PACE tagged posts
PACE Political Affairs Committee today backed the intention of the Rapporteur for Belarus, Andres Herkel (Estonia, EPP/CD), to make a fact-finding visit to Minsk in the coming months in order to have the opportunity to meet not only with the authorities but also with political prisoners, including former Presidential candidates and Ales Bialiatski, President of the Human Rights Centre “Viasna”, following reports of physical and psychological ill treatment.
The rapporteur is committed to monitoring closely the proceedings against Mr Bialiatski and other opponents of the regime, and demands the release of all political prisoners in Belarus.
05.10.2011 – The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has today expressed its dismay that Ales Bialiatski, a highly-respected human rights defender and Nobel Peace Prize nominee, has been arrested by the Belarusian authorities.In a statement approved during a meeting on the fringe of the Assembly’s autumn session in Strasbourg, the committee said it was “outraged by the Belarusian authorities’ attempt to criminalise the funding of vital human rights work in Belarus by foreign donors, including European institutions and government agencies. This was done by treating monies channelled through accounts held in trust by Mr Bialiatski as his personal income for tax purposes.” The committee expressed its solidarity with Ales B...Read More
Since 1996, Viasna has provided legal assistance to thousands of Belarusians who were fined, arrested or imprisoned for criticising Alyakdsandr Lukashenka’s authoritarian policies. Viasna has also been active in reporting on the police crackdown on a recent series of peaceful rallies following the presidential elections. Since April 2011, Mr Bialiatski has been the subject of a smear campaign, in which he is presented as public enemy number one in Belarus.
Mr Bialiatski’s arrest is yet another instance in a pattern of harassment and intimidation towards civil society. It is high time political abuse of the criminal law in Belarus comes to an end.