Updated at 11:30,08-12-2016

Beliatski Gets Special Award from Polish Foreign Ministry

December 12, in Warsaw, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland hosted the awards ceremony of the head of the Belarusian human rights center Viasna, Ales Beliatski, who got a special award of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs "Pro Dignitate Humana".

The opposition leader's wife, Natalia Pinchuk, received the award from the head of department, Radoslaw Sikorski. This was reported by press-secretary of the Polish Foreign Minister, Marcin Bosatsky.

According to the Polish Foreign Ministry, Ales Beliatski received the award for "outstanding attitude and unwavering commitment to human rights and human values". "Let the award "Pro Dignitate Humana" to become a symbol of support for other human rights defenders around the world", said the spokesman.

On November 24, Pershamaiski court in Minsk passed a sentence upon vice-president of the International Federation of Human Rights, chairman of the Human Rights Centre Viasna, Ales Beliatski. The court found him guilty of tax evasion and sentenced him to 4.5 years in jail with confiscation of property.

November 4 (the third day of trial), Ales Beliatski pointed to clients of the criminal case against him. "I declare that this case was initiated and carried out with obvious political overtones to prosecute members of the human rights center Viasna, in particular me, for human rights activities," he said in court.

Numerous international human rights organizations, as well as the EU leadership, the U.S. and the EU member states showed concern about such a harsh sentence.