First year in prison for Ales Bialiatski

Ales BialiatskiOn 4 August the Belarusian human rights defender Ales Bialiatski has been in prison for one year. Bialiatski is one of about ten prisoners, labled as political prisoners by international and Belarusian human rights organisations.

Civil Rights Defenders has repeatedly protested against the treatment of Belarus’ political prisoners and demanded the immediate release of Ales Bialiatski, among other in an open letter to President Lukashenka on 21 June 2012.

Bialiatski is a central figure within the Belarusian civil society, and Civil Rights Defenders believe that there is no doubt that he was jailed for his human rights work. The aim was to intimidate other critics into silence.

Now, the pressure on Ales Bialiatski has increased in prison. Recently, he received three reprimands. His food rations and visiting hours have been limited and the financial compensation for work performed in prison has been lowered. According to people who have been in contact with him in prison he keeps spirits up but shows signs of declining health.

In Civil Rights Defenders’ short video report from Belarus, Ales’ wife and colleagues speak about their concerns about how he and the other political prisoners are being treated.

Background
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.

In January 2012, Ales Bialiatski was appointed human rights defender of the month by Civil Rights Defenders.

In 2006 he was awarded the Swedish Government’s Per Anger prize for his “courageous struggle for the ordinary man’s right.”

Categories: News.
Tags: Ales Bialiatski, Human Rights Defenders, and Political prisoners.
Regions: Belarus.