18 January 2018, Thursday, 4:52

Lithuanian Justice Ministry: No contacts with Belarus, and none planned


There are no political contacts, legal contracts, exchanges of delegations with Belarus now, and none are planned.

It has been stated by Justice Minister of Lithuania Remigius Simasius, commenting to the BNS agency on the verdict to Belarusian human rights activist Ales Byalyatski issued on November 24.

“My attitude to the verdict is negative. How else could I assess the verdict many details of which show that it is a politically motivated trial, not a legal procedure?” Simasius said. “Information received from Lithuania, has been withdrawn, and to our mind, no one had a right to use it in a court trial, but it was used.”

The head of the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry Audronius Azubalis has stated that Lithuania will nominate Byalyatski for the Nobel Peace Prize. He expressed regret that official Minsk had used information received from Lithuania in such a way. “I am sure that Byalyatski’s name in the near future is to become the symbol of freedom and democracy in the same way as Aung San Suu Kyi from Burma, Nelson Mandela from South Africa, and Andrei Sakharov from Russia. And as the practice and historical experience show, regimes’ fight with such symbols is simply hopeless,” Azubalis stated.

Ales Byalyatski, the vice president of the International Federation for Human Rights, leader of Viasna human rights centre closed by the authorities, was arrested on August 4. The reason for the criminal prosecution of the human rights activist was information about his accounts in foreign banks offered to the Belarusian authorities by the Justice Ministries of Lithuania and the General Prosecutor’s Office of Poland in the framework of agreements on legal assistance.

After Byalyatski’s arrest authorities of Lithuania and Poland publicly apologized to him and his family, and also stopped contacts with Belarus in the framework of agreements on legal assistance saying that the Belarusian authorities use legal cooperation for reprisals over their opponents.

Before the court trial over Byalyatski began, the Justice Ministry of Lithuania officially annulled information about his bank accounts passed to Minsk. However exactly this information was the grounds for the guilty verdict to the human rights activist.

We remind that on November 24 the court of Pershamajski district of Minsk sentenced Byalyatski to 4.5 years’ imprisonment with confiscation of property. The human rights activist was found guilty under Article 243 Part 2 of the Criminal Code (tax evasion on an especially large scale).