European Union Statement on Belarus

10 November 2011

The European Union is gravely concerned about the arrest, detention and prosecution for alleged concealment of income of renowned Belarusian human rights defender Ales Byalyatski, founder and head of the Centre for Human Rights ‘Viasna’ and vice president of the International Federation for Human Rights.

‘Viasna’ for a number of years has been  promoting human rights in Belarus, providing support and assistance for victims of political repressions, including legal assistance in the aftermath of the presidential elections in 2010. 

The EU considers the prosecution of Mr  Byalyatski to be politically motivated. The funds under his custody were in fact  for ‘Viasna’’s human rights work in Belarus, not his personal use. They  could not be officially declared because Belarus has repeatedly refused to register  ‘Viasna’ as an NGO. During his trial, no evidence was presented to substantiate the claim that the funds were for his personal use or criminal activity.

The EU, which is following the trial of Mr Byalyatski closely, is concerned that a number of members of international NGOs who were going to observe the trial of Mr Byalyatski have been denied visas. The trial of Mr Byalyatski fits into a broader picture of widespread repression of, and increasing restrictions on, the activities of civil society, human rights defenders and the political opposition in Belarus. Such actions of the authorities of Belarus, which have escalated dramatically since the presidential elections in December 2010, are not in line with OSCE commitments and international human rights standards.

The European Union calls on the Belarusian authorities to immediately release Mr Byalyatski and to drop all charges against him. The EU also reiterates its call for the immediate release and rehabilitation of all political prisoners.

The candidate countries CROATIA*, the FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA*,  MONTENEGRO* and ICELAND**, the countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and
potential candidate countries ALBANIA, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA and SERBIA, the  European Free Trade Association country NORWAY, member of the European Economic Area, align themselves with this statement.

*Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
**Iceland continues to be a member of the EFTA and the European Economic Area.

Original source:

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.

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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.