Ales Bialiatski

chairperson of Viasna

Date of birth: 25 September 1962

Date of detention: 14 July 2021

Charges indicted:

Art. 243 of the Criminal Code — Evasion of taxes and fees

Prison: Pre-trial detention center No. 1

Godparent: Nicola Beer, the Vice-President of the European Parliament

Ales Bialiatski is the chairman of the Human Rights Center "Viasna" and former vice-president of the International Federation for Human Rights. He is a laureate of the Andrei Sakharov Freedom Prize and other international human rights awards. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006, 2007, and 2012.

The chairman of Viasna was detained on July 14, 2021.

On October 6, 2021, the Minsk City Court heard Ales Bialiatski’s appeal against the extension of his pre-trial detention. Judge Yauhen Khatkevich turned down the complaint.

The court session revealed that Ales Bialiatski was charged with only one article of the Criminal Code - Part 2 of Art. 243 (tax evasion), which provides for imprisonment for up to 7 years. Earlier, the authorities said that, in addition to Art. 243, the human rights activist was charged under two parts of Art. 342 of the Criminal Code.

On January 28, 2022, the Partyzanski District Court of Minsk considered another appeal against the extension of his pre-trial detention. The hearing was held behind closed doors. Judge Natallia Dziadkova eventually dismissed the complaint.

Ales was a political prisoner before. On 4 August 2011, he was arrested after Lithuania and Poland had passed data on bank accounts on their territory to the Belarusian authorities. Bialiatski was accused of serious concealment of proceeds. On 24 November 2011, he was convicted by the Pieršamajski District Court of Minsk to 4.5 years of imprisonment with confiscation of property. He pleaded not guilty, stating that all the money from the accounts was used for human rights activities. Countries of the European Union, the U.S. and international human rights organizations recognized him as a political prisoner and his sentence as politically motivated. He was released on general pardon.

“Criminal prosecution of Viasna members is not related to their work,” authorities responded to the UN request

The website of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has published the official response of the Belarusian government to the request of four Special Rapporteurs on the search and detention of human rights defenders, NGO representatives, and independent media, which took place in July 2021.

Mail address: Pre-trial detention center No. 1. 220030, Minsk, vulica Valadarskaha 2

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