News from Ales Bialiatski

Freeales.fidh.net was created after the arrest of Ales Bialitaski, as an information portal about the struggle of Belarusian civil society, what has been done at the international level to end its harassment and what more can be done.

Human rights defenders and civil society in Belarus are subjected to harsh conditions. As a result, their plight has often been in the international spotlight, particularly in December 2010, when popular protest overs the 2010 Presidential elections was crushed by the State. Many people were arrested, harassed and beaten.

Arrested by the Belarusian authorities on grounds of “serious tax evasion” on August 4, 2011, Ales Bialiatski was subsequently condemned for his human rights activities. Ales Bialiatski is Vice-President of FIDH and President of the Belarus-based Human Rights Centre “Viasna”. Bialiatski’s case has become symbolic of the constant persecution that human rights defenders and representatives of civil society in Belarus as a whole are subjected to by the government.

Belarusian president learns that Ales Bialiatski compensated for damage two years ago

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On January 21, Alexandre Lukashenko met with heads of Belarus’s biggest mass media. BelaPAN director Ales Lipai asked him about political prisoner Ales Bialiatski.

Lipai explained the damage, which the court thinks human rights defender Bialiatski caused to the state, had been compensated by public members. “The damage was compensated from public donations. There were cases in the country that businessman were released after paying bigger compensations. In Russia, Putin recently freed his vigorous opponent Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who caused damage of 500 million dollars, a much bigger sum,” Lipai said.

According to Lukashenka, the issue of amnesty could be considered if the information about the compensation was proved.

Two months have passed, and Nasha Niva newspaper sent a request to A...

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Political prisoner Ales Bialiatski sends greetings to Baranavichy human rights defenders and civil society activists

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Political prisoner Ales Bialiatski sent color postcards and congratulated Baranavichy human rights defenders Viachaslau Bolbat and Siarhei Housha and social activists Henadz Artsymenia, Anzhalika Kambalava and Viktar Syrytsa on the New Year and Christmas.

This is the answer of Ales Bialiatski to our New Year’s greetings we have sent to him and all political prisoners on December 21. We wished him a good health, optimism , happiness, faith in a better future and hope that soon “the sun will peep in his window”. We also expressed the hope in our Christmas cards that the dream of all political prisoners for release will come true in the new year,” said Mr. Syrytsa.

In its response Ales Bialiatski thanked for moral support...

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Ales Bialiatski: “All prizes and awards are an eloquent signal for all people of good and bad will in Belarus!”

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Ales Bialiatski responded to news about the ceremony, at which his son, Adam Bialiatski, received the symbolic award of the status of a honorable citizen of Paris to his father.

The ceremony, which took place on 10 December at the City Hall of Paris, Adam Bialiatski read his father’s words, passed from the Babruisk penitentiary.

The awarding of honorary citizenship of Paris is a great and unexpected honor for me. I want to thank the Council of Paris, and the Mayor of Paris, and the city council of the 11th arrondissement, who took such an initiative, and, of course, everyone who has relation to it. I also understand that there is a huge share of advance in this honorable citizenship.

Let’s regard all prizes and awards as a clear signal to the people of good and bad will in Belarus, while...

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Ales Bialiatski becomes an Honorary Citizen of Paris

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On December 10, Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoë presented this symbolic award to Adam Bialiatski, the son of the political prisoner. The ceremony took place during a luncheon in honor of FIDH at City Hall in Paris.

Ales Bialiatski was granted the title of Honorary Citizen of Paris in October 2012 at the suggestion of the mayor and under the initiative of the City Council for the 11th arrondissment of the capital city of France.

It had always been Bertrand Delanoë’s hope to award the honorary citizenship to Ales Bialiatski in person, but the mayor’s term is ending and he understood that this would not be possible. So he decided to present this honor to the son of this prisoner of conscious on December 10, International Human Rights Day.

Witnessing the ceremony were several hundred guests...

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Ales Bialiatski : “Paris, Paris… but I return home”

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Excerpts of letters from the political prisoner Ales Bialiatski, head of the Belarusian Human Rights Center Viasna and vice-president of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH).

2 December 2012, Babruysk

The International Executive Board of FIDH was due to hold one of its three annual regular sessions in late June 2011. Vice-presidents and deputy secretaries general of the Federation came from all over the world to attend this meeting, which focused on tactical issues related to the Federation’s current activities in hot spots throughout the world, where our colleagues sometimes put their own lives at risk as they work tirelessly to protect the rights of civilian populations...

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Ales Bialiatski: Two years since politically motivated verdict

Photo by Yulia Darashkevich

Two years ago, on November 24, 2011, the Court of Minsk’s Pershamaiski district convicted Ales Bialiatski, the leader of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” and vice-president of the International Federation for Human Rights. According to the verdict, Ales Bialiatski was found guilty of committing a crime under Part 2 of Art. 243 of the Criminal Code (tax evasion on a large scale) and was sentenced to imprisonment in a high security penal colony for a period of 4.5 years and a confiscation of property.

The Human Rights Center “Viasna“, as well as the leading international human rights organizations, viewed the verdict as politically motivated, as it was aimed at sanctioning the legitimate human rights activities of Ales Bialiatski and the Human Rights Center “Viasna” in general.

The senten...

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Ales Bialiatski earns about $2 a month working six days a week

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Ales Bialiatski earns about 20,000 rubles (about 2$), and can spend just about 130,000 rubles (about 13$) in the prison shop.

According to the political prisoner’s wife, Natallia Pinchuk, Ales Bialiatski works 6 days a week and earns about 20,000 rubles. He works as a wrapper at sewing industry, packing a variety of products.

He earns about 20,000 rubles. His work is associated with the garment industry, he wraps the goods. Mattresses, gloves and work clothes are produced there. I don’t know exactly how long his working day is, but I remember the words of the head of the penitentiary that it doesn’t exceed the legal limit,” said Natallia Pinchuk.

According to her, Mr. Bialiatski can spend just 130,000 rubles a month in the prison shop. “I know he buys cheese, cookies and something swe...

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Ales Bialiatski has served a half of his sentence

The political prisoner, head of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” Ales Bialiatski has served a half of the term of imprisonment. He mentioned this date in his letter to his wife, Natallia Pinchuk.

He recalls certain periods of his life, certain dates in the calendar. It is clear that these dates do not coincide with the official festive dates. These are other dates, which are quite said for him and us, his family. He writes that November is coming – the darkest and the most said month. The only thing he can mark in it is 4 November, marking exactly the half of his prison term”, said Natallia Pinchuk

Ales Bialiatski was arrested on 4 August 2011 and sentenced to 4.5 years of imprisonment for the alleged concealment of income on a large scale...

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Ales Bialiatski continues his literary work in jail

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A book of memoirs and socio-political articles by the head of the Human Rights Center “Viasna”, political prisoner Ales Bialiatski, is being prepared to publication. The bulk of the book was written by him in jail.

According to the compiler of the book, Palina Stsepanenka, the new book will be a logical continuation of the published one, “Englightened by the Belarusian Issue”.

““Englightened by the Belarusian Issue” was exclusively literary book, whereas this one will include his memories of the socio-political activities. Recently he has started writing about Viktar Ivashkevich. He writes about the times when he was an activist of the anti-Communist youth underground movement, as well as about his human rights activities and the creation of “Viasna”...

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Ales Bialiatski receives highly symbolic Václav Havel Human Rights Prize

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Paris-Minsk, 30 septembre 2013 – As the Council of Europe just announced the 2013 laureate of the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize, FIDH and Human Rights Centre “Viasna” express their utmost support to its recipient Ales Bialiatski, President of HRC “Viasna” and Vice President of FIDH. Prominent human rights defender in Belarus, Ales Bialiatski was sentenced to 4 and a half years of detention in severe regime in August 2011 for his human rights activities.

« This prize is particularly symbolic for Ales », explained Valiantsin Stefanovic, vice-president of Viasna. « Vaclav Havel and Bialiatski met, and a few days before he died, Václav Havel wrote a letter to Ales in prison. In it, he expressed his support to Ales and the hope that Belarus would one day be a democratic state ».

Ales...

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