Bialiatski to be nominated for Nobel Prize

Ales Bialiatski, the head of human rights center „Viasna“ will be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by a special committee, among which members are: Ludmila Alekseyeva, the chairwoman of the Moscow Helsinki Committee, Danuta Przywara, the chairwoman of Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights , Zanna Litvina the head of the Belarusian Association of Journalists, Aleksander Milinkievich, leader of the Movement For Freedom, Valantsin Stefanovich, a human rights activist, and Aleh Hulak – the head of Belarusian Helsinki Committee.

„Belarusians are very modest people. When you talk about Nobel Prize, everyone treats it as something unreachable. For me, Ales Bialiatski is a person who meets all the requirements to receive it. He can go down in history as a human rights defender. I am happy to be a member of the committee, now everything depends on us, the society, journalists, politicians. Everyone has to work for Belarus.“ – said Aleksander Milinkievich during a press conference in human rights center „Viasna“.

Bialiatski represents the grassroots independent Belarusian society, thinks Siarhej Matskievich – a leader of a civic society forum. – He constantly fights for our rights, not only from a legal standpoint. He is doing it even now, being held in an arrest. – added Mastkievich.

Committee members stressed that Bialiatski is very brave in current situation. „As soon as we knew Bialiatski might be arrested, we proposed to help him escape. But he stressed his innocence, and he has no intention of hiding. It’s been almost two months since the investigation began. At the end of the month we can expect the trial to begin. I am really concerned that it might be held behind the closed doors. Of course, we will all fight for an open for public trial. We count on support of many organizations: OSCE, EU. Bialiatski’s situation is rather complicated. It’s clear he will be found guilty. The trial against him will take place for sure. He is facing from five to seven years in prison. However, there is still a chance of suspended sentence.“ – said Stefanovich.

Ales Bialiatski, the head of human rights center „Viasna“ shut down by the Belarusian authorities and the vice-president of FIDH (international federation of human rights defenders), has been imprisoned since August 4th, 2011. He is accused of large-scale tax evasion, based on documents handed to the Belarusian prosecution by Polish and Lithuanian officials. Bialiatski is now studying his case files, and the trial is expected to begin at the end of October.


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