Statement of ADC “Memorial” in defense of Ales Bialiatski, Chair of the Human Rights Center “Viasna”, arrested on 4 August 2011 in Minsk.

During our 15 years of cooperation with the Belarusian Human Rights Center “Viasna”, we have known our colleagues and partners – human rights defenders from Viasna – as outstanding, brave and honest professionals. This counts in particular for Ales Bialiatski, Chair of the Center.

It is clear to us that in the present atmosphere of political non-freedom, including repressions and persecutions in response to any criticism towards the authorities in Belarus, the persecution of Ales Bialiatski is political. The criminal charges against him are a fabrication and a way to obstruct the human rights defender’s professional activities that are regarded unacceptable by the authorities.

We are convinced that under the current difficult political and economic conditions in which the people of Belarus find themselves, only fair criticism and honest work on upholding the universal principles of human rights can protect people from political violence and oppression.
It was exactly this work that was conducted for many years by Ales Bialiatski and his colleagues from “Viasna” and exactly for this reason that this organization has been exposed to ongoing prosecutions and repressions, and finally now its chairman is deprived of his freedom. All those in support of justice in Belarus, in the surrounding region and in Europe as a whole, should do the utmost for the prompt release of Ales Bialiatski, the continuation of the work of “Viasna” and the end of political repressions by the Lukashenko regime.

ADC “Memorial”, on its part, expresses absolute and unconditional
support for the principle and courageous position of Ales Bialiatski. We
don’t doubt his full innocence and we demand from the authorities of
Belarus to immediate liberation of this human rights defender, clearing
him of  all the charges and allowing the continuation of human rights work of Center “Viasna” and all human rights defenders of the Republic of Belarus. Political persecutions must stop.

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