23 January 2018, Tuesday, 19:19

Front Line Defenders: Tax Office presses on human rights activists


Human rights activist Tatyana Ravyaka faces the risk of judicial harassment in connection with Ales Byalyatski's case.

Tatyana Ravyaka filed a tax return covering the period from 2004 to 2010 in which no irregularities were found. Tatyana Ravyaka is the president of the Belarusian Human Rights House and a council member of the Human Rights Centre Viasna, which is headed by Ales Byalyatski.

Tatyana Ravyaka learnt during the questioning in the  Pershamaiski district tax office that tax officers received information from Ales Byalyatski's criminal case 'from higher authorities' regarding money transfers between his bank account and Tatyana Ravyaka's account with a Lithuanian bank.

The criminal investigation against Ales Byalyatski for 'tax evasion' was opened on the basis of information about his bank accounts submitted by Lithuania and Poland to the Belarusian authorities. Despite the fact that the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has officially refuted the information submitted and that during the court hearing several witnesses and documents sent by donor organisations proved that the money received in those accounts was for the purpose of financing the human rights programs of the HRC Viasna, the court decided to consider all the sums received to be personal assets of the defender.