In Belarus, the state prosecution requested 12 years in prison for Nobel Peace Prize winner, chairman of the human rights center “Viasna” Ales Byalyatsky, 11 years in prison for his deputy Valyantsin Stefanovich and 9 years for coordinator of the “Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections” campaign Vladimir Labkovich. It is reported by “Vyasna”.
The prosecutor demanded ten years in prison for Dmitry Solovyov, who left Belarus. He is tried in absentia.
Human rights activists are accused under articles on smuggling money and financing group actions that grossly violate public order.
Bialiatski, Stefanovich and Labkovich have been in detention since July 14, 2021. “Viasna” notes that in total in the case of Byalyatsky, Stefanovich, Labkovich and Solovyov there are 283 volumes of 300 pages each – this is a record number of materials on the political process. In addition, there are about 100 witnesses in the case, and 120 searches were carried out throughout the country.
According to the prosecution, human rights activists, “acting as part of an organized group”, from April 4, 2016 to July 14, 2021, cashed out money that allegedly came from “various structures and funds” to the bank accounts of the human rights center “Viasna”. After that, according to the prosecution, they “illegally” transported the cashed money to Lithuania across the customs border of the Eurasian Economic Union – in total, at least 201,000 euros and 54,000 dollars were exported in stages “without declaring”.
According to the materials of the case, “they, in the indicated composition, as well as with other persons, deliberately prepared citizens for participation in group actions that grossly violate public order, as well as financing and material support for such actions under the guise of human rights and charitable activities, including from named after HRC “Viasna”, unregistered fund “BY_HELP”, from May 2020 to July 14, 2021″.
In particular, human rights activists are accused on the following counts:
- payment of fines for individuals “brought to account on the basis of court decisions that have entered into legal force for administrative offenses related to violation of public order and the management order established in the country; other offenses committed in connection with protesting against the actions of state bodies of the Republic of Belarus “;
- payment of monetary compensation to such persons for the funds they spent on paying fines;
- payment instead of some persons who “have committed the named administrative offenses, bills for meals in places of serving penalties in the form of administrative arrests”;
- payment for the work of lawyers, “including for the defense in criminal proceedings of a number of persons recognized as suspects and subsequently brought in as defendants in criminal cases related to a gross violation of public order, protesting against the actions of state bodies of the Republic of Belarus.”
For his active position and human rights work, Ales Byalyatsky was tried more than 20 times: first in the Byelorussian SSR, and then in modern Belarus. He was nominated five times for the Nobel Peace Prize for the same thing – political struggle and human rights. On October 7, 2022, Byalyatsky was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, which was presented to his wife Natalia Pinchuk on Human Rights Day.
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