PACE tagged posts

Declaration of the Parliamentary Assembly in support of Ales Bialiatski, Belarus Human Rights Defender

Doc. 12760

6 October 2011

In support of Ales Bialiatski, Belarus Human Rights Defender

Written Declaration No 497

This written declaration commits only the members who have signed it

Following the wave of repression in the aftermath of the presidential elections, the situation of human rights and civil and political liberties has deteriorated dramatically in Belarus. Trumped up criminal charges, searches, interrogations and smear campaigns have been launched against political activists and human rights defenders.

Ales Bialiatski, leader of the Human Rights Centre Viasna, was arrested on 4 August 2011 and may face up to seven years imprisonment purportedly for income tax evasion...

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PACE Rapporteur for Belarus intends to visit political prisoners in Minsk

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.


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PACE committee outraged at treatment of Ales Bialiatski by Belarus authorities

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...

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Andres Herkel (Estonia, EPP/CD), the rapporteur on Belarus for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE)

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.

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