On Wednesday in Belarus, Polish-Belarusian journalist Andrzej Pachobut, who critically described the regime of President Alexander Lukashenko, was sentenced to eight years in prison, the human rights organization “Viasna” reported.

“Judge Dmitriy Bubenchyk found Pachobut guilty and sentenced him to eight years in a maximum-security prison,” the “Viasny” website reports. He was found guilty of participating in “actions that harm national security” and “inciting enmity.”

The 49-year-old man was sentenced in the city of Grodno, on the border with Poland, where he was located.

Poland, Belarus’ EU neighbor, condemned the case and called for his release.

Pachobut is a correspondent of the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza and an active member of the Polish diaspora in Belarus.

“I have no illusions, I will take the sentence calmly and go to prison with a clear conscience,” he said in a letter published by his newspaper on the eve of the verdict.

Pachobut refused to leave Belarus after Lukashenko’s suppression of mass protests against his rule in the summer of 2020 and his arrest in March 2021.

As “Viasna” reports, after his arrest, Pachobut refused to sign a petition for clemency to Lukashenka.

The well-known human rights organization “Viasna” included Pachobut in the list of 1,449 political prisoners of Belarus.

Lukashenko has been in power in Belarus since 1994.

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