Civil Rights Defenders: Ales Bialiatski released after 1052 days behind bars
Previous to his arrest Ales Bialiatski had been raising funds to help repressed human rights defenders and their families. On November 24, 2011 he was found guilty of tax evasion on trumped up charges. In 2014 he was appointed “Civil Rights Defender of the Year” during the annual event Defenders’ Days. His wife and colleagues was invited to Stockholm to received the award in his name.
“I cannot describe how happy I am that our good friend and colleague is a free man. Ales Bialiatski’s imprisonment was a clear punishment for his human rights work and an attempt to intimidate civil society in Belarus. I have talked to Viasna’s deputy Chairman Valiantsin Stefanovich and we both agreed that we need to continue our efforts to make sure that all political prisoners in Belarus are released, said Robert Hårdh, Executive Director Civil Rights Defenders.
For over 30 years, Ales Bialiatski has pursued a life of continuous struggle to campaign for democracy and human rights, first in the Soviet Union and then in Belarus. Since the establishment of Viasna in 1996, Ales has been arrested over 20 times. Many of these arrests have been for minor infringements such as handing out copies of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.