Arrested Polish minority activist in Belarus needs medical care

Activist of the Union of Poles in Belarus (ZPB) and journalist Andrzej Poczobut, imprisoned by Belarusian authorities, is in need of medical assistance, according to reports by independent Belarusian media and internet portals, citing his wife Oksana Poczobut.

During his detention in the city of Zhodzina, located in the Minsk Region of Belarus, Andrzej Poczobut contracted COVID-19. According to his wife he also suffers from a heart disease that disturbs his heart rhythm and his condition is worsening.

Other inmates and people who were released from custody reported the wide-spread presence of COVID-19 in the facility and that individuals held captive are often not provided necessary medical assistance.

The administration of the prison allowed Andrzej Poczobut “as an exception” to lie on a prison bunk for two hours during the day. For the rest of the time, he has to stand or walk around a populated cell just like other detainees.

Andrzej Poczobut was arrested in March along with ZPB head Andżelika Borys and Polish minority activists Irena Biernacka, Maria Tiszkowska and Anna Paniszewa. The five activists were met with criminal proceedings in line with Belarus’ Penal Code Article 130 paragraph 3 speaking of “deliberate actions aimed at inciting race-, nation-, religion- or other socially-based hostility.”