|Today the final verdict of «Viasna» human rights defenders was announced: the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and the chairman of the organization Ales Bialiatski was sentenced to 10 years in prison, his deputy and vice-president of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) Valiantsin Stefanovich to 9 years in prison, and coordinator of the campaign Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections Uladzimir Labkovich to 7 years in prison. The three men have been in custody for over a year and a half and have been through a trial that meets all the criteria for a farce. The case is a concoction of false accusations. It is rooted in the help the three men gave to protesters who were subjected to the worst forms of abuse during the mass arrests in the wake of Aliaksandr Lukashenka losing the presidential election in 2020.
– The sentence has nothing to do with criminal law, but must be considered a direct order to the judge from Lukashenka, says Lindeman.
– We call on the international community to cooperate with Belarusian civil society and the country’s real elected representatives, such as exiled president Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, in their fight for democracy and the release of all political prisoners, says Lindeman.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee has collaborated with Bialiatski and his organization Viasna for a number of years. Already in 2006, the Helsinki Committee awarded him the Andrei Sakharov Freedom Prize, for his courageous and tireless fight for human rights in Belarus.
The trial shows how Lukashenka’s regime punishes our colleagues, human rights defender for standing up against the oppression and injustice. The Norwegian Helsinki Committee condemns the persecution of the human rights activists in Belarus and demands unconditional release of all the political prisoners.
NHC, together with other HR organizations stands in solidarity with Belarusian activists.
This is how you can express your solidarity:
Share solidarity actions on social media with the hashtag #FreeViasna
Joint Press Release – Imminent verdict in the trial against Viasna’s leaders