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Polish Foreign Ministry Admits Activist's Banking Info Handed To Belarus

Ales Byalyatski
Ales Byalyatski
Poland's Foreign Ministry says that authorities in Belarus did receive banking information about activist Ales Byalyatski from the Polish Prosecutor-General's Office.

Marcin Bosacki, the Polish Foreign Ministry's press spokesman, told RFE/RL's Belarus Service that "it was not Poland, but the prosecutor-general" who gave the banking information to Belarus.

Bosacki made clear that the prosecutor did so despite having been advised not to cooperate with Belarusian authorities concerning the investigation of Byalyatski, the head of the Belarusian Vyasna rights organization.

"I'd like to add that shortly after December 19 and the beginning of the extraordinarily severe wave of repression in Belarus," Bosacki said, "the [Polish] Ministry of Foreign Affairs briefed all Polish government organs, as well as the Prosecutor-General's Office, specifically to prevent such things from happening. We warned that the Belarusian regime might make such efforts.

"Unfortunately, these warnings had no affect on one institution, meaning the Prosecutor-General's Office. Why not? That's a question for the prosecutor-general."

Byalyatski was arrested on tax-evasion charges after Lithuania provided banking information about the rights activist to Belarusian authorities.

Lithuanian Ambassador to Belarus Edminas Bagdonas wrote to Byalyatski's wife, Natalia Pinchuk, on August 10 and apologized for the lapse that led to her husband's arrest.

Polish officials at first denied Belarus had obtained any information on Byalyatski from Poland.