Health worsens of minority Polish leader in Belarus prison

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — An official in Poland said Wednesday that the health of a Polish minority leader being held in a Belarus prison has deteriorated and that authorities are not allowing her to leave for Poland.

Andzelika Borys, 47, is the head of a Polish minority organization in Belarus that cultivates Polish culture and tradition. It is critical of authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko and is not recognized by the authorities there.

Borys and four other members of the Union of Poles in Belarus were imprisoned in March in a crackdown on ethnic Poles amid rising tensions with Poland, which backs sanctions against Lukashenko’s regime.

The official, Agnieszka Romaszewska-Guzy, the head of Polish state-funded Belsat TV which broadcasts independent news into Belarus, said Wednesday that Borys’ health has worsened.

“Worrying news … especially regarding Borys’ health which visibly worsened in prison,” Romaszewska-Guzy said on Twitter.

She also tweeted that Borys’ symptoms from her previous health condition had worsened, and that she had developed serious dental problems.

Romaszewska-Guzy added that according to her information, Borys has agreed to leave for Poland, but the authorities “have delayed that.”

Three other minority women activists arrested this year have been released and brought to Poland in May, as a result of Poland’s diplomatic efforts. They described conditions in the prison as harsh.

Journalist and Polish minority activist Andrzej Poczobut also remains imprisoned.

Human rights groups consider the inmates as political prisoners. The European Union’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, and Poland, had appealed for their release.

Poland, which decades ago was in the orbit of Moscow’s communist system, is now an EU member and a supporter of the democratic opposition to Lukashenko in neighboring Belarus. Along with Lithuania, it has become a center of refuge for Belarusian activists and students in exile.

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