/ Protect Andrei Poczobut (a journalist) against prosecution by the Belarusian dictatorship
PolishForums.com was asked to post this important announcement in the name of The Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ). Here it is:
My name is Uladzimir Hutkouski (Vladimir Gutkovskiy).
As a member of Belarusian Association of Journalists and American PEN I plea you to protect our colleague Andrei Poczobut against prosecution by the Belarusian dictatorship.
Vladimir Gutkovskiy, bigopenworldmagazine@yahoo
The Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) calls on сivil and public association o the USA, international organizations, writers and human rights organizations to expre3ss solidariti with the Belarusian journalist Andrei Poczobut who is being charged with libel against the president Alexaqnder Lukashenka.
According to independent express assessment, Poczobut's aricles under consideration do not contain libel, but only criticize the policy of the Belarusian authorities.
On October 21, 2012 the criminal case against the Hrodna-based journalist Andrei Poczobut migtht be sent to court.
The correspondent of the Polish nevspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, BAJ member Andrei Poczobut is being charged with violation under article 367, part 2 of the Criminal Code of Belarus "Libel against the President of the Republic of Belarus". The case was startede by the Investigative Committee of Hrodna region in June 2012, based on a number of the journalist's publications online.
On June 21 the journalist's apartment was searched and his professional equipment was confiscated. The journalist spend a week in Hrodna detention center, up till June 30, and then was set free under recognizance not to leave the country.
The Belarusian Criminal Code provides for freedom restriction/imprisonment up to five years for such violation.
This term might be added up to the previous conviction that Andrei Poczobut got on July 5, 2011: the lournalist was sentenced to three years in prison, with two years' deferment under article 367, part 1 (libel against the president). The law stipulates that the journalist will surely serve the sentence if he breaks the law within the two years.
The public association "Belarusian Association of Journalists" empowers its member, who is also member of the American PEN-center, Uladzimir Hutkouski to report this information to interested people and organizations in the USA, international structures.
We ask you to express your attitude to the criminal prosecution of the journalist and demand from official Minsk to dismiss the criminal charges against the journalist Andrei Poczobut.
We will be extremely grateful for your solidarity with our colleague and with all people of Belarus whose freedom of expression is being more and more restricted by the authorities.
chair of BAJ Zhanna Litvina