Supervisory appeal of Ales Bialiatski turned down

As it became known today from a letter of the Head of the Human Rights Center "Viasna", vice-president of the International Federation of Human Rights Ales Bialiatski to his wife, the chairman of the Minsk City Court dismissed the supervisory complaint filed by the human rights activist and his lawyer against the verdict of the Pershamaiski Dstrict Court of Minsk and the ruling of the panel of judges of the Minsk City Court.

Bear in mind that on 24 January Minsk City Court upheld the verdict to Ales Bialiatski – 4.5 years in a maximum-security colony with confiscation of assets for "concealment of income on a large scale" (Article 243, Part 2, Criminal Code ), passed on 4 November 2011 by the Pershamaiski District Court of Minsk. The sentence was left unchanged, though a receipt for compensation of the financial loss, allegedly inflicted by Ales Bialiatski (757 526 717 rubles, about 70,000 Euro), was presented at court.

As it became later, at the beginning of April, on 29 March the Pershamaiski District Court of Minsk granted the civil lawsuit of the Pershamaiski District Tax Inspection concerning the exaction of 140,000 rubles of fine from Ales Bialiatski for the untimely payment of the sum of the taxes. The lawsuit was granted despite the fact that the sum which was paid by the human rights defender in January was indexed because of the inflation and increased more than two times. Neither Ales’s colleagues nor his family knew anything about this trial – the court ruling was sent by Bialiatski to his wife Natallia by mail. The trial was held in the absence of Bialiatski, and the judgment states: "The defendant didn’t appear at court as he is kept in prison. He was duly notified of the time and place of the court proceedings." The new financial pretensions to Ales Bialiatski created artificial legal obstacles to any mitigation of his penalty including release on parole and amnesty.

This verdict was also appealed to the review instance of the Minsk City Court, but the appeal was turned down, which means that Bialiatski will have to pay this means, too.

The verdict of the head of the Minsk City Court will be soon appealed at the Supreme Court.

Bear in mind that the criminal case against Ales Bialiatski was based on the bank information presented to the Belarusian authorities by the Ministry of Justice of Lithuania and the General Procuracy of Poland. The data concerned the accounts, opened by Mr. Bialiatski in foreign banks to receive financial support for activities of the Human Rights Center “Viasna”. The Belarusian authorities considered it as concealment of personal income on an especially large scale and charged him of concealing assets.

The imprisoned human rights defender is serving his term in penal colony #2 in Babruisk.

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.