Ales Byalyatski still in transit to prison in Babruysk

2012 2012-02-27T17:01:05+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en

Convicted human rights defender Ales Byalyatski has not yet been placed in Correctional Institution No. 2 in Babruysk, Mahilyow region, to serve his prison sentence.

After being removed from a jail in Zhodzina, Minsk region, some 10 days ago, Mr. Byalyatski was put in the interior ministry’s Detention Center No. 1 in Minsk, where he was held at least until this past weekend.

In a letter sent to the family on February 23, Mr. Byalyatski asked to pass a food parcel for him, his wife, Natallya Pinchuk, told BelaPAN on Monday.

Ms. Pinchuk visited the detention center on Sunday, but an officer refused to accept food for her husband.

“He said that parcels were not allowed, but he confirmed that Ales was still there,” the woman said. “He writes in the letter that uncertainty has become a fixture of his life. It is difficult to say when he will be transferred to another transit point. We delivered a parcel to the detention center in Zhodzina shortly before his removal from it so that he could take something along with him. It appears that he ran out of those foodstuffs.”

“The jail officer, however, said that it is possible to transfer money to Ales` account to enable him to buy what he needs at the jail store,” Ms. Pinchuk added.

On November 24, 2011, a judge of the Pershamayski District Court in Minsk sentenced Mr. Byalyatski, the 49-year-old leader of a human rights group called Vyasna (Spring) and vice president of the International Federation for Human Rights, to four and a half years in prison on a charge of large-scale tax evasion.

The charge stemmed from information about Mr. Byalyatski`s bank accounts abroad, which was provided by authorities in Lithuania and Poland. During his trial, Mr. Byalyatski insisted that the money transferred by various foundations to his bank accounts abroad had been intended to finance Vyasna`s activities and therefore could not be viewed as his income.

Mr. Byalyatski`s appeal was rejected by the Minsk City Court on January 24.

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