Ales Bialiatski: Nobel laureate sentenced to 10 years in prison by Belarusian court
Belarusian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Ales Byaliatsky was sentenced to 10 years in a maximum-security penal colony by a court in Minsk on Friday, Russia’s state news agency TASS reported. According to TASS, he was found guilty of trafficking.
Exiled Belarusian opposition leader Svyatlana Sikhanoskaya called the sentencing of Byaliatskyi and other activists at the same trial “horrendous”.
“We must do everything we can to fight this shameful injustice and free them,” he wrote on Twitter.
Germany called the 10-year prison sentence an attack on civil society by Minsk. On Twitter, German Foreign Minister Annalena Berbock denounced the charges and trial against Bialiatsky and co-defendants Valentin Stefanovich and Vladimir Labkovic as a “joke” and said their judgment was “only about their rights, dignity And because of the years of struggle for freedom” is being done. of the people of Belarus.
“The Minsk regime is fighting civil society with violence and imprisonment,” Berbock said, adding, “This is as shameful a day as Lukashenko’s support for Putin’s war (in Ukraine).”
Berbock urged Belarus to end political persecution and demanded the release of more than 1,400 political prisoners.
Bialiatsky, a pro-democracy activist, has documented human rights abuses in Belarus since the 1980s. He founded the institution Vyasna, or Spring, in 1996 after a referendum that strengthened the authoritarian powers of the president and close Russian ally, President Alexander Lukashenko.
The activist was arrested in 2020 amid widespread protests against Lukashenko’s regime.
Bialyatsky won the Nobel Peace Prize for 2022 along with Russian and Ukrainian human rights groups.
The new laureates were honored for “an outstanding effort to document war crimes, human rights abuses and abuses of power” in their respective countries. “He has for many years advanced the right to criticize power and protect the fundamental rights of citizens,” the Norwegian Nobel Committee said at the time.
Belarusian opposition politician Svyatlana Sikhanoskaya congratulated Bialiatsky. “This prize is an important recognition for all Belarusians fighting for freedom and democracy,” he wrote in a tweet three years ago. “All political prisoners should be released without delay.”