OSCE head Audronius Ažubalis calls Minsk to release Bialiatski immediately

November 24, 2011 – The OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Ažubalis has expressed his deep concern about the sentence to human rights activist Ales Byalyatski and urged to release him immediately.

“This case must be seen as part of a broader pattern of harassment and intimidation of human rights defenders in Belarus,” Ažubalis said in a statement released.

He stressed that undue restrictions on freedom of association severely limit the work of civil society organizations in Belarus and put their members in danger of harassment by the authorities.

“The actions for which Ales Bialiatski was found guilty are a direct result of undue restrictions on freedom of association in the country,” Ažubalis said.

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