Nobel Peace Prize winner handed 10-year prison sentence in Belarus  – National

A Belarusian courtroom on Friday sentenced Ales Bialiatski, Belarus’ high human rights advocate and one of many winners of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize, to 10 years in prison.

Bialiatski and three different high figures of the Viasna human rights heart he based had been convicted of financing actions violating public order and smuggling, Viasna reported Friday.

Valiantsin Stefanovich was given a 9-yr sentence; Uladzimir Labkovicz seven years; and Dzmitry Salauyou was sentenced to eight years in prison in absentia.

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Bialiatski and two of his associates had been arrested and jailed after huge protests over a 2020 election that gave authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko a brand new time period in workplace. Salauyou managed to depart Belarus earlier than he was arrested.

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Lukashenko, who has dominated the ex-Soviet nation with an iron fist since 1994, unleashed a brutal crackdown on the protesters, the biggest in the nation’s historical past. Greater than 35,000 folks had been arrested, and 1000’s had been overwhelmed by police.

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Through the trial, which passed off behind closed doorways, the 60-yr-previous Bialiatski and his colleagues had been held in a caged enclosure in the courtroom. They’ve spent 21 months behind bars because the arrest.

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Within the pictures from the courtroom launched Friday by Belarus’ state information company Belta, Bialiatksi, clad in black garments, appeared wan, however calm.

Viasna mentioned after the decision that each one 4 activists have maintained their innocence.

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In his last tackle to the courtroom, he urged the authorities to “cease the civil struggle in Belarus.” Bialiatski mentioned it grew to become apparent to him from the case recordsdata that “the investigators had been fulfilling the duty they got: to deprive Viasna human rights advocates of freedom at any price, destroy Viasna and cease our work.”

Exiled Belarusian opposition chief Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya denounced the courtroom verdict on Friday as “appalling.” “We should do all the things to battle towards this shameful injustice (and) free them,” Tsikhaouskaya wrote in a tweet.

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee, a non-governmental group working to make sure that human rights are revered in apply, mentioned that it was “shocked by the cynicism behind the sentences that had been simply issued to our Belarusian mates in Minsk.”

”The trial exhibits how Lukashenka’s regime punishes our colleagues, human rights defenders, for standing up towards the oppression and injustice,“ Secretary Normal Berit Lindeman mentioned in a press release.

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