New assault on the Belarusian Viasna Human Rights Centre
First the Lukashenko regime imprisons human rights defender Ales Bialiatski, now they take away his organization’s premises. A Minsk court has ordered the confiscation of the flat holding the Viasna Human Rights Centre to take the part counting as the property of the imprisoned head of the organization who was sentenced to 4.5 years in 2011.
According to Valentina Stefanovich from Viasna the court order was passed on 4 July and sent to the penal colony where Bialiatski is being held. She says that the flat belongs to Ales Bialiatski, though according to Belarusian law it is the joint property of Ales Bialiatski and his wife Natalia Pinchuk.
They can still appeal against the ruling which has not yet come into force, and so for the moment Viasna will continue to work from this arrest.
In November 2011 49-year-old Ales Bialiatski, Head of the Viasna Human Rights Centre and Vice-Director of the International Federation for Human Rights, was convicted in connection with accounts opened and used to transfer money from abroad to Belarus to help victims of political repression, since Viasna was officially dissolved by the Belarusian regime in 2003.
There was outrage and consternation when it was discovered that both the Lithuanian Justice Ministry and the Polish Prosecutor General’s Office gave information about accounts to the Belarusian authorities.
There has been widespread condemnation from democratic countries and NGOs of Ales Bialiatski conviction. In December leading Belarusian human rights organizations named Ales Bialiatski Human Rights Defender of the Year, and he has been nominated by the Slovak Prime Minister for the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize.
New information from the Polish Gazeta Wyborcza