The Belarusian human rights defender, who has been in prison since August 4, 2011, was re-elected as Vice President of the International Human Rights Federation (FIDH) during its 38th Congress in Istanbul.
Ales Bialiatski, Head of Human Rights Centre Viasna (spring) was sentenced to 4.5 years of imprisonment and seizure of property for alleged tax evasion. The fact of his holding bank accounts in Poland and Lithuania gave the grounds for criminal prosecution. The cash standing to the credit of accounts was used for human rights defence activity: the centre financially supported the people affected by Lukashenka’s regime. In court Bialiatski stated that he had no other possibility of getting financial aid from foreign backers.
The Belarusian authorities confiscated Viasna’s office as well because the apartment where the human rights defenders had worked for 12 years belonged to Ales Bialiatski. Over the years of its existence thousands of people have visited the office and got help; press conferences and seminars having been held there.