Belarusian PEN member, writer and prominent human rights defender Ales Bialiatski was arrested on 14 July 2021 and has been held in pre-trial detention in Minsk since 17 July. Bialiatski is chairman of the Human Rights Center Viasna, a leading human rights organisation whose work and members have been repeatedly targeted by the Belarusian authorities. Bialiatski faces up to seven years in prison on trumped-up charges of tax evasion, under Article 243 (2) of the Criminal Code of Belarus. A date for his trial hearing has yet to be set.
PEN International believes that Ales Bialiatski is being targeted for his human rights work, and for exercising his right to peaceful assembly and expression. The organisation calls for his immediate and unconditional release and for all charges against him to be dropped.
TAKE ACTION: Please send appeals to the Belarusian authorities, calling on them to:
- Release Ales Bialiatski immediately and unconditionally, and drop all charges against him;
- Pending his release, ensure that he is provided with regular communication with his family, lawyers and adequate health care;
- Abide by their international human rights obligations and uphold the rights to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly.
Send appeals to:
Role: Prosecutor General of the Republic of Belarus
Address: Vul. Internatsianalnaya 22, 220030 Minsk, Belarus
Email: [email protected]
Role: Minister of Foreign Affairs
Address: Vul. Lienina, 19, Minsk 220030, Belarus
Email: [email protected]
Send copies to the Embassy of Belarus in your own country. Embassy addresses may be found here.
Please reach out to your Ministry of Foreign Affairs and diplomatic representatives in Belarus, calling on them to raise Ales Bialiatski’s case in bilateral fora.
***Please send appeals immediately. Check with PEN International if sending appeals after 31 January 2022. ***
Please inform PEN International of any action you take and any responses you receive. Messages can be sent to Aurélia Dondo, Europe Programme Coordinator: [email protected]
Please send messages of solidarity to:
Ales Bialiatski (Аляксандру Віктаравічу Бяляцкаму)
SIZO-1, vulica Valadarskaha 2
The prison administration is more likely to accept messages if written in Russian. Please find a model letter below:
Dear Ales, we stand with you and celebrate your work and courage. We will keep advocating for your freedom.
Дорогой Алесь, мы c вами! Мы невероятно ценим ваш труд и мужество! Мы будем и дальше бороться за вашу свободу!
PEN members are encouraged to:
- Publish articles and opinion pieces in your national or local press highlighting the case of Ales Bialiatski and the state of freedom of expression in Belarus;
- Share information about Ales Bialiatski and your campaigning activities via social media. Please use #FreeViasna.
Please keep us informed of your activities.