Ales Bialiatski, Chair of the Human Rights Centre Viasna, was detained in Minsk last night. The human rights activist’s apartment and summer house as well as the Viasna office were raided.
Markus Löning, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy, issued the following statement today (5 August):
“The German Government demands that human rights activist Ales Bialiatski be set free immediately. This action is evidently intended to forcibly silence a committed representative of Belarusian civil society. The German Government condemns this abuse of the criminal code for political goals in the strongest possible terms.
The repression of opposition NGOs and their activists must end and political prisoners in Belarus must finally be released.”
The Human Rights Centre Viasna was founded in 1996 and officially registered in 1999. Its government registration was withdrawn in 2003. Since then, all the organization’s efforts to reregister have failed. Viasna is one of the leading human rights organizations in Belarus. Since the beginning of the recent wave of repression, the centre has made a name for itself by supporting political prisoners and their families.