Updated at 17:25,07-01-2021

The human rights advocate Ales Belyatski accused of tax evasion

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The Head of Human Rights Center "Viasna" Ales Belyatski was detained by the Department of Financial Investigations of the Committee of State Control on August 4 in Minsk. The apartment and the country house of the human rights advocate, as well as the "Viasna" office was searched.

As Ales Belyatski has managed to inform his colleagues, he is incriminated to "concealment of income on a large scale." Perhaps this is the part 2 of Article 243 of the Criminal Code of Belarus (evasion of taxes and fees on a large scale), the maximum penalty for which includes imprisonment for up to seven years with the confiscation of property.

The formal reason to arrest Belyatski became the assistance, including the material one, which was provided by "Viasna" to the victims of repressions in Belarus, says the lawyer Vladimir Labkovich.

Belyatski's arrest has prompted the outcry as that of the Belarusian society and International Organizations also. This morning the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania issued the statement, where they expressed they strong protest against the detention of Ales Belyatski and also towards the actions against the organization that he leads. "Lithuania, together with partners in the European Union will take further steps to release political prisoners in Belarus," - said in the statement of the Foreign Ministry.

The Head of the European Pariament Jerzy Buzek expressed his surprise at the new round of pressure on the Human Rights Centre "Viasna" and personally at the Ales Belyatski's case. He urged the Belarusian authorities to release the human rights advocate, and together with him the other political prisoners also.

The press service of the State Control Committee refused to comment upon Belyatski's detention.