The Committee to Protect Journalists calls to stop the prosecution of Andrzej Poczobut

The human rights organization "Committee to Protect Journalists" (USA) demands an end to the prosecution of the Grodno correspondent for the Polish "Gazeta Wyborcza" Andrzej Poczobut. As noted in the statement of the organization, CPJ also urges authorities to immediately release Pochobut.

"It is outrageous that a journalist in Europe in the 21 th century tried behind closed doors only for what he wrote articles critical of the elected leader. With Andrei Poczobut should remove all these politically motivated charges and release" — said the deputy director of CPJ Robert Mahoney.

June 14 in the Leninsky district court of Grodno began closed trial of journalist Andrzej Poczobut. He is charged under two articles of the Criminal Code of Belarus under part 1 of article 368 (insulting the President of Belarus) and Part 1 of Article 367 of the Criminal Code (defamation of the president). The maximum penalty for the first article — four years in prison on the second — two years.

Criminal case against Pochobut was filed on March 28. The decision of the prosecutor's office said: "Pochobut AS <...> in the 2010-2011 period. disposal in the World Wide Web sites, and it created a text published under the heading "Time to tighten the screws", "Lukashenko has found another target," "Belarus elections with no choice, "" Talk to me dad "," So of Lukashenka "," Lukashenko: Yes, I rigged the elections, "" Freedom in Belarusian. repented that out? "" The pre-election populism in Belarusian, "" It scares Belarus KGB "and a text without a title that begins with the words" Thank you to everyone … "and ending with" … can use "in whom there is evidence of publicly insulting the president Republic of Belarus . "

Andrei Poczobut in turn, states that did not allow insults Alexander Lukashenko. "Yes, in these publications is a criticism of Lukashenko. But my publishing insults are not placed — only criticism. Maybe a tough critic, but I did not allow insults" — then said the reporter, commenting BelaPAN claims prosecutors.

Pochobut was arrested on April 6 for violation of restriction: he was going to get out of Grodno to Minsk to participate in a video conference with members of the European Parliament. At first, he was detained for three days, then the measure of restraint changed with on his own recognizance on the detention.

Liberation Pochobut demanded the authorities of the EU and Belarus official Warsaw. The fate of the Grodno journalist has also been discussed in the negotiations of the Polish authorities with the U.S. President during the recent visit of Barack Obama in Warsaw.

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