On July 17, after three days of arrest in a criminal case, Byalyatski was not released from jail, reports the human rights center Viasna.
Ales Byalyatski is the head and founder of the Human Rights Center Viasna, former vice-president of the International Federation for Human Rights.
During his 25 years in the field, Ales Byalyatski has received numerous prizes and awards: the Swedish Per Unger Award in 2006, the Andrei Sakharov Freedom Prize, the Homo Homini Award presented by Vaclav Havel, the 2011 Diploma for Courage and Fight for Freedom, the Best Human Rights Defender of the Year Award, the Norwegian Writers Union Award for Freedom of Speech, the 2012 US State Department Award, Lech Wałęsa, the Petrie Kelly Prize in recognition of his activities in defending human rights in Belarus, in 2013 the Vaclav Havel Prize from PACE, in 2019 the Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law, in 2020 the Sakharov Prize for a Decent Life and together with others the Sakharov Prize. He has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize five times. Ales is the author of several books.
Byalyatski has previously been a political prisoner. On August 4, 2011, he was arrested after Lithuania and Poland provided information to the Belarusian authorities about his bank accounts on their territory. Byalyatski was accused of concealing income on a large scale. On November 24, 2011, he was sentenced to 4.5 years in a reinforced regime colony with confiscation of property by Pershamaiski district court of Minsk. He pleaded not guilty, saying that all the money from the accounts was used for human rights activities. Countries of the European Union, the U.S., and international human rights organizations recognized him as a political prisoner and his sentence – politically motivated. He served his sentence in jail in Zhodzina and the colony in Babruisk. He was released on amnesty.
Three Viasna activists remain behind bars: Ales Byalyatski, Valyantsin Stefanovich, and Uladzimir Labkovich. Ulad’s wife, Nina Labkovich, is also in custody.