Ales Bialiatski is a prominent human rights defender in Belarus and the chairman of the organization Human Rights Centre Viasna. He was arrested on 4 August 2011 and imprisoned on 24 November 2011 for four and a half years. Amnesty International believes that his imprisonment is intended to prevent him working to defend human rights and considers him to be a prisoner of conscience.
Ales Bialiatski was imprisoned for using his personal bank accounts in Lithuania and Poland to support his organization’s human rights work in Belarus. The Belarusian authorities have refused to register Human Rights Centre Viasna since 2003. As a result, the organization is barred from opening a bank account in its name in Belarus, so it had no choice but to use bank accounts in neighbouring countries to fund its human rights work.
Ales Bialiatski did not receive a fair trial. Some of the evidence presented was unauthenticated or anonymous. The questioning of some witnesses did not relate to the charges, but instead to the human rights activities of Ales Bialiatski and the witnesses themselves.
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