Belarus. 10 years imprisonment for the 60-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Dr. phil. Ales Bialiatski.

Ales Bialiatski, Dec. 2014, CC BY-SA 3.0 pl

His last words in court:“This civil war must end! I hope you will hear me”

The International Society for Human Rights urges the EU to intensify support for the Belarusian democracy movement.

This is not only necessary for moral reasons, but also strengthens the negotiating position of the Ukrainians against Putin’s Russia.

In the summer of 2020, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in Belarus. We remember the overwhelming images of peaceful mass protests in the red and white colors of the democracy movement. It almost seemed as if this mass movement could undergo a historical change.

But with Putin’s backing and quick injections of billions, the Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko managed to maintain and expand his surveillance- and police state.

The peaceful demonstrators were brutally clubbed, monitored, hounded and locked away.

“We will hunt them down and we will find them all,” Lukashenko reorted to Putin. Tens of thousands have had to flee their homes and under Lukashenko there is no turning back.

“Viasna”, the human rights organization founded by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Bialiatski with the leader of the democracy movement, Svetlana Tichanovskaya, has since been in the Belarusian exile stronghold of Lithuania.

Ales Bialiatski and Swetlana Tichanowskaja, 2020, cc Viasna

While Viasna and its representatives were showered with honorary awards for their democratic commitment from the western world, Lukashenko eradicated any possibility of free expression of opinion in Belarus. Today it is not even possible to wear red and white striped socks without the police taking the “suspects” away for questioning.

With the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine on February 24th, 2022, the Western world had to and must concentrate on this historic catastrophe, and the courageous democracy movement in Belarus lost voice.

For years now, 1,500 political prisoners have been sitting in Belarusian prisons. And if Putin and Lukashenko have their way, their lives will be sealed here behind bars, because what does 18 years in prison mean for the 45-year-old husband of Svetlana Tichanovskaya, the father of their two children? Or 11 years in prison for the 41-year-old music Pedagogue Maria Kolesnikova?

The trauma that Lukashenko inflicts on the Belarusian people with the targeted support of Putin is getting heavier by the day and has long since become unbearable.

In this respect, the presentation of the highest award that the western world has to offer, the Nobel Peace Prize, to Ales Bialitski on December 10 last year was a ray of hope for everyone.

Ales Bialiatski, 3.3.2023, Lenin-court, Minsk

But while Putin’s regime in Ukraine has been responsible for the worst European catastrophe since the Second World War for more than a year, his stattholder in Belarus is once again sending a scornfully diabolical signal to the EU: “10 years in prison for Nobel Peace Prize laureate Ales Bialistki”.

The renewed outcry of the civilized world must not again fade away now!

The EU urgently needs to intensify its support for the Belarusian democracy movement, and not just for moral reasons, strengthening it also weakens the Putin regime.