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Poland vows to take 'firm steps' as Belarus sentences journalist to five years in prison

03.08.2022 23:00
The Polish prime minister vowed to take "firm steps" after a court in Belarus on Wednesday sentenced a journalist with Poland’s state broadcaster TVP to five years in prison.
Iryna Slaunikava.
Iryna Slaunikava.Twitter/Permanent Representation of Poland to the EU

Iryna Slaunikava was handed the sentence by a regional court in the southeastern Belarusian city of Homel, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

The judge found her guilty of “creating an extremist formation,” according to the independent Belarusian TV network Belsat. 

Slaunikava, a Belarusian journalist who most recently worked as a correspondent for TVP, has been kept behind bars since her arrest on October 30, 2021.

The arrest and subsequent trial - held behind closed doors - is widely believed to have been politically motivated, the PAP news agency reported.  

Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki described the verdict as “an absolute scandal” and “a violation of all civilisational norms, human rights and journalistic standards.”

“This unacceptable sentence will be met with an immediate, firm response from Poland on the international stage,” Morawiecki said on Facebook.

"I have instructed the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to take decisive and firm steps," he added.

According to the Belarusian Association of Journalists, 29 journalists and media workers are currently held in Belarusian prisons. 

Viasna, a human rights group, has estimated that the regime of Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko is jailing at least 1,253 political prisoners, the PAP news agency reported.


Source: IAR, PAP, belsat.eu