Minsk, 22 August. Not a single demonstration in support of arrested human rights defender Ales Byalyatski has been permitted in Belarus.
As Mr. Byalyatski's associate, Uladzimir Labkovich, told BelaPAN, earlier this month activists in 18 cities applied to the local authorities for permission to stage the demonstrations. Most of the events were scheduled for August 22.
Mr. Byalyatski met with his lawyer in the detention center on Valadarskaha Street on August 19. "It turned out that Byalyatski had not been given letters addressed to him. He had not yet received any letters from either his wife or us," Mr. Labkovich said.
Mr. Byalyatski, the 48-year-old leader of the Vyasna human rights group and vice president of the International Federation for Human Rights, was arrested in Minsk on August 4.
On August 12, he was formally charged with large-scale tax evasion. Under Part Two of the Criminal Code’s Article 243, the offense carries a penalty of a “restricted freedom” term of up to five years or a prison term of three to seven years.
The charge stems from information about Mr. Byalyatski’s bank accounts abroad, which was provided by authorities in a number of European countries.
Mr. Byalyatski’s associates insist that the money in his bank accounts abroad should not be viewed as his income, as it was contributed by various foundations and intended to finance Vyasna’s activities.