Ales Bialiatski was given the first Distinguished Alumni Award of the Marshall Center
The Distinguished Alumni Award of the George Marshall Center was presented in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. The first winner of the prize established this year was political prisoner human rights activist, the head of Viasna and Nobel laureate Ales Bialiatski, who was a student of the Center in 2000.
Ales was represented at the ceremony by his wife Natallia Pinchuk, writes Radio Svaboda.
In her speech, she expressed gratitude to the leadership of the Marshal Center for this act of solidarity with Ales Bialiatski, and through him with all political prisoners of Belarus, with all the Belarusian people who long for liberation from the pro-Moscow dictatorship.
"Ales made his choice from the beginning of his adult life: back in the anti-communist underground of the early 1980s, he fought for freedom and independence of Belarus. Ales is convinced that our country historically belongs to the European and Euro-Atlantic free world and should return to it. Despite the fact that the neighboring empire, no matter what it is called — Russian, Soviet, or Putinist — is violently tearing it out. And I really hope that our friends in the West also believe in Belarusians. That they distinguish the Belarusian people from the regime, which is now being held together by Russian bayonets and handouts, while it is surrendering the sovereignty of Belarus for the sake of self-preservation," Natallia Pinchuk said.
Natallia demands the release of Ales Bialiatski from prison, and together with him, "thousands of other courageous Belarusian men and women, thrown behind bars for their desire to see their country free from the Russian yoke and dictatorship, should be set free—unconditionally and immediately. The time for pleas and hints is long gone. It’s time for an ultimatum, because imprisonment can result in death behind bars for everyone at any time."