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 Full text 
Thursday, 5 July 2012 - Strasbourg Revised edition

Freedom of expression in Belarus, in particular, the case of Andrzej Poczobut (debate)

  Marek Henryk Migalski, author. (PL) Mr President, Ms Schaake was right when she said that Andrzej Poczobut has not been acquitted, but was released only for the duration of the trial. This means that he may still face five to seven years in prison. We must remember this. Mr Repo was right when he said that there are still 13 opponents in prison, people who have had the courage to oppose the last dictatorship in Europe – we need to remember this. Why was Andrzej Poczobut imprisoned? Because he is Polish, an opposition figure, and a journalist. As if this were not enough, in addition, he is a brave Pole, a brave figure of the opposition, and a conscientious journalist. This was too much for Mr Lukashenko. Andrzej Poczobut’s fundamental error is that he does his duty and he does a good job of it. The only question is: are we doing a good job?

In this Chamber, there is always somebody, sometimes an entire group, who cannot sustain a consistent line of policy for a long time. Sometimes we use carrots, and sometimes a stick. Let us decide, at least for some time, whether to use one or the other, or both in the longer term. It is always the case that the European Union is responsible for what happens in Belarus – albeit in a small way – to the extent that it is unable to maintain a solid line in relation to the regime in Minsk. I urge both Parliament and the Commission to maintain a consistent policy.

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