17 January 2018, Wednesday, 7:59

Ales Byalyatski receives letters of support from around the world


A human rights activist has no time to answer all letters.

“We don't receive many letters from Ales Byalyatski now, because he has no time to answer. I am happy when I have a letter from him,” human rights activist Anastasia Loika said to charter97.org.

She says Ales Byalyatski cannot answer all people who sent him birthday greetings due to his work:

“He writes he has no news and no radical changes. He doesn't have enough time, because he, a 5-year-old man, has to work eight hours a day in prison. Ales manages to read and answer letters from around the world. He says he would like to reply to all those who sent birthday greetings to him.”

The head of Viansa human rights centre jokes there's enough space for everyone in the penal colony. “He writes many people were released on amnesty. They have only 100 inmates in the unit. He says even some of the top bunks are empty,” Anastasia Loika noted.  

Ales Byalyatski does not regret he had not fled abroad when he had information about his possible arrest:

“He says it's better in the home country than abroad. We all know that before Ales was arrested, human rights activists had information that details on his bank accounts had been disclosed. He understood what he would face, but he didn't leave the country as a matter of principle. He returns to this theme and writes he does not regret. He says he has like-minded people around him.”

The prominent Belarusian human rights activists monitores events in the Belarusian culture, Anastasia Loika says:

“He writes about the books he reads and advises what to read, writes book reviews. He says he would like to watch In the Fog film based on Vasil Bykau's story that became the winner of Listapad film festival. He tried to keep up with cultural life. I think it makes him stronger.”

It should be reminded that head of Viasna human rights centre Ales Byalyatski was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison in November 2011. He was found guilty of alleged tax frauds. The human rights defender didn't admit his guilt and said all money on his accounts was spent on human rights activity.

Criminal prosecution of Byalyatski started after Lithuania and Poland disclosed information about his bank accounts to official Minsk. The EU, the US and international human rights groups recognised Byalyatski as political prisoner and called his sentenced politically motivated. They urge the Belarusian authorities to immediately release and rehabilitate the human rights activist.