Ales Bialiatski’s last testimonies before his arrest in which he expresses concern about the unprecedented level of repression by the Belarusian authorities on civil society since the presidential election in 2010.
“My name is Ales Bialiatski, Chairman of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” in Belarus. I am very concerned about the human rights situation and the unprecedented level of repression by the Belarusian authorities on civil society since December 19, 2010, the day of the presidential election. Representatives of civil society and activists and civic organisations have been subjected to exceptionally severe harassment. Human rights defenders have also been harassed, in particular my organisation, the Human Rights Center Viasna. Our central office has been searched three times. Searches have taken place five times at our regional offices. Computer equipment and storage media have been seized and Viasna representatives have been called in for questioning. I [...] request the government of Belarus to uphold the international pledges it has signed ; and I call upon the international community to put pressure on Belarus to uphold both the Constitution [...] and its international commitments”.
In February 2011 searches were conducted at my home, and the same month, the Prosecutor General’s Office issued an official warning against myself about working for an unregistered organisation. In Belarus, this can mean up to two years in prison. In our view, the pressure being put on Belarusian human rights defenders is linked to our comments, our positions in defense of political prisoners, of whom there are several dozen in Belarus today.