Updated at 22:06,23-05-2018

Convicted journalist Andrzej Poczobut receives Polish award


Journalist Andrzej Poczobut's wife traveled to Warsaw on Thursday to collect the Andrzej Wojciechowski Prize bestowed on the Hrodna-based correspondent of the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza.

Instituted by Radio ZET, the award honors reporters and its winners are selected by the editors of Poland's leading newspapers, radio stations and TV channels.

As Mr. Poczobut told BelaPAN, he received the award in recognition of his articles about Belarus' 2010 presidential election. The award comes with a money prize of 50,000 zlotys, or slightly more than $15,000.

The 38-year-old journalist, who is serving a suspended prison sentence, could not attend the award ceremony as he is banned from leaving Belarus. "The award was collected by my wife who traveled to Poland for this purpose. They called me from Poland and I talked over the phone with those who awarded me the prize," he said.

"It's great when your work is appreciated not just by people connected with journalism but by those whose articles you read, from whom you learned and thanks to whom you became a journalist," Mr. Poczobut added.

He announced that he would pay income tax on the money prize.

On July 5, a district judge in Hrodna sentenced Mr. Poczobut to a suspended three-year prison term with two years' probation, finding him guilty of defaming the head of state.

He was accused of insulting and defaming Alyaksandr Lukashenka in his articles.

As Mr. Poczobut told reporters, defamation was largely found in the fact that he had called Mr. Lukashenka a dictator.