Sakharov Prize Laureates Campaign to Free Bialiatski
On November 23 in Brussels, at the annual conference of Sakharov Prize Laureates, a campaign was started to collect signatures under the open letter demanding immediate release and full rehabilitation of Ales Bialiatski. The campaign was launched by BAJ chair Zhanna Litvina and head of the civil right movement For Freedom Aliaxandr Milinkievich.
«Ales Bialiatski is not only a world-famous human rights defender, he is a man of courage and conscience. It is proved by the fact that Ales Bialiatski had a chance to flee the country and avoid the trial. Nevertheless, he made the decision to stay and face the unjust and biased trial. We, laureates of the Sakharov Prize, express our solidarity with Ales Bialiatski and condemn any conviction in his regard. We demand his immediate release and rehabilitation," the open letter says.
«Dozens of time the name of Ales Bialiatski was mentioned at the conference. The participants of the forum were following attentively the court proceedings and were expressing worries over his future and their indignation at the Belarusian officials. Many laureates supported the idea to propose Ales for Nobel Prize nomination.
Zhanna Litvina calls the sentence shameful and considers it as revenge to Ales for his human rights activities: «One more time, the authorities showed vindictiveness towards persistent and unbroken people. It’s obvious that Ales turned out to be a hard nut to crack — that’s the reason for the severe sentence.»
On November 24 BAJ supported the joint statement of Human Rights House organizations, and also the joint statement of Belarusian NGOs, demanding to free Ales Bialiatski.