Polish minority group seeks punishment for Respublika newspaper

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The Union of Poles in Belarus is demanding to punish the editor-in-chief of the state-owned Respublika newspaper, Anatol Lemiashonak and Anton Andreenka, a staff writer for the newspaper.

On June 16 the union's board approved an open statement to the Belarus's Prosecutor General, Piotr Miklashevich. 29 members of the union signed the appeal.

The Polish minority said they felt dragraded by the June 15 article titled "New Cusaders", which disrepected the Roman Catholic Church and the late Pope Jan Paul II. The author accused the late Pope of collaboration with the Western intelligence agencies and of "devil's acts".

"Printing this in a national newspaper which is owned by the Council of Minister of Belarus is inadmissible. This act should be punished", the union spokesman Joseph Pozecki.

According to Pozecki, Jan Paul II was and remains a moral authority. Attempts to display his activists in the negative light causes indignation from believers, not only Catholics, Pozecki noted.

The Union of Poles hopes that prosecutors will open a criminal case against the newspaper on charges of insiting ethnic or relegious hostility.