Annual Report 2013
The state of the world's human rights

30 September 2013

Vaclav Havel Human Rights Award goes to Belarusian prisoner of conscience

Vaclav Havel Human Rights Award goes to Belarusian prisoner of conscience
Ales Bialiatski is currently serving a four and a half year sentence for his human rights activities as Head of the Human Rights Centre Viasna in Belarus.

Ales Bialiatski is currently serving a four and a half year sentence for his human rights activities as Head of the Human Rights Centre Viasna in Belarus.

© Vladimir Gridin, Radio Svaboda


See video
The prize that Ales Bialiatski received today recognises his courageous human rights work in the face of adversity and for the great personal sacrifices he has made. It is also an indictment against the Belarusian authorities for their persecution of human rights activists and their attacks on freedom of association, assembly and expression.
Source: 
Heather McGill, Amnesty International’s researcher on Belarus.
My biggest worry is how he is surviving in Bobruisk colony. He lives in difficult and strict conditions. He is not only imprisoned but the administration has forbidden contact with other prisoners. The prisoners who have any contact with Ales are told that they can lose priviledges, or their right to parole or may be disciplined. The lengthy imprisonment also threatens his health.
Source: 
Natallia Pinchuk, wife of Ales Bialiatski.

Ales Bialiatski, a Belarusian human rights activist and a prisoner of conscience, was awarded the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize in recognition for his work to improve the human rights situation in his country and for the great personal risk he took in the process, Amnesty International said today.

“The prize that Ales Bialiatski received today recognises his courageous human rights work in the face of adversity and for the great personal sacrifices he has made. It is also an indictment against the Belarusian authorities for their persecution of human rights activists and their attacks on freedom of association, assembly and expression,” said Heather McGill, Amnesty International’s researcher on Belarus.

Ales Bialiatski is currently serving a four and a half year sentence for his human rights activities as Head of the Human Rights Centre Viasna in Belarus. The organization campaigns against the death penalty, torture and other ill-treatment, and on behalf of political prisoners.

It was liquidated in 2003 - leaving its members open to possible prosecution for carrying on activities in the name of an unregistered organization - and barred from holding a bank account in its name in Belarus.

Ales Bialiatski was arrested over the use of his personal bank accounts in Lithuania and Poland to support his organization's human rights work in Belarus. On 24 November 2011 he was sentenced to imprisonment for “concealment of income on a large scale”.

The trial violated international fair trial standards in several respects, and Amnesty International believes the charges and his conviction are politically motivated and intended to obstruct his legitimate work as a human rights defender. Amnesty International considers Ales Bialiatski to be a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned solely because of his human rights work. It continues to call for his immediate and unconditional release.

Last month his wife, Natallia Pinchuk, told Amnesty International: “My biggest worry is how he is surviving in Bobruisk colony. He lives in difficult and strict conditions. He is not only imprisoned but the administration has forbidden contact with other prisoners. The prisoners who have any contact with Ales are told that they can lose priviledges, or their right to parole or may be disciplined. The lengthy imprisonment also threatens his health.”

The Václav Havel Human Rights Prize is awarded each year by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in partnership with the Václav Havel Library and the Charta 77 Foundation to reward outstanding civil society work in the defence of human rights in Europe and beyond.

Issue

Activists 
Freedom Of Expression 
Prisoners Of Conscience 

Country

Belarus 

Region

Europe And Central Asia 

@amnestyonline on twitter

News

19 December 2014

A flurry of activity by UN member states to sign and ratify the global Arms Trade Treaty before it enters into force next week is another clear sign of the overwhelming... Read more »

18 December 2014

The rights of migrants are being trampled across the globe as they face economic exploitation, discrimination and racism in a range of countries.

Read more »
22 December 2014

Pakistan's reported plans to execute 500 more people are “deeply disturbing” and would do nothing to protect civilians from the conflict with the Taliban.

Read more »
24 December 2014

Pro-Kyiv volunteer battalions are increasingly blocking humanitarian aid into eastern Ukraine in a move which will exacerbate a pending humanitarian crisis in the run up to... Read more »

23 December 2014

Torture, including rape and other forms of sexual violence, suffered by women and girls from Iraq’s Yezidi minority who were abducted by the armed group calling itself the... Read more »