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  • UN experts call for immediate release of jailed Nobel winner and other rights defenders in Belarus

    GENEVA (10 October 2022) - UN experts* today reiterated calls for the release of Ales Bialiatski after the Nobel Committee’s decision to symbolically award him the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize for his fearless work promoting human rights in Belarus.

    Ales Biali­ats­ki found­ed the Belarus human rights group Vias­na or “spring” in 1996. Biali­atsky was first jailed in 2011 and, in 2021, he was detained again with­out charge. Sev­er­al of Bialiatsky’s Vias­na col­leagues also remain behind bars.

    “There is a seri­ous account­abil­i­ty gap for gross vio­la­tions of human rights law in Belarus, and we wel­come the sol­i­dar­i­ty of the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty and all efforts based on inter­na­tion­al law to per­sist in seek­ing jus­tice,” the experts said.

    The UN experts have raised con­cerns about Bialiatski’s arbi­trary deten­tion since 14 July 2021, call­ing it part of an unfold­ing pol­i­cy to silence human rights defend­ers and erad­i­cate the civic space in Belarus.

    The experts remind­ed Belaru­sian author­i­ties of their oblig­a­tions to uphold human rights and called for the imme­di­ate and uncon­di­tion­al release of all human rights defend­ers detained on polit­i­cal­ly moti­vat­ed grounds.

    “We are dis­mayed at the ongo­ing arbi­trary deten­tion of Ales Biali­ats­ki and the new charges which entail a sen­tence of up to 12 years in prison, brought against him for legit­i­mate human rights work,” the experts said.

    “Long prison sen­tences hand­ed down to human rights defend­ers are emblem­at­ic of the abuse of the jus­tice sys­tem and the impuni­ty with which Belaru­sian author­i­ties act,” the experts said.

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