London Daily

Focus on the big picture.

Nobel winner Bialiatski jailed in Belarus for a decade, sparking outcry

Nobel winner Bialiatski jailed in Belarus for a decade, sparking outcry

Nobel Peace Prize winner and human rights activist Ales Berlatsky was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Friday by a court in his native Belarus which found him guilty of financing protests in a ruling condemned by Germany as a “farce.”
Bialiatski, 60, was awarded the Nobel prize in October for his work promoting human rights and democracy in a country which ex-Soviet farm boss Alexander Lukashenko, a staunch ally of Russia, has ruled with an iron hand for nearly 30 years, violently locking up his opponents or forcing them to flee.

Footage from the cramped Minsk court showed Bialiatski, who co-founded the Viasna (Spring) human rights group, looking sombre, his hands cuffed behind his back, as he and his co-defendants watched proceedings from a courtroom cage.

Bialiatski, who was arrested in 2021, and three co-defendants were charged with financing protests and smuggling money. Belarusian state news agency Belta confirmed the court had handed down long jail sentences to all the men, including a decade in prison for Bialiatski. He denied the charges against him, calling them politically motivated.

Exiled Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya said Bialiatski and three other activists sentenced in the same trial — one of whom was tried in absentia — had been unfairly convicted, and described the verdict as “appalling.”

“We must do everything to fight against this shameful injustice & free them,” she said on Twitter.

The other three men convicted were Valentin Stefanovich, sentenced to nine years, Vladimir Labkovich, who got seven years, and Dmitry Solovyov, who received eight years but was not present in the court.

’DISGRACE’

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called the trial “a farce.”

“The Minsk regime is fighting civil society with violence and imprisonment. This is as much a daily disgrace as Lukashenko’s support for (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s war (in Ukraine),” she wrote on Twitter.

Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, told a briefing in Geneva that the United Nations body was disturbed by the trial and worried by “the lack of fair trial proceedings and access to an independent judiciary in Belarus.”

That, she said, placed human rights defenders at risk of criminal prosecution for their legitimate activities.

At the end of 2022, there were at least 1,446 people — including 10 children — being held, having faced or still facing criminal proceedings, said Shamdasani, without elaborating.

Bialiatski, who was also a Soviet-era dissident, was one of the most prominent of hundreds of Belarusians who were jailed during a crackdown on months of anti-government protests that erupted in the summer of 2020 and continued into 2021.

Viasna, the organization he co-founded, took a leading role in providing legal and financial assistance to those jailed.

Mass demonstrations took place after Lukashenko was declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election, a result which the opposition and Western countries said was fraudulent.
Newsletter

Related Articles

London Daily
0:00
0:00
Close
UK Man Jailed for Non-Consensual Condom Removal
Reform UK Surpasses Conservatives in Historic Poll
US, Britain, Canada Accuse Russia of Interference in Moldova’s Election
Taylor Swift Fans Create Seismic Activity in Edinburgh
Sunak Aide Under Investigation for Election Bet
Labour Leader Starmer Focuses on Wealth Creation for Upcoming UK Elections
G7 to Use Frozen Russian Assets for $50 Billion Ukraine Aid
Anti-Israel Irish MEP Clare Daly LOST her seat in the EU Election
Johnson & Johnson Settles Talc Safety Claims for $700 Million
EU Urged to Welcome Skilled Russians to Weaken Putin
EU Elections Overview: Far-Right Gains and Major Political Shifts
Israel Rescues Four Hostages from Gaza
Emmanuel Macron Calls for Snap Election
Jordan Bardella: Young Far-Right Leader Poised for Future Political Influence in France
World's Oldest Privately Owned Book Auctioned for $3.8 Million
Animal Rights Activists Deface King Charles' Portrait in Protest
Dutch Military Intel Uncovers Extensive Chinese Cyber Espionage
Turkish Student Arrested for Using AI to Cheat in University Exam
Rise in Dengue and Other Mosquito-Borne Diseases in Europe Due to Climate Change
EU Elections Overview: Far-Right Gains and Major Political Shifts
Far-Right National Rally Dominates France's EU Vote
Macron Calls Snap Legislative Elections After Far-Right Victory
Far-Right Gains Significantly in EU Election
UK Job Market Shows Signs of Recovery
Orban’s Fidesz Party Wins Majority in Hungary’s EU Elections as New Challenger Emerges
Meloni's Far-Right Party Wins European Elections in Italy
Key Insights from the European Union Elections
European Union Elections and Rise of Far-Right Parties
England Loses Over 260,000 Social Rent Homes in a Decade
Campaigners Urge Government to Block Shein's FTSE Listing
First NHS AI-Run Physiotherapy Clinic Launches This Year
British TV Presenter Michael Mosley Found Dead on Greek Island
Ukrainian Forces Claims First Strike on Russia's Su-57 Fighter Jet
Macron Dissolves Parliament and Calls Snap Elections
Russia Adds Yulia Tymoshenko to Wanted List
UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron Tricked by Hoax Caller Posing as Former Ukrainian President
Kate Middleton's Absence from Colonel's Review Due to Chemotherapy
UK Foreign Secretary Deceived by Prank Video Call
Sunak Criticised Over D-Day Exit in BBC Debate
Rishi Sunak Apologizes for Leaving D-Day Commemoration Early
UK Woman Sentenced After Causing Fatal Crash While Sending Selfies
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen Assaulted in Central Copenhagen
UN to Add Israel to Human Rights Blacklist
Germany and France Oppose EU Luxury Car Restrictions to Russia
Plus-Sized Miss Alabama Sara Milliken Responds to Online Critics
Nigel Farage's Return Boosts Support for Reform UK Party
Labour Party to Pledge Recognition of Palestinian State in Election Manifesto
British Paratroopers Greeted by French Customs After D-Day Anniversary Airdrop
UK Statistics Watchdog Chief Urges Sunak to Clarify Labour Tax Claim Source
UK Conservatives Promise to Restore Child Benefit for Higher Earners
×