Belarus court convicts Noble Peace prize winner Alex Bailiatski to jail for 10 year.
“Smuggling by an organised group” and “financing group actions grossly violating the public order” are the charges bestowed upon Alex Bailiatski by the Belarus court on which he is sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment. The move has been criticised by the human rights organisation as “grossly unjust” and “politically motivated”.
After the re election of the President, Alexander Lukashenko, Bailiatski the co founder of the Viasna human rights group and has been at the centre of protest that gripped Belarus against the long term leadership of Alexander.
Last October, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on human rights and democracy, sharing it with Russian rights group Memorial and Ukraine’s Center for Civil Liberties. Bialiatski remained in prison during the Nobel ceremony and his wife accepted the award in his behalf.
A pro-democracy activist since the 1980s
A scholar of Belarussian literature, school teacher and museum director, Bialiatski has been involved in pro-democracy protests since the 1980s. He was an ardent campaigner for Belarussian independence from the Soviet Union in the early 1980s, organising anti-Soviet protests across the country.
However, while Belarus declared independence in 1990, its hopes of becoming a robust democracy were short-lived. In 1994, Alexander Lukashenko was elected Belarus’s first president in the country’s first and, according to experts, only free election after independence. He has served as president ever since.