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Polish court fines detained RT France journalists $300 each

In case they fail to pay it within three days, the fine will be replaced by 12 days of arrest

WARSAW, November 16. /TASS/. A Polish court has bound two RT France correspondents, who were detained in Poland near the border with Belarus for working in the emergency situation zone without a permit, to pay a fine of 1,200 zloty, or about 300 US dollars, each, a spokesman for the district court in the city of Sokolka told TASS on Tuesday.

"Both men have been sentenced to a fine of 1,200 zloty each. In case they fail to pay it within three days, the fine will be replaced by 12 days of arrest, where one day of arrest is equivalent to 100 zloty," the spokesman said.

The initial sum of the fine was reduced by 200 zloty per day in custody after the detention. However, the court bound them to pay a tax of 120 zloty each and 120 zloty in legal fees.

The RT France correspondents were detained on Monday morning near the Polish city of Usnarz Gorny when they were shooting video footage. Their case was heard by the court in Sokolka on Monday. RT France editor-in-chief Xenia Fedorova said on Monday the journalists had called the editorial desk after an hours-long interview to say they had been convicted to a fine.

Amid the migration crisis, Poland has imposed a state of emergency in regions bordering Belarus. No one, including journalists, is allowed to enter these regions. Polish border guards have stopped more than 33,000 illegal border crossings from Belarus this year, an increase of 370 times over the 2020 level. The situation deteriorated on November 8, when several thousand migrants approached the Polish border. From time to time they try to break through the fences and cross into Poland.

Warsaw places responsibility for the situation on Belarus, which, as the Polish side claims, receives migrants and then sends them across the border to Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia, seeking to provoke a migration crisis in Europe. Meanwhile, Lukashenko said that the blame for this situation rests on Western countries because people are fleeing their countries gripped by hostilities provoked by their actions.