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"He does everything with conscience and honor". A former inmate of Valadarka prison talks about Ales Bialiatski

2023 2023-09-25T12:14:58+0300 2023-09-25T12:17:19+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

The chairman of Viasna and the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2022, Ales Bialiatski, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for human rights activities, turns 61 on September 25. He is celebrating it in a high-security penal colony in Horki, doing woodworking. A former political prisoner who met with Ales Bialiatski in pre-trial detention center-1 in October 2022, talked about him with Viasna. 

Ales Bialiatski during a trial

For about two weeks in October 2022, the former political prisoner talked with Ales Bialiatski every day. The human rights defender was kept in a double cell on the women's building near a shower. According to him, most of the time Ales spent time alone, and sometimes other people were put into his cell.

"Ales and I talked in Belarusian on various topics. He was very cheerful and determined. Ales said that he had enough of everything. He said that his imprisonment was his choice and his life. He noted that he was already 60 years old, his wife was safe, and the children were adults, so he had nothing to fear. I am very grateful to him that he does all this with conscience and honor. Ales was interested in news in general and in particular about Ukraine, about people in the city. He is a very friendly person. Ales joked a lot. When I told him my story, he empathized with me, supported me, and said that everything would be fine. In my turn, I supported him and said that he was doing a lot for Belarus.

When someone is put to Valadarka, they try to tell everyone the latest truthful "extremist" news. That's how I told Ales everything.

Ales was constantly called "to the offices": he got acquainted with the materials of his criminal case. He said that he would like to read the case in Belarusian, but he was refused. Ales had breakfast, then they took him to read his case, then brought him for lunch and for a walk when he wanted, and after that he read his criminal case again in the evening. There were about 280 volumes in the case. I asked him why he was reading all this. To which he replied that he was just wondering what things they made up about him. Ales also noted that he did not manage to read all those volumes."

Recall that Ales and his colleagues were detained on July 14, 2021. The human rights defender was accused of "smuggling" and "financing group actions that grossly violate public order" and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Bialiatski pleaded not guilty to all of his charges.

Over the years of his activity, Ales has been awarded numerous prizes and awards, he is the author of several books, and last year the human rights activist was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. It is the third, and considering the previous imprisonment, it is already the sixth birthday that Bialiatski is celebrating behind bars.

Write to congratulate Ales: penal colony No. 9, 213410, Horki, vulica Dabraliubava 16, Aliaksandr Viktaravich Bialiatski

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