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Bialiatski should be set free, says OSCE Chairperson

DUBLIN, 24 January 2012 – The OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Irish Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Eamon Gilmore, expressed regret today that prominent Belarusian human rights defender Aliaksandr (Ales) Bialiatski was not freed on appeal.

“A person should not be prosecuted for protecting human rights. This case is an unfortunate reflection of the state of human rights in Belarus and a result of the restrictions imposed on freedom of association in the country,” he said. “I urge the Belarusian authorities to immediately release Ales Bialiatski and all other civil society activists, and political opponents.”

Bialiatski,  Vice-President of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and Head of the Belarusian Human Rights Centre “Viasna”, was convicted on 24 November 2011 on tax evasion charges and sentenced to four-and-a-half years in an enhanced regime detention camp, with property confiscation.

“The continued erosion of human rights in the country is very worrying. By persecuting human rights defenders and limiting the freedom of association, Belarus is falling short of its OSCE commitments,” said the OSCE Chairperson.

Original sourse: http://www.osce.org/cio/87183

News of Belarus

Tough sentences announced to Brest antifascists

A verdict was delivered today in the case of Brest antifascists acused of participation in a group fight with neonazis which happened on May 8, 2013.

Antifascists were tried under the art. 339.3 (malicious group hooliganism) and 147.2 (malicious bodily harm). The case was qualified as malicious due to the fact of pepper spray usage in the fight.

Dzmitry Stsyashenka got 5 years of penal colony with reinforced regime (339.3) and 500 euro of damages to be paid to the injured nazis.

Exclusive: European Union moves to suspend sanctions on Belarus

The European Union is likely to lift some sanctions on Belarus, including its travel ban on President Alexander Lukashenko, after he freed a group of political prisoners last month, diplomatic sources say.

An arms embargo against the former Soviet republic would remain. But in an overture to the man the West calls Europe's "last dictator", diplomats are looking at suspending visa bans and asset freezes on most of around 200 people under sanctions for rights abuses, some since disputed elections in 2004.