64 human rights organizations, members and partners of the Human Rights House Network, resolutely condemn the court verdict to sentence Ales Bialiatski to 4,5 years imprisonment with confiscation of his property. We call upon the Belarusian authorities to immediately drop all charges against Ales Bialiatski and stop his criminal prosecution.
On Thursday, 24 November 2011, the Minsk Pershamaiski District Court announced its verdict to sentence Ales Bialiatski to 4,5 years imprisonment with the confiscation of all his property, including property registered to other persons, on charges of tax evasion.
Ales Bialiatski is the Chairperson of the Human Rights Centre “Viansa”, Vice-President of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and one of the founders of the Belarusian Human Rights House in Vilnius. He is a well-known and internationally recognised human rights defender.
On 4 August 2011, Ales Bialiatski was detained in Minsk on alleged suspicion of ‘concealment of income on an especially large scale’. His trial started on 2 November and was widely condemned by the international community.
We believe that Ales Bialiatski is punished for his legitimate engagement in promoting and protecting human rights in Belarus. Proceedings against Ales Bialiatski constitute one more action by the Belarusian government against human rights defenders to try to silence voices that uphold Belarus’ human rights obligations.