Belarus maintains a journalist from a prestigious Polish newspaper’s 8-year prison term


Belarus has upheld an 8-year prison sentence for Andrei Pachobut, a journalist for Poland’s largest daily newspaper, Gazeta Wyborcza, for allegedly spying for its eastern neighbor.

Pachobut, a Belarusian national, was sentenced on June 22, 2018 for allegedly spying for Poland. He had been held in a Minsk prison for more than a year before the ruling.

Pachobut’s lawyer is planning to appeal the decision to the Belarusian Supreme Court. The European Union has expressed concerns over the case, calling on authorities to release Pachobut and all other political prisoners in the country.

The Belarusian government has been criticized for its record on press freedom. In 2017, Reporters Without Borders’ press freedom index ranked Belarus 153rd out of 180 countries, making it one of the worst performers in Europe. Journalists have been harassed and intimidated, and the government has imposed harsh restrictions on access to information.

The EU has strongly condemned the conviction of Pachobut and called for his immediate release. It has reinforced the need for Belarus to adhere to its international commitments on media freedom and to allow its citizens to exercise their right to freedom of expression.