Ales Bialiatski trial tagged posts

Pronouncement of verdict to Ales Bialiatski: 4.5 years in prison with confiscation

At about 11 a.m., Judge Siarhei Bandarenka of Minsk Pershamaiski District Court pronounced a verdict to Viasna leader and FIDH Vice-President Ales Bialiatski.

The court found Ales Bialiatski guilty. “The court believes that only imprisonment with forfeiture for offence is possible and finds no means for a milder sentence.”, said the judge.

Ales Bialiatski has been sentenced to 4.5 years of imprisonment in a strict regime penal colony with confiscation of his property (including office of human rights center “Viasna”).

The defendant’s property, including that registered with other persons, shall be seized in pursuance of the verdict. The court rules to collect BYR 721 mln of alleged damage and 36 mln of state duties.

Before being taken out of the courtroom, Ales said “Long Live Viasn...

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Ales Bialiatski’s closing statement in court, November 23, 2011 (complete text)

“I agree with every word spoken by my lawyer. I believe that the arguments he put forth have sufficient legal basis and sufficient reason to be taken seriously. At the same time, I find myself in a difficult position because I understand very well that this case has carried a political subtext from start to finish. My lawyer’s speech and these final words of mine unfortunately remind me of a voice screaming to be heard in a wasteland. I feel like I am screaming in a wasteland and trying to get my voice to reach the sun. But nevertheless I do have something to say.”

On the Political Context of Prosecution for Human Rights Activities

“I suppose I will start by saying that literally right before I was taken into custody, my friend gave me an old Soviet book to read about countermeasures the ...

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Ales Bialiatski’s Closing Statement

Ales Bialiatski started his closing statement by emphasizing the political nature of his case: “I find myself in a difficult position because I understand very well that this case has carried a political subtext from start to finish. My lawyer’s speech and these final words of mine remind me of a voice screaming to be heard in a wasteland. I feel like I am screaming in a wasteland and trying to get my voice to reach the sun. But nevertheless I do have something to say. And I will start by saying that my friend gave me an old Soviet book to read about countermeasures the KGB took against human rights defenders in the USSR. Forty years have passed, but in these three months I have felt like I have returned to the USSR, only this reincarnation has taken place at some different level...

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Ales Bialiatski trial : oral arguments

Today, November 23, the judge Siarhei Bandarenka reopened the trial of Ales Bialiatski at Minsk Maskouski District Court. The session started with oral arguments.

In his address to the court, public prosecutor Uladzimir Saikouski said the evidence examined during the judicial investigation was sufficient to find Ales Bialiatski guilty : “The validity of the financial papers is beyond doubts. It is not crucial that they do not have seals and signatures on them”.

Referring to the Tax Code, the prosecutor argued that all incomes from abroad were liable to taxation. According to him, Ales Bialiatski’s case is no exception. He is extremely critical when speaking of Bialiatski’s claims on the money as meant for human rights activities.

The prosecutor demanded to imprison Ales Bialiatski for 5 ye...

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The trial of Ales Bialiatski : Another break till November 23

Minsk Maskouski District Court is continuing to host the trial of VIasna leader Ales Bialiatski, facing tax evasion charges.

During today’s session Ales Bialiatski said that he understood the new charges.”They are actually the same as the pervious ones. They are groundless, and I do not admit them”, added Ales Bialiatski.

After that the defense lawyer asked for another break till November 23 to prepeare for the oral arguments.

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Photo: Radyo Svaboda

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Ales Bialiatski’s trial will resume on November 22

Today, November 16, the judge Siarhei Bandarenka reopened the trial of Ales Bialiatski at Minsk Maskouski District Court.

The session started with a motion by the state prosecutor who requested a 30-minute break to specify the new charges against the HRC Viasna President and FIDH Vice-President.

The “new charges” then read by the Prosecutor are similar to the precedent ones: Par. 2 Art. 243 of the Criminal Code (large-scale tax evasion).

The only difference is the phrase “in pursuance of earlier agreements”. Ales Bialiatski still risks seven years of imprisonment.

M. Bialiatski’s lawyer asked for a break to study the new charges.

The trial will resume on November 22.

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Ales Bialiatski’s case was mentioned at the review of Belarus at the UN Committee against Torture

Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva Mikhail Khvostov, Head of the delegation of Belarus to the Committee, explained to the Committee on 14 November 2011 that Ales Bialiatski will only be persecuted for tax evasion and will never be judged for his human rights activities or his activities related to the Human Rights Centre “Viasna”.

See the full review of Belarus at the Committee against Torture (in Russian only) here

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Artak Kirokasyan, Secretary General of FIDH, comments regarding the case against Ales Bialiatski

As is well known, the Administration of Belarus has decided against the visit of the president of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) Souhayr Belhassen and against her presence at the trial of her colleague Ales Bialiatski. Nevertheless, there were some members of the organization who were able to witness firsthand everything that went on over the course of the three day proceedings in the courtroom of the Maskouski District Court. The Secretary General of FIDH and Head of Administration of the Institute of Civic Society of Armenia, Artak Kirokasyan, followed the court proceedings closely, and shared his impressions and opinions regarding the trial in the case of the human rights defender and Vice-President of FIDH, Ales Bialiatski.

- What is your impression of the court p...

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Trial of Ales Bialiatski has been postponed to November 16. New charges will be presented to Ales Bialiatski

Prosecutor Uladzimir Saikouski made a motion on Thursday to postpone the trial against human rights activist Ales Bialiatski, who is accused of tax evasion, in connection with bringing a new charge against him. He did not say whether Bialiatski would be accused of violating another article or the claim will be specified. He juste stated that the new charge will considerably differing from the old ones.

Ales Bialiatski’s colleague Valyantsin Stefanovich thinks that a new charge may be tightened or softened. The human rights activist supposed that Ales Bialiatski can be accused of violating article 193 of the Criminal Code (activity on behalf of unregistered organization). Other members of human rights centre “Viasna ” may be also accused of violating this article.

Trial of Ales Bial...

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Oleg Orlov: The Bialiatski trial shows that it is impossible for human rights defenders to work in Belarus

On November 10, 2011, the trial of the head of the Human Rights Center Viasna, Ales Bialiatski will continue in Minsk. Over the course of the previous days of the proceedings the defendant and witnesses for the prosecution testified and the prosecution’s documents were examined and entered into evidence.

Oleg Orlov, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Human Rights Center Memorial, was present at the trial as a monitor on behalf of Observers for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (a joint program of FIDH and the World Organization Against Torture – OMST), and he tells us about the proceedings and about the situation of human rights defenders in Belarus.

What are the charges?

Formally – for non-payment of taxes. Bialiatski is being accused of committing a purely economic crime...

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