November 24, 2011 – The President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek made the following statement on the sentencing of Belarusian human rights defender Ales Bialiatski:
” I condemn the sentencing to four and half years in prison of Ales Bialiatski. The European Parliament is highly concerned about the unjustified prosecution and sentencing of Ales Bialiatski for alleged tax evasion in Belarus.
The European Parliament considers the charges against Ales Bialiatski in the trial as politically motivated and unjustified.
Under Mr Bialiatski’s leadership, the Viasna Center that he set up has defended and assisted thousands of victims of repression in Belarus and I commend the work of the centre.
We call on Belarusian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Ales Bialiatski and for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners still in custody and for all charges against them to be dropped. The European Parliament always stands by the side of the Belarusian people.”