Nobel Peace Prize winner Ales Bialiatski jailed in Belarus for a decade3 min read
Ales Bialiatski (60), who was awarded the Nobel prize in October, was sentenced to 10 years in jail on Friday.
Human rights activist Ales Bialiatski. (Image: Reuters)
By Reuters: Nobel Peace Prize winner and human rights activist Ales Bialiatski was sentenced to 10 years in jail on Friday by a courtroom in his native Belarus which discovered him responsible of financing protests in a trial condemned by the European Union as a “sham”.
Bialiatski, 60, was awarded the Nobel prize in October for his work selling human rights and democracy in a rustic which President Alexander Lukashenko, a staunch ally of Russia, has dominated with an iron hand for practically 30 years, violently locking up his opponents or forcing them to flee.
Footage from the cramped Minsk courtroom confirmed Bialiatski, who co-founded the Viasna (Spring) human rights group, trying sombre, his fingers cuffed behind his again, as he and his co-defendants watched proceedings from a courtroom cage.
Bialiatski, who was arrested in 2021, and three co-defendants have been charged with financing protests and smuggling cash. Belarusian state information company Belta confirmed the courtroom had handed down lengthy jail sentences to all the boys, together with a decade in jail for Bialiatski. He denied the fees in opposition to him, saying they have been politically motivated.
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Exiled Belarusian opposition chief Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya mentioned Bialiatski and the three different activists had been unfairly convicted, describing the courtroom verdict as “appalling”.
“We must do everything to fight against this shameful injustice & free them,” she mentioned on Twitter.
The different three males convicted have been Valentin Stefanovich, sentenced to 9 years, Vladimir Labkovich, who received seven years, and Dmitry Solovyov, who obtained eight years however was not current in courtroom.
Josep Borrell, the EU’s overseas coverage chief, mentioned the boys had been subjected to “sham trials” to attempt to silence them, a tactic he mentioned would fail.
“Lukashenko will not succeed. Their call for freedom is loud, even behind bars,” Borrell mentioned in an announcement.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock referred to as the trial “a farce”.
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“The Minsk regime is fighting civil society with violence and imprisonment. This is as much a daily disgrace as Lukashenko’s support for (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s war (in Ukraine),” she wrote on Twitter.
Berit Reiss-Andersen, chief of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, referred to as Bialiatski’s conviction a politically-motivated “tragedy”.
Speaking in an interview in Oslo, she mentioned: “The case, the verdict against him, is a tragedy for him personally. But it also shows that the regime in Belarus does not tolerate freedom of expression and opposition.”
Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, informed a briefing in Geneva that the United Nations physique was disturbed by the trial and apprehensive by “the lack of fair trial proceedings and access to an independent judiciary in Belarus”.
That, she mentioned, positioned human rights defenders susceptible to prison prosecution for his or her professional actions.
At the top of 2022, there have been at the very least 1,446 individuals – together with 10 youngsters – being held, having confronted or nonetheless going through prison proceedings, mentioned Shamdasani, with out elaborating.
Bialiatski, who was additionally a Soviet-era dissident, was one of the crucial distinguished of tons of of Belarusians who have been jailed throughout a crackdown on months of anti-government protests that erupted in the summertime of 2020 and continued into 2021.
Viasna, the organisation he co-founded, took a number one function in offering authorized and monetary help to these jailed.
Mass demonstrations happened after Lukashenko was declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election, a consequence which the opposition and Western nations mentioned was fraudulent.
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Mar 3, 2023