KGB puts political prisoner Andrei Pachobut on “terrorist list”

06.10.2022 Source: Служба маніторынгу Беларускай асацыяцыі журналістаў

The State Security Committee of Belarus (KGB) has updated the list of organizations and individuals involved in terrorist activities. At present, there are 922 people on the list, including Andrei Pachobut, a journalist and leader of the Union of Poles in Belarus. He was added to the list on 4 October.

The well-known journalist has been behind bars for a year and a half and his trial is expected to start soon. Andrei Pachobut is accused of encouraging actions aimed at harming the national security of the Republic of Belarus (Art. 361) and inciting ethnic enmity (Art. 130 of the Criminal Code). He might be charged with more crimes, though. The fact that his name appears on the list of those involved in “terrorist activities” causes concern among his relatives and associates.

It is possible that in this way the regime is taking revenge on the prisoner for “defiance” – those arrested in the so-called “Polish case” were offered release in exchange for repentance. Still, Andrei Pachobut refused the deal point black.

The journalist’s family are concerned that he has recently lost a lot of weight, as he has serious stomach problems and hardly eats anything.

Andrei Pachobut was detained on 25 March 2021 in Hrodna and his home was searched. He was then taken to Minsk for interrogation. As a result, the journalist was put in custody and charged with inciting ethnic hatred and rehabilitating Nazism.

The indictment states that Andrei Pachobut called the Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939 “aggression” in the media. He was also charged with statements in defense of the Polish minority in Belarus, articles in the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza about the Belarusian protests in 2020, and a text in Magazyn Polski dedicated to Anatol Radzivonik, one of the commanders of the Polish anti-party underground in Hrodna.

Soon after his detention, the authorities started pressuring the political prisoner to write a pardon petition to Lukashenka, saying that the majority of “separatists in the Polish case” had already done so and were now in Poland or under house arrest. Andrei Pachobut refused.

In turn, the Polish authorities claim that Warsaw will never accept the treatment of Polish minority representatives as “hostages” in Belarus.