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June 21, 2021
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3 out of 5 leaders of the Polish minority imprisoned in Belarus safely arrived in Poland!

As a result of the efforts of the Polish President, Polish Prime Minister, and Poland’s diplomatic services with the significant support of many Polonia organizations around the world, non-governmental organizations, and private citizens, three out of five activists of the Polish minority recently imprisoned in Belarus – Irena Biernacka, Maria Tiszkowska, and Anna Paniszewa – safely reached Poland on May 25, 2021. Their rescue from the Belarussian state persecution apparatus was publically announced in Poland on June 2, 2021. The Polonia Institute welcomes the return to freedom of the three leaders of the Polish minority in Belarus and wishes them a speedy recovery in Poland.

Our organization, Polonia Institute, intervened on behalf of the imprisoned Polish minority leaders by sending a protest letter to the Embassy of the Republic of Belarus. See our letter here:

https://www.poloniainstitute.net/recommended/free-leaders-of-the-polish-minority-in-belarus/

Individual members of our organization sent letters and requested the release of Polish political prisoners in Belarus to many institutions and organizations. One of the leaders of our organization appealed, inter alia, to the European Commission for their intervention in this matter and received a reply from the head of the Eastern Partnership Division of the EU. Below we publish Dr. Zbigniew Wójcik’s letter and the response he received in this matter.

Dear Ms. Johansson,

Andżelika Borys, Irena Biernacka, Maria Tiszkowska, Andrzej Poczobut i Anna Paniszewa were arrested in Belorussia for “incitement to hatred” and “rehabilitation of Nazism” known in the West as the expressions of freedom of speech and the freedom of assembly. They face prison sentences of up to 12 years. The first four of them are imprisoned in Minsk (so-called Wołodarce), and Anna Paniszewa is kept in the Brest detention facility. Arresting them is the new evidence of Soviet-style dictatorial politics in Belorussia, fully dominated by Russia. These prisoners of Polish origin living in Belorussia are in real danger, as indicated by the accusations of “incitement to hatred” and “rehabilitation of Nazism”. I ask for your intervention for their immediate release.

Asked by US intelligence in 1986 / 87 for my opinion about inviting Belorussia to NATO, I testified that Belorussia is Russified so much that Byelorussians prefer the Russian language in their territory as opposed to their own – Byelorussian language (see my book: Zbigniew Wojcik, “Slaying the Soviet Beast, True Story about How the Cold War was Won. What next?” Liberty Hill, 2019). Officials in Belorussia read texts in the Russian language only, therefore, the names of the prisoners and the details of their imprisonment with the location of their prison are listed below in Cyrillic.

  1. Andżelika Borys:
    Борис Анжелика Чеславовна
    СИЗО № 1, 220030, г. Минск, ул. Володарского, 2
    Республика Беларусь
  2. Irena Biernacka:
    Бернацкая Ирена Адольфовна,
    СИЗО № 1, 220030, г. Минск, ул. Володарского, 2
    Республика Беларусь
  3. Maria Tiszkowska:
    Тишковская Мария Чеславовна,
    СИЗО № 1, 220030, г. Минск, ул. Володарского, 2
    Республика Беларусь
  4. Andrzej Poczobut:
    Почобут Андрей Станиславович
    СИЗО № 1, 220030, г. Минск, ул. Володарского, 2
    Республика Беларусь
  5. Anna Paniszewa:
    Панишева Анна Викторовна
    Следственный изолятор № 7, 224030, г.
    Брест, ул. Советских Пограничников 37,
    Республика Беларусь.

Sincerely yours,

Dr. Zbigniew Wojcik

1986 Refugee from the Soviet Bloc

 

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