Poland summons Belarusian envoy after journalist is jailed

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland summoned the Belarusian charge d'affaires on Wednesday, a foreign ministry spokesman said, after a journalist of Polish origin was sentenced to eight years in prison in what Warsaw says was a politically motivated verdict.

Andrzej Poczobut was sentenced for "instigating hatred against religious and national groups, and rehabilitating Nazism" after being arrested in March 2021, Polish state-run news agency PAP reported.

"The politically motivated show trial and today's verdict are a clear testimony to the anti-Polish actions of the Belarusian authorities," the Polish foreign ministry said in a statement. "We denounce the unjust sentence handed down by the court of an authoritarian state."

The Belarusian embassy in Warsaw could not immediately be reached for comment.

The already tense relations between Warsaw and Minsk have been further strained by Belarusian ally Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February last year.

In 2021, Poland and the European Union said Minsk had engineered a migrant crisis on its borders, an accusation Belarus denies.

More recently, Poland has condemned the vandalism of Polish graves in Belarus.

Thousands of people of Polish origin live in Belarus as the west of the country was Polish territory until the borders were redrawn after World War Two.

(Reporting by Alan Charlish and Pawel Florkiewicz, Editing by Kylie MacLellan)