Nobel Peace Prize laureate sentenced to ten years in prison
The human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Ales Bialiatski, was sentenced this Friday to 10 years in prison by a court in Belarus, his country of origin. He was found guilty of financing protests and the crime of smuggling. His sentence will have to be served in a maximum security prison in Minsk.
Bialiatski, 60, received the Nobel Prize in October 2022 for his fight for human rights and democracy in Belarus, where the former Soviet agrarian chief Alexander Lukashenko, who is a staunch ally of Russia, has been in power for almost 30 years. Lukashenko is known for locking up his opponents or forcing them to flee the country.
Along with Bialiatski, three other human rights activists They were convicted of smuggling and financing collective actions that violate public order.
According to information shared by European media, the Belarusian authorities claimed that the activists had been acting as part of an organized crime group since 2016 in order to use the Viasna Center and other organizations for illegal activities.
The Belarusian state news agency Belta confirmed to international media that Bialiatski denied the charges against him.
I am persecuted for political reasons.
The Belarusian opposition leader, who is in exile after being persecuted in her country and who ran for the Belarusian presidency in 2020, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, claimed that Bialiatski and the other three activists were wrongfully convicted. He called the verdict "appalling."
"We must do everything we can to fight this shameful injustice and free them," he said on Twitter, while asked the international community unite in solidarity in the defense of Bialiatski and the other activists.
The other three convicted were Valentin Stefanovichsentenced to nine years, Vladimir Labkovichto seven years, and Dmitry Solovyovto eight years, but who was not present at the trial.
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