"In a sense, Andrzej Poczobut embodies the most important values of modern Europe. That's why we should now do everything we can to deliver him from the clutches of his cruel oppressors, worthy heirs of Stalin and Hitler" - Adam Michnik, editor-in-chief of Gazeta Wyborcza, about the trial of Andrzej Poczobut.
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This verdict is as cruel as it is shameful. It brings to mind the trial of Carl von Ossietzky in the 1930s German Reich, or the kind of sentences passed in Stalin's Russia, trials behind closed doors, trials by kangaroo courts dating back to the worst of times.

It is also a verdict against freedom of expression, as Andrzej Poczobut happens to be the author of an excellent book about Lukashenko.

This verdict is as much Lukashenko's personal revenge on Andrzej as it is the best review of Andrzej's book.

Andrzej is a heroic, brave man. This is, one might say, a free citizen of a free Belarus, as well as the pride and glory of former Polish citizens. In a sense, he is the embodiment of the most important values of modern Europe.

That's why all of Europe today should stand in solidarity with Andrzej Poczobut and do everything to deliver him from the clutches of those cruel oppressors, worthy heirs of Stalin and Hitler.

There is something paradoxical about Russia banning a memorial located not far from where the center of Andrei Sakharov used to be. His monuments still stand in more than one Russian city.

I am certain that one day in Grodno there will also be a monument to Andrzej Poczobut. But before that, he will still get out of this prison, because that vacant place is already reserved for Alexander Lukashenko.

Andrzej, stay strong!


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 Russian invasion in Ukraine. Our journalists are on the front lines in 32 Polish cities, reporting from the streets, hospitals, and courtrooms about issues that move public opinion.

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