Trial of Ales Bialiatski has started

November 2, 2011

The trial of Ales Bialiatski, President of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” and FIDH Vice President, has started at10 a.m.in Minsk.

Extraordinary precautions have been used since 9 a.m. near the building of the Maskouski District Court of Minsk. Special police forces and several cars of the road police arrived. Private parking spaces were fenced with protective police tapes. The people who wanted to attend the trial started gathering at the entrance

At 9.30 a.m. Ales Bialiatski was guarded to the court.

Journalists without journalist ID’s weren’t let in the court hall. There are leaders of civil movements and political parties, human rights defenders and representatives of foreign diplomatic missions in the court hall.

Bialiatski is responding to the judge’s question in Belarusian. He is saying that he is a writer, a human rights defender, and a member of the Union of Belarusian Writers. The judge informed the defendant that if he does not have a good enough understanding of Russian, which is the language of the trial, then he has the right to give testimony and write motions in Belarusian. Bialiatski made motions to change pre-trial restrictions and to conduct the trial in Belarusian.

The judge denied both motions.

The judge explained his decision to refuse to change pre-trial restrictions by stating that Bialiatski is suspected of committing a “serious crime.

The Public Prosecutor stated that Bialiatski’s rights would not be violated if the trial is conducted in Russian, since witnesses testified in Russian and the laws exist in Russian. The judge denied the motion the conduct the trial in Belarusian, since the country has two official languages. “If something is unclear, an interpreter will be provided,” he stated.

Bialiatski asked for an interpreter.

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source : Radio Svaboda

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