Catherine Ashton urged to stop harassment of journalists

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton expressed "deep concern" over the detention of Hrodna journalist Andrzej Poczobut and the charges against him. This is stated in the report released on April 10 press-service of Ashton's statement on her behalf.

As the head of European diplomacy, the repression of the Hrodna journalist — "yet another example of violations by the Belarusian authorities Human Rights, continued after the presidential election on December 19 2010. "

"The EU strongly condemns the persecution, arrests and intimidation of representatives of the Belarusian independent media, as well as violations of fundamental Human Rights, such as freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and the media, "- said in a statement, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

On behalf of the European Union, it called on the Belarusian authorities to "immediately stop the persecution of independent journalists for libel and other politically motivated charges."

Ashton also called on the Belarusian authorities to "cooperate fully with the OSCE on freedom of the media."

Hrodna journalist Andrzej Poczobut, a correspondent of the Polish "Gazeta Wyborcza" and an activist of the Union of Poles in Belarus, which supports Warsaw (not registered in the Belarusian Ministry of Justice), was arrested on April 6 for three days for the violation on his own recognizance. Pochobut going to Minsk to participate in a video conference with members of the European Parliament, to tell of the persecution by the Belarusian authorities.

April 8, it became known that the journalist will remain in custody until trial. In the case filed against him on two counts Criminal Code — 367 (defamation of the President Republic of Belarus) And 368 (insulting the president Republic of Belarus). The maximum penalty for the first article — four years in prison, the second — two years. The prosecution has charged Poczobut under Article 368 for publication in "Gazeta Wyborcza" on site "Belarusian partisan" and the page in the "Live Journal".

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