Ales Bialiatski, Oslo Freedom Forum, 2009

Aliaksandr (Ales) Bialiatski is the founder and head of human rights center Viasna and a Vice-president of FIDH (Fédération internationale des droits de l’Homme). Despite being officially shut down by the Supreme Court in 2003, Viasna is one of the few remaining organizations that continues to offer direct support to persecuted individuals and their families in Belarus, as well as practical and political assistance to other victims. Althought not a politican, Bialiatski’s advocacy has made him a central opposition figure in the country and the authorities have taken him to court in at least 20 instances. Bialiatski is the 2006 recipient of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee’s Andrei Sakharov Freedom Award. Since August 4, 2011, he has been imprisoned by the Belarusian government for his advocacy.

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