On Friday, a Belarus court sentenced Noble Peace Prize winner Ales Bialiatskti to 10 years of imprisonment in regard to charges of smuggling and financing of group protests along with other crimes.
For the 2021 anti-government protests, Bialiatskti and three other co-defendants were sentenced to long terms in prison while he denied all charges against him. Valentin Stefanovich, Vladimir Labkovich, and Dmitry Solovyov were the other co-defendants who received Opposition leaders who claimed this judgment to be unfair.
Human rights activist, Bialiatskti, is also the co-founder of the human rights group Viasna. His organization was found to have a significant role in offering monetary and legal assistance to those arrested during the concerned protests.
As a scholar and avid campaign driver for Belarussian independence, Bialiatskti has been behind many anti-Soviet protests and has a wide support network among human rights activists. Many human rights organizations remark that the case is unjust and politically motivated.
Bialiatskti recently became a Nobel laureate in 2020 for his contribution and worked on human rights and democracy. His wife, Natallia Pinchuk, accepted this award on his behalf as he was in prison during the award ceremony.
The Belarus court case is not the first time Bialiatskti has been behind bars. He was earlier imprisoned in concern with Viasna’s funding and tax invasion charges between 2011 and 2014 and later arrested in 2021 during anti-government protests.