Wrong information about Ales Bialiatski

A couple of days ago Civil Rights Defenders was informed that Ales Bialiatski, Head of Belarusian Human Rights Center Viasna, had been placed in solitary confinement on 24 September, the day before his 50th birthday. We were later relieved to hear that the information was not correct. It is difficult to verify information from closed countries such as Belarus, since human rights defenders take a risk by contacting persons abroad.

Earlier this year, Bialiatski received several reprimands in prison and was subject to restrictive measures limiting his rights to receive visits, food parcels and other. Ales was also declared a “persistent offender” which excluded the possibility of being granted amnesty in July 2012, when a number of other prisoners were released.

Civil Rights Defenders have learned that the prison authorities try to isolate Bialiatski. According to information from a former prisoner of the prison in Bobruisk where Ales is serving his sentence, prisoners that speak to Ales are subjected to interrogations afterwards.

Ales Bialiatski was awarded the Per Anger Prize by the Swedish government in 2006, for his fearless fight for people’s rights. In September 2012 the European Parliament nominated him for the Sacharov prize.

Civil Rights Defenders urges decision makers in Sweden and in Europe to be very clear in their communication with the Belarusian authorities, and demand the immediate and unconditional release of Ales Bialiatski and other political prisoners in the country.

In August 2011 Ales Bialiatski was arrested, suspected of serious tax evasion, after Lithuania and Poland had disclosed information about Belarusian individuals’ bank accounts, at the request of the Belarusian authorities. Ales Bialiatski is the head of Belarus’ leading human rights organisation Viasna. Since Viasna has not been able to register and operate legally in Belarus, the organisation was forced to open private bank accounts abroad. Ales Bialiatski was sentenced to four and a half years in prison and confiscation of property.

Read more about Ales Bialiatski in Civil Rights Defenders’ campaign Human rights defender of the month.

Categories: News.
Tags: Ales Bialiatski, Harassment, Human Rights Defenders, Valiantsin Stefanovich, and Viasna.
Regions: Belarus.