Ales Bialiatski’s empty chair at the presentation of Observatory’s Annual Report 2011 in New York

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), have presented its annual report on the human rights situation on 24 October in New York. During the press-conference, les organizers have put an empty chair with photos of FIDH Vice-President Ales Bialiatski in order to symbolically mark his presence at this event.

Ales Bialiatski has been detained in Belarus since last August 4. After lengthy preparation by the Belarus justice department, Ales is being charged with “especially serious tax evasion” that could lead to seven years in prison and confiscation of his properties, which involves the premises of the Viasna centre. The sole aim of this manoeuver is to stop Viasna from acting, and from existing.

The trial has been for November 2.

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