Ales Bialiatski: Nobel Prize-winning activist sentenced to 10 years in jail

A court in Belarus has sentenced Nobel Peace Prize winner Ales Bialiatski to 10 years in prison.

He was convicted of smuggling and financing “actions grossly violating public order”, the Viasna human rights group said.

Supporters of Mr Bialiatski, 60, say that the authoritarian regime of Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko is trying to silence him.

Mr Bialiatski was one of three winners of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize.

He was arrested in 2021 following massive street protests over widely disputed elections that kept Belarus’s long-time leader in power the previous year.

Demonstrators were met with police brutality and Lukashenko critics were regularly arrested and jailed during the demonstrations, which started in 2020.

Mr Bialiatski was in court alongside two fellow campaigners, Valentin Stefanovich and Vladimir Labkovich.

Mr Stefanovich was sentenced to nine years in prison, while Mr Labkovich received seven years, according to rights group Viasna, which Mr Bialiatski founded in 1996.

All three had earlier pleaded not guilty.

Belarus’s exiled opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya said the sentencing was “simply appalling”.

“We must do everything to fight against this shameful injustice and free them,” she said.

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