Andrzej Poczobut Faces Prison For Libelling Alexander Lukashenko

On Friday June 22 the website Reporters Without Borders reported Andrzej Poczobut, a well-regarded journalist, was arrested at his home in Belarus and is in detention for “libelling” President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus.

Poczobut writes for several news media and is a reporter for the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza.

Poczobut spent three months in prison in 2011 for the same charge as he is being detained for now and with this new charge could face 5 years in prison.

Poczobut is charged with libel under article 367-2 of the criminal code, which carries a possible five-year jail term when it is a repeat offense and the target is the president according to Reporters Without Borders.

The arrest was apparently prompted by articles he wrote for two independent news websites, Charter97.org and Belaruspartizan.org, about the April 2011 Minsk metro bombing, for which two young men were executed after a sham trial.