Ales Bialiatski, distinguished human rights defender, president of Viasna Human Rights Centre of Belarus and Vice President of FIDH was released this Saturday, 21 June after nearly three years in prison.
He was at last granted amnesty which had been refused for two consecutive years on the pretext of “multiple violations of the detention regime”. The Belarus regime is still arbitrary, even when it grants a release…
“It is the support I received from all of you, all the national and international intervention from the day I was arrested that made it possible for me to be released today” said Ales upon arrival in Minsk.
Ales Bialiatski was arrested on 4 August 2011 on the grounds of “large-scale tax evasion” and sentenced, on 24 November 2011 to four and a half years of confinement in a very severe penal colony, for his activities in defence of human rights.
Immediately after his arrest FIDH launched an international campaign to obtain his release, in particular through the site freeales.fidh.net, and a few days ago called for his immediate, unconditional release in an address before the United Nations Human Rights Council.
“Today is a great day, a day of immense joy for all of us, but we think with indignation of the three years spent behind bars under very severe condions”, said Karim Lahidji, President of FIDH. “Ales is free again, at last, bringing great hope to all human rights defenders who are still incarcerated throughout the world. We will continue our fight for all of them so that they too may be free, and for the political prisoners still in jail in Belarus.”
Last March, FIDH launched a campaign called #ForFreedom to accelerate the release of arbitrarily detained human rights defenders throughout the world, and will remain more active than ever in providing support for human rights defenders the world over.
Ales will hold a press conference in Minsk on Monday 23 June that will be retransmitted by streaming onto the FIDH site.