Why is the Nobel Peace Prize 2022 in prison?

Ales Bialiatski is the founder and president of the Center for Human Rights Viasna and former Vice President of the International Federation for Human Rights. He was also a leader of the democratic movements that emerged in the country during the 1980s. This year he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Ales Bialiatski received the award for his “fearless work in promoting human rights in the country,” according to the announcement of the Nobel Committee. The activist is currently in prison. He was arrested on July 14, 2021 as part of a criminal case. Bialiatski faced the accusation of “tax evasion”.

On September 26, 2022, it became known that the criminal charges of “tax evasion” against Valiantsin Stefanovich, Ales Bialiatski, Uladzimir Labkovich and other members of Viasna were retired.

However, Bialiatski, Labkovich and Stefanovich were not released from custody, as they were charged with “smuggling”. It was argued that they “illegally moved cash across the customs border of the Eurasian Economic Union in large quantities by an organized group.” With “funding it is known that the State claims remain for the same amount of money, which appeared in the charges for tax evasion”.

The three imprisoned activists now face 7 to 12 years of prison. A group of United Nations human rights experts has called for the activist to be released from jail in Belarus.

BIALIATSKI WAS ARRESTED IN 2011, FOR THE FIRST TIME

Bialiatski was arrested in 2011, for the first time. Last year he was again stopped. In the statement, the speakers criticize what they call a “serious accountability gap for gross human rights violations in Belarus.” For now, they have greeted the solidarity of the international community and all efforts to seek justice in the case.

The UN group expressed its concern for the arbitrary detention of Bialiatski on July 14, 2021. And it was classified as a policy to silence defenders of the human rights in Belarus and eradicate civil space for demonstrations in the country.

The group also reminded the authorities of Belarus the obligations that the country has with human rights and called for the release of all defenders detained for reasons politicians.

In turn, they expressed their sadness at the continuation of Bialiatski’s imprisonment and at the new accusations that include the possibility of a judgment up to 12 years old.

The speakers concluded the statement by saying that the long sentences given to human rights defenders symbolize the abuse of the judicial system and the impunity with which the Belarusian authorities act. N

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Why is the Nobel Peace Prize 2022 in prison?