Ales Bialiatski receives Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize
Ales Bialiatski, President of the Human Rights Center “Viasna”, has been awarded the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize. The winner’s name was announced today in Strasbourg by the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Jean-Claude Mignon. The award was received by the human rights defender’s wife Natallia Pinchuk, who was present at the ceremony.
This year’s nominees included, apart from Ales Bialiatski, the Young Lawyers Association (Georgia) and the Rights Defence Network (China).
Natallia Pinchuk said that Vaclav Havel was the spiritual mentor of Ales. Shortly before his death, Havel sent a letter of support to Ales, who was then in prison. Ales Bialiatski later said the letter was for him a ray of hope and solidarity.
Natallia Pinchuk also said that from the very beginning Ales has fought for an independent and democratic Belarus.
Now he is in trouble, he is in more severe conditions than the other political prisoners, and 10 political prisoners are still held in the prisons of Belarus, who made their choice in favor of democracy and freedom. The award is not just a sign of solidarity with him, but with the entire Belarusian democratic community.
As the website of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe reports, the jury first submitted a list of six candidates: Lyudmila Alexeeva (Russia), Ales Bialiatski (Belarus), the Young Lawyers Association (Georgia), the Hungarian Helsinki Committee (Hungary), the Centre for the Psychic Protection of Disabled Persons (Hungary) and the Rights Defence Network (China). The Belarusian human rights activist was nominated for more than 30 Polish NGOs.