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Poland won’t extradite Belarusian dissident, court says

26.01.2022 20:00
A Warsaw court on Wednesday ruled that it was “legally impermissible” for Poland to extradite Belarusian opposition activist Stsiapan Putsila to Minsk.
Stsiapan Putsila (left).
Stsiapan Putsila (left).PAP/Radek Pietruszka

The Belarusian regime had applied to Poland for the extradition of Putsila and several other dissidents in November 2020, Polish state news agency PAP reported. 

The activists face about a dozen charges in their home country, such as conspiring to take power, inciting hatred and organising mass riots, according to public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency. 

Polish prosecutors asked the Warsaw district court to declare Putsila’s extradition "legally impermissible." 

Deciding the case on Wednesday, the court sided with the prosecutors. It said the extradition request could not be granted “for obvious reasons.”

Judge Dariusz Łubowski stated that the justice system in Belarus “doesn’t exist at all” and that "the state itself isn’t actually a state,” the PAP news agency reported.

He added that, according to all the member states of the European Union, Belarus "currently doesn’t have lawful authorities." 

“This country demands the extradition of a completely innocent citizen just because he has different views than the psychopathic dictator--a dictator who isn’t recognised by any civilised state,” the court was also quoted as saying. 

Judge Łubowski told those in the courtroom that “human rights abuses in Belarus are not only frequent and common, but also total and systemic."

He added: "The whole society is being persecuted and intimidated.”

The court found its decision to reject the extradition request to be in line with the standards of democratic countries, the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Polish constitution, the PAP news agency reported

Putsila, who has received international protection and asylum in Poland, is the founder of Nexta, a popular channel on the Telegram instant messaging service. Minsk regards the channel as “extremist.”

Nexta became widely known in May last year when the Belarusian regime arrested the channel's co-founder Roman Protasevich. He had been travelling on board a flight heading from Athens to Vilnius in Lithuania when the plane was suddenly diverted to Minsk after an alleged bomb alert. 

The Belarusian regime has publicly vowed to find and punish Putsila wherever he might be, the IAR news agency reported.


Source: IAR, PAP