Belarusian Human Rights Activist "Celebrates" 50th Birthday in Prison
On his 50th birthday, prominent Belarusian human rights defender Ales Bialiatski continues to languish in prison on trumped up charges. Freedom House reiterates its call for his immediate release as well as the release of all political prisoners in Belarus.
Bialiatski, nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and a recipient of numerous international awards for defending human rights and civil liberties in Belarus, is currently serving a four-and-a-half year sentence in a high-security prison on charges of tax evasion. Freedom House along with friends and colleagues of Bialiatski, decried his prison sentence last year as a sign of the further crackdown and intimidation of Belarusian civil society by president Aleksandr Lukashenka.
"Last year we wished Ales a happier year ahead and were hopeful that he would be able to celebrate his 50th birthday out of prison with his friends and family," said Susan Corke, director for Eurasia programs at Freedom House. "Unfortunately, the Belarusian authorities continue to keep Bialiatski in prison and demonstrate their determination to deny citizens human rights. We hope that someday Bialiatski will be able to see the fruits of his labor in a free and democratic Belarus.”