Belarusian peace activist Ales Bialiatski was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Friday for “tax evasion and financing protests” in Belarus. The leader of human rights organization Viasna is one of the most prominent critics of Belarusian president Aleksandr Lukashenko. Last year, he and other activists won the Nobel Peace Prize for his commitment to “human rights, democracy and peaceful coexistence in the neighboring countries of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.” He could not receive that prize himself; since 2021 he has been locked up in a Belarusian cell.
According to Bialiatski, the trial against himself and fellow activists is of a political nature. Also human rights organization Amnesty International denies legitimacy of the charges against the activist in full. “In this shameful pretext of a trial, the accused cannot even hope for a shred of justice,” said Amnesty.
After Lukashenko’s re-election in 2020, considered fraudulent by the West, among others, mass protests broke out. It was a good excuse for the autocrat regime to crack down on political opposition. According to human rights organizations, around 1,500 political suspects are being held in Belarus. Many of them are tortured, he said international media.
Read also Nobel committee chooses human rights activists in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. Who are the laureates?