Wave of defamatory articles in Belarusian press about Ales Bialiatski
As the trial continues of Ales Bialiatski, Head of the Viasna Human Rights Centre and Vice-Director of the International Federation for Human Rights, the authorities would seem to be using the media to try to malign the human rights defender. The charges against him of tax evasion are widely seen throughout the world as trumped-up. Ales Bialiatski was authorized by Viasna to open accounts in Poland and Lithuania in order for the Human Rights Centre to receive money to carry out its work, helping victims of repression. Viasna itself was unable to have such accounts since it had been officially dissolved by the authorities.
A number of prominent human rights organizations were planning to attend the trial, but their representatives were refused visas.
Now the Belarusian media have begun publishing scurrilous articles asserting that Ales Bialiatski had deceived the Belarusian people and did not pay his taxes, for which he is now being punished. They write fiction about how he supposedly lived it up on the money from abroad.
There seems little reason to go on. Such stories can only have any effect in conditions of censorship and State control over the media.
From the report at: http://spring96.org/ru/news/47174