Updated at 16:11,02-12-2016

Imprisoned rights defender Byalyatski prohibited from meeting with relatives

The administration of a correctional institution in Babruysk, where Ales Byalyatski is serving his prison sentence, has prohibited the prominent human rights defender from seeing his relatives on August 15.

Mr. Byalyatski’s family were to visit him on that day, but the conjugal visit has now been cancelled, activist Valyantsin Stefanovich told BelaPAN.

The cancellation of the short-term visit is punishment for two minor violations committed by Mr. Byalyatski. In violation of prison rules, he set up a curtain to separate his bunk from others’ and tried to take a piece of bread out of the facility’s canteen after dinner, Mr. Stefanovich said.

Mr. Byalyatski has also been prohibited from receiving food from his family because of the violations.

On November 24, 2011, Mr. Byalyatski, leader of a human rights group called Vyasna and vice president of the International Federation for Human Rights, was sentenced to four and a half years in prison on a charge of large-scale tax evasion. The charge stemmed from information about his bank accounts abroad, which was thoughtlessly provided by authorities in Lithuania and Poland under interstate legal assistance agreements. 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 subject to taxation.