Belarusian dissident Ales Byaljacki in court in Minsk, January 5, 2023.
Prague – Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS) condemned today's verdict of the court in Minsk, which sent the Belarusian dissident, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and defender of human rights, Ales Byaljatsky, to ten years in prison. The head of the Czech government called on the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, to release the political prisoners in his country. Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský (Pirates) also called the sentencing of Byaljacki and other fighters for human rights in Belarus the height of cynicism and another act of injustice by Lukashenko's regime.
“The court in Minsk today sentenced the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Ales Byalyaksky to ten years in prison. He also sent other co-accused to long years in prison. I strongly condemn the political trials of the Lukashenko regime. I call on President Lukashenko to release the political prisoners,” wrote Fiala on Twitter.
The head of Czech diplomacy said that the condemnation of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and head of the human rights organization Vyasna and other activists for human rights in Belarus is the height of cynicism and another act of injustice committed by the Lukashenko regime. “But the truth cannot be silenced,” Lipavský added.
In addition to Bjaljacki, the judge also sentenced three of his associates to seven, eight and nine years in prison, one of them in absentia. They were punished for “cash smuggling by an organized group” and financing the protests that broke out against the authoritarian regime in the summer of 2020 after the authorities again declared Lukashenko the winner of the presidential election. According to the opposition, the elections were falsified, the West refused to recognize Lukashenko's legitimacy. The defendants denied guilt and described the trial as politically motivated.
Bialjacki won the Nobel Peace Prize last year together with the Russian Memorial organization, famous for exposing the crimes of communism and protecting human rights, and the Ukrainian Center for Civil Liberties, which, among others, dedicated to investigating potential Russian war crimes in Ukraine. Under Bialyakky, his wife had to accept the award, because the Belarusian dissident was already in prison. Byalyaksky's friends see the trial as revenge for the Lukashenko regime. According to human rights defenders, there are now about 1,500 political prisoners in Belarusian prisons.
In 2005, Bjaljacki won the Homo Homini award of the People in Need organization, which was presented to him by former Czech President Václav Havel. In 2013, the Belarusian activist became the first recipient of the international Václav Havel Prize for Human Rights, which is awarded by the Council of Europe in cooperation with the Václav Havel Library and the Charter 77 Foundation.