Updated at 11:30,08-12-2016

Poland will help compensate Byalyatski's family for confiscated property, foreign minister says

Poland will help compensate the family of jailed human rights defender Ales Byalyatski for their confiscated property, Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said in Poznan, Poland, on November 29 during a meeting of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum.

It was rumored that the Polish embassy in Minsk had refused to provide such assistance.

Mr. Sikorski said that he had recently talked to Mr. Byalyatski's wife, and that Poland was trying to help her in a way that would not cause her harm.

The European Union may extend its list of citizens of Belarus subject to travel bans and asset freezes to include those responsible for the imprisonment of Mr. Byalyatski, he warned.

The Third Annual Meeting of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum began on November 28 and will last until November 30.

Twenty-four representatives of various non-governmental organizations and also a special guest representing a human rights organization called Vyasna are taking part in the meeting on behalf of Belarus.

On Tuesday, many members of the Belarusian delegation wore T-shirts featuring an image of Mr. Byalyatski.

On November 24, Judge Syarhey Bandarenka of the Pershamayski District Court in Minsk sentenced Mr. Byalyatski, the 49-year-old leader of a human rights organization called Vyasna (Spring) and vice president of the International Federation for Human Rights, to four and a half years in prison on a charge of large-scale tax evasion and made a confiscation order against him.

The charge stemmed from information about Mr. Byalyatski`s bank accounts abroad, which was provided by authorities in Lithuania and Poland. During his trial, Mr. Byalyatski insisted that the money transferred by various foundations to his bank accounts abroad had been intended to finance Vyasna's activities and had not been used for personal spending.