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Belarusian Journalist Convicted Of Defaming President Is Warned

Polish-Belarusian journalist Andrzej Poczobut
Polish-Belarusian journalist Andrzej Poczobut
HRODNA -- A journalist for a top Polish daily convicted in Belarus of defaming President Alyaksandr Lukashenka says he has been warned for violating parole regulations, 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 on November 15 that he was officially warned by a parole officer in the western city of Hrodna, where he lives, that he had violated parole regulations.

Poczobut must report to the police station three times a month and may not change his permanent address without police permission.

Poczobut wrote in his blog that he was supposed to report to the parole officer on November 14, but forgot as he was busy working. When he went to the parole officer the next day, he received the warning.

According to the law, in the event he violates parole regulations three times and receives three warnings, he will be sent to jail.

An ethnic Pole, Poczobut is a Belarusian citizen and leading member of the embattled Union of Poles in Belarus, 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

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