FIDH expresses its deepest concern following the arrest today of Aliaksandr (Ales) Bialiatski, FIDH Vice-President and President of Human Rights Center Viasna.
A group of people in plain clothes surrounded the office of HRC “Viasna” in Minsk. Members of HRC “Viasna” immediately left the office and locked the door. They heard one of the plain-clothes individuals saying through his phone that “Bialiatski [was] not [t]here”.
At about 4.30 pm, Mr. Bialiatski was arrested on the street in the centre of Minsk by the police representative of the Department of Financial Investigations.
At the time of writing, the police were in the process of conducting a search of his home. It is reported that Aliaksandr Bialiatski will subsequently be taken to HRC Viasna’s offices where police officers are waiting to conduct a search.
Since April 2011, Ales Bialiatski has been the subject of a smear campaign which has been broadcast on public radio and television channels, in which he is presented as Belarus’ “Public Enemy Number 1”. His arrest is within the scope of the wave of repression that followed the presidential elections leading to a dramatic decline in human rights and civil and political liberties in Belarus.
FIDH calls for the immediate and unconditional release of its Vice-president Aliaksandr Bialiatski.