Updated at 11:30,08-12-2016

Byalyatski to be removed from jail in Zhodzina for transfer to prison in a couple of days

Ales Byalyatski is expected to be removed from a jail in Zhodzina, Minsk region, in a couple of days for transfer to a correctional institution to serve his prison sentence, the human rights defender’s associate, Valyantsin Stefanovich, told BelaPAN on Wednesday.

On Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Byalyatski’s associates traveled to Zhodzina to deliver a parcel for him.

"Jail officials accepted the parcel, which means that Byalyatski was still in Zhodzina", said Mr. Stefanovich. "But they also said that we should not deliver more parcels. It suggests that Byalyatski will soon be removed from the jail for transfer to a prison. They, however, would not disclose it".

"The good news is that Ales received the largest parcel possible ahead of his transfer", he said. "And as soon as Ales arrives in a correctional institution, he will immediately be entitled to a new parcel".

On November 24, 2011, a judge of the Pershamayski District Court in Minsk sentenced Mr. Byalyatski, the 49-year-old leader of a human rights group 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.

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 therefore could not be viewed as his income.
Mr. Byalyatski`s appeal was rejected by the Minsk City Court on January 24.