Reporter charged with insulting Belarus president

AP News
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Posted: Mar 28, 2011 1:11 PM
Reporter charged with insulting Belarus president

A correspondent for one of Poland's major newspapers has been charged in Belarus with insulting the president, a crime that could bring a sentence of up to two years in prison.

The Belarusian prosecutor's office said Monday that the charge was filed based on 10 articles by Andrzej Poczobut. The articles appeared in the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza and on a Belarusian opposition website. The articles were critical of authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko, but the prosecutor's office declined to say what specific material is regarded as criminal.

Poczobut is the Polish newspaper's correspondent in the city of Grodno, near the border with Poland.

Lukashenko, in power since 1994, suppresses opposition and pressures independent news media.