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'Gazeta Wyborcza' Journalist 'Barred From Leaving Belarus'

Andrzej Poczobut was found guilty in July of defaming Lukashenka

Andrzej Poczobut was found guilty in July of defaming Lukashenka

HRODNA -- A journalist for a top Polish daily convicted in Belarus of defaming President Alyaksandr Lukashenka says he has been barred from leaving the country, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.
Andrzej Poczobut, a Polish-Belarusian journalist who writes for "Gazeta Wyborcza," was found guilty in July of defaming Lukashenka and given a three-year prison term, suspended for two years.
Poczobut wrote in his blog that he was recently summoned to local police in Homel, where he was instructed that as a convict he has no right to travel abroad.
"That [ban on foreign travel] is not mentioned either in my verdict or in the [Belarusian] Criminal Code," Poczobut wrote in his blog.

Poczobut also said he has been ordered to report to the police office three times a month and not to change his permanent address without police permission.
Poczobut said police warned him that in the event he violates those requirements three times, he will be sent to jail immediately.
Last week Poczobut lost an appeal against his conviction. He told journalists on September 20 he plans to appeal again at successive instances up to and including the UN.
Poczobut is a Belarusian citizen, an ethnic Pole, and a leading member of the embattled Union of Poles in Belarus (ZPB), a cultural organization that has been trying unsuccessfully for several years to regain official registration in Belarus.
Poczobut's arrest in April sparked anger in Poland, which took over the European Union's rotating presidency on July 1. Prime Minister Donald Tusk said in June that Poland would use all the EU levers at its disposal to ensure Belarus respects human rights.

Read more in Belarusian here