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Viasna leader Ales Bialiatski turned 60 in jail

2022 2022-09-26T16:01:40+0300 2022-09-26T16:02:56+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
Illustration by Nastya Savilla to Ales Bialiatski's birthday
Illustration by Nastya Savilla to Ales Bialiatski's birthday

Ales Bialiatski, head of the Viasna Human Rights Center and political prisoner, turned 60 on 25 September. This is not the first birthday he had to spend behind bars. Prominent politicians and fellow human rights activists spoke in solidarity with Ales.

The RightLivelihood organization congratulated Bialiatski and pointed out that he received the RightLivelihood Award for Viasna’s work in advancing democracy and human rights in Belarus.

Artur Michalski, the ambassador of Poland in Belarus, congratulated Ales Bialiatski and reminded that he is the winner of the Jan Karski Eagle Award for his courage in fighting for human rights.

Paulina Kluge, head of operations in the Östgruppen, wrote: “I asked him if he wasn’t afraid of staying in #Belarus and of being arrested, but Ales had no plans to leave the country. He wanted to stay there and fight for a free and democratic Belarus.”

Alexander Sjödin from Human Rights House Foundation dedicated his first marathon to Ales Bialiatski.

The Foundation also made a short statement:

“Today we celebrate Belarusian human rights defender Ales Bialiatski’s 60th birthday. Regrettably, on a day that should only be joyous, Ales is spending this milestone behind bars in #Belarus as a reprisal for his legitimate human rights work. This is Ales Bialiatski’s second time as a political prisoner, having previously been imprisoned from August 2011 – June 2014. Together with representatives from Human Rights Houses, we repeat our call for his release and all 1340+ political prisoners in Belarus.”

The World Organisation Against Torture condemned the conditions that Ales Bialiatski is kept in and called on the authorities to release him and other brave rights defenders unjustly detained.

Nicola Beer, vice-president of the European Parliament and Bialiatski’s godparent, said that Ales is one of the greatest defenders of human rights in Belarus who paid the highest price, his freedom, for the fight against the human rights violations in Belarus.

“Today is Ales Bialiatski’s birthday – I strongly condemn his politically motivated imprisonment and demand his immediate release as well as that of all other political prisoners! The international community must continue to exert pressure on the Belarusian state!”