Ales Bialiatski arrested - NHC demands release. | Den norske Helsingforskomité

Ales Bialiatski - the head of Human Rights Centre Viasna arrested

Ales Bialiatski - the head of Human Rights Centre Viasna arrested

Yesterday, August 4, Ales Bialiatski, the head of Human Rights Centre (HRC) Viasna and the Vice- President of International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) was arbitrary detained in Minsk. The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is deeply concerned with Ales Bialiatski's detention, and Secretary General Bjørn Engesland says "We will demand the immediate release of our colleague and good partner Ales Bialiatski by using all appropriate means we have."

Yesterday,on August 4, Ales Bialitaski, the head of Human Rights Centre (HRC) Viasna was arbitrary detained at around 16:45, beside Victory Square in Minsk. The detention was conducted by the police from the Department of Financial Investigation. The same evening, in the presence of Ales’ Bialitaski, police ransacked his apartment, and thereafter, the office of HRC Viasna. As a result, computer equipment and some documents were confiscated. After these procedures, Ales was transported to the Department of Financial Investigation for further interrogation.     

Updates:

10 December 2012: NHC marks the International Human Rights Day by demanding the release of political prisoners in Belarus.

26 November 2012: Office of Viasna confiscated and sealed.

Happy 50th Birthday Ales! September 2012.

On 24. November 2011, Ales was sentenced to 4.5 years medium security prison and confiscation of property. Read our statement here.

On 9 August, Norwegian Helsinki Committee issued a statement demanding the release of Bialiatski. The statement can be found here.

On 10 August, Norwegian Helsinki Committee joined a petition for Bialiatski's release pending investigation. The petition can be found here.

Read about the other political prisoners in Belarus. Here you may also find addresses to the imprisoned and information about how you can support them.

If you need to know more about Ales, you can see a short documentary about him, posted on 'Viasna's web-page here.

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is deeply concerned with Ales Bialiatski’s detention. The Secretary General of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee Bjørn Engesland says: “We will demand the immediate release of our colleague and good partner Ales Bialiatski by using all appropriate means we have. We have been observing the dramatic developments in Belarus since the last presidential elections the 19 December. The Belarusian authorities, step by step, have been arresting  oppositional presidential candidates, political activists, journalists, going harshly against all kinds of protests, even detaining civilians who participate in the “silent” protests”. The judicial procedures have demonstrated that the defendants have not been given a fair trial”, Engesland continues. “ Now we see that Ales’ arrest and searches at the office of Viasna are the signs to the civil society groups and NGOs that their turn has come. The international community should immediately react and demand the release of Ales Bialiatski as  well as all the political prisoners. All the possibilities of pressure should be used: from diplomatic, - to targeted economic sanctions”.     

Earlier this summer the Norwegian Helsinki Committee was informed by colleagues from HRC Viasna that, based on information received from the Lithuania-registered ban DnB NORD, the Department of Financial Investigation of Belarus has started a criminal procedure against Ales Bialitaski in the frames of part 2, art 243 of Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus “understatement of income on an especially large scale”. Such an article has a sanction up to 7 years imprisonment and confiscation of belongings.

About  HRC Viasna:

Human Rights Center "Viasna" is a non-governmental human rights organization, created in 1996 during mass protest actions of the democratic opposition in Belarus. Viasna was initially a group created to help the arrested rally participants and their families. That’s why Viasna originally had the name “Viasna-96”. On 15 June 1999 the organization was registered as the Human Rights Center "Viasna". It is a national NGO with the central office in Minsk and regional organizations in the majority of Belarusian cities. Viasna has about 200 members all over the country. The organization is managed by the Council and chair of the Council, elected by the General Congress.    
On 28 October 2003 the Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus groundlessly cancelled registration of Viasna for its participation in observation of the presidential election in 2001. On 6 March 2004 the Human Rights Center "Viasna" became member of the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH).  

Since 2003 HRC Viasna has been trying to register the organization in Belarus, without any successful result. Despite this fact, HRC Viasna continued its work in defending and promoting human rights in Belarus.        

Ales Bialiatski is a Laureate of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee’s Andrey Sakharov Freedom Award of 2006.