political activity. he explains the activities by the authoriires aimed at intimidation of activists by a campaign against the Polish minority in Belarus.
“The authorities and the pro-governmental Union of Poles want to own the Polish House in Ivyanets,” Poczobut thinks.
We remind that the Union of Poles in Belarus was split by Belarusian authorities a few years ago. The part of the organisation controlled by the authorities is officially recognized. The UPB headed by Andzelika Borys and supported by the government of Poland is repressed in Belarus.
Belarusian authorities have difficult relations with official Warsaw because of the Union of Poles. In the beginning of the Belarusian-Polish conflict in 2005 Alyaksandr Lukashenka charged Poland with “brainwashing” Belarusian Poles through this Union.
“Belarusian Poles do not want to live in Poland. We won’t allow making our citizens someone’s marionettes,” Lukashenka said then. In 2005 the conflict was accompanied by mutual banishing of diplomats.
At the same time, Polish authorities many times stated that one of the conditions of normalization of Belarusian-Polish relations is recognition by Belarusian government of the Union of Poles headed by A. Borys.