Press release
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Mr. President,

I am writing to you to call for the immediate and unconditional release of and the dropping of all charges against the FIDH Vice-President Mr. Ales Bialiaski, also President of the Human Rights Center «Viasna», who was sentenced yesterday by the Pervomaiski District Court of Minsk to 4,5 years of strict regime detention and confiscation of his property, including the offices of «Viasna» on charges of « serious tax evasion ».

Mr. Bialiatski, through his legitimate human rights activities, has always defended the rights of the victims of human rights violations in utmost transparency. He was judged on the basis of irrelevant proof material and testimonies in the framework of a political trial initiated by the KGB, in order to stop his human rights activities and those of his organisation Human Rights Center Viasna.

M. Bialiatski has been arbitrarly detained since the day he was arrested, on 4 August 2011.
I was appalled to hear that, during his trial, Mr. Bialiatski has been targeted with a massive difammation campaign operated through the state control media, depicting him as the public enemy and a traitor for the nation.

I urge the Belarusian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release our Vice-President, to abandon all the charges against him, and to allow the people of Belarus to enjoy their human rights according to international law. The systematic suppression of human rights activities tarnishes the image of Belarus.

You will find enclosed FIDH Press Release of 24 November 2011, the Press Releases and Urgent Appeals of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders1, dated 24 November 2011, 9 November 2011 and 9 August 2011, which condemn both the arbitrary detention and condemnation of Mr. Bialiatski and the massive public media campaign targeting him.

I strongly hope that you will take these requests and considerations into account.

Yours sincerely,

FIDH President

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