“Ales’s case is a real challenge for European political structures, international society and for all of us. During the Eastern Partnership Summit that was held recently, none of the post-soviet states joined the accusatory call of European Union states against authorities of Belarus. Although the political elite is somehow confused and embarked in the peculiar trade with the authorities of Belarus. Initially allocation of 2.000.000.000 EURO was mentioned to be allocated if the reforms are implemented in Belarus. Later 9. 000.000.000 EURO was mentioned. Unification of all democratic forces is vital for not allowing a victory of cynicism and unpromising strategy in our region. The case of Ales is the litmus”, believes Artak Kirakosyan, General Secretary of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH).
On 4th of August 2011, Ales Bialiatski, President of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” and Vice-President of the International Federation for Human Rights, was arrested on allegations of large-scale tax evasion and according to the legislation of Belarus that could lead to seven years in prison and confiscation of his property.
He was brought to the criminal responsibility after the Ministry of Justice of Lithuania and Office of Prosecutor General of Poland transmitted information on external assets to the authorities of Belarus.
Later the authorities of Lithuania and Poland brought their apologies to A. Bialiatski and his family and ceased the contracts on legal cooperation with Belarus.
“Viasna” Human Rights Center constantly conducted human rights actions, protected those who were persecuted for their political views and never hid its activities despite the Belarusian Supreme Court decision to liquidate the organization in 2003.
“Viasna” has irritated the Belarusian authorities for many years. However, they now consider it to constitute a serious threat – so much so that they have arrested Bialiatski, despite the obvious negative repercussions and potential material consequences of this arrest. I wish to tell to the “friends of our organization” that if they decided to swallow Ales they will choke; the rest of us at Viasna will do everything to ensure they do”, said Valentin Stefanovich, Vice-chairman of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” and assured that it is not a matter of tax evasion but a mere attempt to silent “Viasna”.
19 organizations functioning in Armenia have prepared the postcard “Freedom to Ales Bialiatski” with the aim to introduce the issues to possibly wide range of people. The postcard will also be sent to Ales Bialiatski as a sign of support.