Conditions of detention

After his arrest in August 2011 and his sentencing to four and a half years of imprisonment in severe detention regime, Ales Bialiatski, President of HRC Viasna and Vice-President of FIDH, was transferred to a penal colony in Bobruisk, in February 2012. His conditions of detention are harsh: he works 6 days a week doing routine manial work and is isolated even within the camp itself, with his fellow prisoners unable to talk to him under a threat of a punishment. Several short and long personal meetings with his wife have been cancelled as a punishment. He is regularly deprived of his right to food parcels and repeated fabricated allegations that he has committed “regime violations” suffocate all hope of his anticipated release or possible amnesty. In spite of this, Ales Bialiatski maintains a positive attitude and continues to write intensively. Two books have been transmitted by him through letters and published since in detention.

Please see the below articles on conditions of detention and recent news from Ales Bialiatski:

Artak Kirakosyan commented the “new charges” that were brought against Ales Bialiatski on 16 November

FIDH Secretary General and Chairman of the Civil Society Institute (Armenia) Artak Kirakosyan, who has been closely following the trial of FIDH Vice-President Ales Bialiatski, has commented on the “new charges” that were brought against the Belarusian human rights defender on 16 November.

- Today, the hearing of the criminal case against the head of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” Ales Bialiatski was resumed after a break. You are keeping an eye on the trial. How could you comment on the new charges that everyone has been waiting for?

– I believe that the authorities themselves have become hostages of the situation that they created, and now they cannot figure out how to get out of it in the best way possible...

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Massive public media campaign targeting Ales Bialiatski

Paris-Geneva, November 9, 2011

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources of a massive campaign through public media that is targeting Mr. Ales Bialiatski, President of the Human Rights Centre (HRC) “Viasna” in Belarus and Vice-President of FIDH, and that could undermine his right to a fair trial by influencing the judge as his trial resumes on November 10.
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your intervention in the following situation in Belarus.

New information:

According to the information received, since November 5, 2011, Mr...

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Court bans Bialiatski’s meeting with wife

Minsk court has not authorized Ales Bialiatski’s meeting with his wife ahead of the trial he is to stand on 2 November, Radio Racyja reports.

“I submitted an application to the judge, and today I received a ban. I wanted to see my husband and they did not allow me,” says Ales Bialiatski’s wife Natallia.

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Letters from Ales Bialiatski started arriving at thier destinations

After a long delay and after the mass media revealed that the human rights defender Bialiatski was being denied the ability to correspond with his relatives and friends, his letters once again started arriving at their destinations.

That’s how the Gomel’ civil rights activists Uladzimir Katsora and Vasiliy Palyakou first received their postcards from the chair оf the human rights center Viasna, Ales Bialiatski, who has been detained in the so called Volodarka prison in the capital since August 4th, on charges of not paying a large amount in taxes.

In his letters, the human rights defender is sincerely grateful for the support he has received and for all of the birthday wishes.

Palyakou: «In his postcards, Mr. Bialiatski expresses his hope that we will be able to see each other soon...

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Friends and relatives don’t receive letters from Ales Bialiatski any more

Ales Bialiatski’s friends and relatives stopped receiving any letters from him. In particular, the last letter received by his wife Natallia is dated September 20. Some of Ales’s friends haven’t received answers to three or more letters they had sent.

“Viasna” members also doubt that letters are received by Ales.

Human rights defender Valiantsin Stefanovich doesn’t hide his concern and says he is anxious about the possible informational blockade of Ales Bialiatski in the remand prison. It’s especially important that Ales feels the support and solidarity of his colleagues now, when his case has been passed to the court.

If the situation doesn’t change in the next few days, human rights defenders will start taking measures for solving this problem.

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Two months have passed since the arrest of Ales Bialiatski

On 4 October, there turns two months since the detention of the well-known Belarusian human rights activist, vice-president of the International Federation of Human Rights Ales Bialiatski.

As stated to BelaPAN by human rights activist Valiantsin Stefanovich, Bialiatski feels alright in custody. “Lattes from him come with a delay. However, last week he familiarized with the materials of his case, and the counsel did not tell us that he was experiencing some health problems or something else,” – said Stefanovich.

According to Stefanovich, Bialiatski’s case has been passed to the procuracy, and then will be passed to court. “There are some moments that can influence the change of restraint to Bialiatski...

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Investigator bans Bialiatski’s meeting with wife

Mrs. Tatsiana Kasynkina, investigator of the financial investigation department of the state control committee, has dismissed a request entered by Ales Bialiatski’s wife, who applied for a meeting with the imprisoned Viasna’s leader.

No official reasons for the denial have been reported by the investigator, as Ales Bialiatski’s wife has not seen her husband since 5 August, when he was taken to Minsk pre-trial prison.

Ales Bialiatski is likely to mark his 49th birthday (25 September) in prison.

However, everyone can send him a birthday postcard at:

220030, Minsk, Valadarski Street, 2, SIZA-1

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Letters sent from prison

Ales Bialiatski tells about his activities and mood :

“I have nothing to do here except for reading and writing letters (which I have not done for the last 15 years). I am fine. I’ve got used to the life here. I watch TV (we have two channels here), learn English and read”.

“I walk in the yard, do push-ups, jump and do other exercises. I have good appetite again after a week when I did not want to eat at all. My health is good so far, as well as mood”.

“Life stops here for me in comparison with the previous year. But there’s something positive, because I have much time to think. I am not nervous, I do not make big plans realizing that everything in my life now depends not on me, but on external factors...

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Letter from prison written by Ales Bialiatski to his wife

I have been examined by a doctor. I have no complaints. So far, I see it all as something unreal (…) Life goes on and I am beginning to get used to the simple rules of prison life. We get up early – at 6, and go to bed early, too – at 22.00. Strangely enough, the body is quickly adapting to the forgotten army schedule. Everything is done slowly here, but very precisely and “with taste”. A walk “with taste”, a sauna “with taste (…) With this wave of heat, it was a bit stuffy, but then it started to rain and the air was fresh and clean during a walk. It is good the days are long and light, for I always feel good when it is light…

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Ongoing juridical harassment against Mr. Ales Bialiatski and extension of his detention term

August 16, 2011
The Observatory has been informed of the existence of formal charges against Mr. Ales Bialatski, President of the Human Rights Centre (HRC) “Viasna” and Vice-President of FIDH, and of the extension of his detention term.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your intervention in the following situation in Belarus.

New information:

According to the information received, on August 14, 2011, the detention of Mr. Ales Bialiatski was extended to two months by decision of the Prosecutor, after Mr...

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