Call for immediate release and rehabilitation of Ales Bialiatski

78 human rights organizations, members and partners of the Human Rights House Network, resolutely condemn the court verdict to sentence Ales Bialiatski to 4,5 years imprisonment with confiscation of his property. We call upon the Belarusian authorities to immediately drop all charges against Ales Bialiatski and stop his criminal prosecution.

Download the letter sent to Belarusian authorities on 24 November 2011

On Thursday, 24 November 2011, the Minsk Pershamaiski District Court announced its verdict to sentence Ales Bialiatski to 4,5 years imprisonment with the confiscation of all his property, including property registered to other persons, on charges of tax evasion.

Ales Bialiatski is the Chairperson of the Human Rights Centre “Viansa”, Vice-President of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and one of the founders of the Belarusian Human Rights House in Vilnius. He is a well-known and internationally recognised human rights defender.

On 4 August 2011, Ales Bialiatski was detained in Minsk on alleged suspicion of ‘concealment of income on an especially large scale’. His trial started on 2 November and was widely condemned by the international community.

The case of Ales Bialiatski has received high-level attention and concerns in the international community. On 24 November 2011, Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission, and Stefan Füle, EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, deplored the harsh sentencing of Ales Bialiatski and considers it to be politically motivated. “It targets Ales Byalyatski and the Human Rights Centre “Viasna” for their courageous support to victims of repression in Belarus. As such, it is a symbol of the ever intensifying crackdown on civil society in the country since the 19 December 2010 Presidential elections.

In a joint statement on 24 November 2011, three United Nations special rapporteurs warned that the new legislative amendments recently adopted by the National Assembly of Belarus may severely and arbitrarily restrict the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, association and expression, and breach international law.

We believe that Ales Bialiatski is punished for his legitimate engagement in promoting and protecting human rights in Belarus. Proceedings against Ales Bialiatski constitute one more action by the Belarusian government against human rights defenders to try to silence voices that uphold Belarus’ human rights obligations. 

Belarusian Human Rights House in exile in Vilnius, Lithuania

Belarusian Association of Journalists

Belarusian Helsinki Committee


Human Rights House Baku (on behalf of the following NGOs):

  • Association for the Protection of Women’s Rights after D. Aliyeva (APWR)
  • Human Rights Centre of Azerbaijan (AHRC)
  • Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS)
  • Legal Education Society
  • Society for Humanitarian Research
  • Women’s Association for Rational Development (WARD)


Human Rights House Oslo (on behalf of the following NGOs):

  • FIAN Norway
  • Health and Human Rights Info
  • Human Rights House Foundation
  • Norwegian Burma Committee
  • Norwegian Helsinki Committee
  • Voice of Tibet


The Rafto Foundation (Norway)


Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland) (on behalf of the following NGOs):

  • Grupa Horyzont
  • Komitet Helsiński
  • Stowarzyszenie Młodych Dziennikarzy "Polis"
  • Helsińska Fundacja Praw Człowieka

 Human Rights House Sarajevo (on behalf of the following NGOs):

  • Association of Female Citizens "Renaissance"
  • Foundation CURE
  • Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Regional Co-ordinator for Youth Groups
  • Serb Civic Council – Movement for Equality – The Council of the Sarajevo Canton
  • Woman and Society Centre
  • Human Rights House Tbilisi (on behalf of the following NGOs):
  • Article 42 of the Constitution
  • The Georgian Centre for Psychosocial and Medical Rehabilitation of Torture Victims (GCRT)
  • The Human Rights Centre (HRIDC)

Russian Research Center for Human Rights (on behalf of the following NGOs):

  • Human Rights Network Group
  • Independent Psychiatric Association of Russia
  • Moscow Centre for Prison Reform
  • Moscow Helsinki Group
  • Mother’s Right Foundation
  • Non-violence International
  • Right of the Child
  • Right to Live and have Civil Dignity
  • Social Partnership Foundation
  • Union of the Committees of Soldiers’ Mothers of Russia

Human Rights House Zagreb (on behalf of the following NGOs):

  • APEO/UPIM – Association for Promotion of Equal Opportunities for People with Disabilities
  • B.a.B.e.
  • CMS – Centre for Peace Studies
  • Documenta – Centre for Dealing with the Past
  • GOLJP – Civic Committee for Human Rights
  • Svitanje  – Association for Protection and Promotion of Mental Health


Armenian Helsinki Association

Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor (Armenia)

Youth Human Rights Movement (Russian Federation) 

Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union 

NGO M’ART (Ukraine)

Центр правовых и политических исследований "СІМ" (Ukraine)

Crimean republican NGO Institution for Civil Society (Ukraine)

Vinnytsya Human Rights Group (Ukraine)

Children’s ecological public organization "Flora" (Ukraine)

Public organization "Territory of success" (Ukraine)

Crimean Human Rights Center "Action" (Ukraine)

Information Center for Human Rights (Kyiv, Ukraine)

Human Rights Centre "Postup", Lugansk, Ukraine

The Krivoy Rog city Human Rights Society (Ukraine)

All-Ukrainian Youth NGO "Foundation of Regional Initiatives"

Foundation for Legal Technologies Development (Ukraine)

Kherson regional charity and health Foundation (Ukraine)

Pylyp Orlyk Institute for Democracy, Ukraine

Ukrainian Women Bar Association

Article 19 (United Kingdom)

Center for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russian Federation)

Civic Belarus (Czech Republic)

CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation (South Africa)

Civil Rights Defenders (Sweden)

Danish Helsinki Committee for Human Rights

Danish Institute for Human Rights (Denmark)

European Exchange (Germany)

Human Rights Club (Azerbaijan)

Index on Censorship (United Kingdom)

International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR) (Belgium)

Legal Transformation Center (Belarus)

LIbereco – Partnership for Human Rights (Germany)

Non-governmental organization "Interaction" (Moldova)

Östgruppen – the Swedish Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (Sweden)

People in Need (Czech Republic)

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