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The long-time correspondent for "Gazeta Wyborcza" and leading member of the Union of Poles in Belarus, Andrzej Poczobut, had been arrested by Lukashenko’s regime on March 25, 2021. He was labeled an extremist because he refused to humble himself before Alexander Lukashenko and ask him for permission to leave Belarus for Poland without the right to ever come back. Up until now, Andrzej was kept in detention in the infamous Zhodino prison- a facility notorious for being particularly brutal and keeping inmates isolated from the outside world.

In an attempt to break his resistance, Andrzej has been infected with the coronavirus. For some time, he has been kept in one cell with death row inmates. Nevertheless, Belarusian authorities did not manage to crush his spirit.

According to members of his family, Andrzej has now been transferred to a detention facility in Minsk. Built during the tsarist era, the so-called Valadarka or Minsk Detention Center No. 1 on Valadarskaha Street is known for torturing political activists. Poczobut was briefly held there before being transferred to Zhodino,

Does his return to Minsk mean that the Belarusian regime will treat Andrzej more humanely? It is uncertain. Last month, Belarusian authorities released Angelika Borys, the head of the Union of Poles in Belarus. She is currently under house arrest.

Multiple international organizations and politicians from across the European Union demand that Andrzej Poczobut be released immediately.

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Every day, 400 journalists at Gazeta Wyborcza write verified, fact-checked stories about Polish politics and society, keeping a critical eye on the ruling camp’s persistent assault on democratic values and the rule of law; the growing cultural tension between religious fundamentalism and human rights; and the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic. Our journalists are on the front lines in 25 Polish cities, reporting from the streets, hospitals, and courtrooms about issues that move public opinion.

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