Updated at 14:13,22-06-2018

Byalyatski: KGB consciously works against human rights defenders, using any methods


Head of the Human Rights Center "Viasna" Ales Byalyatski made ​​the last statements in a court on November 23.

Human rights defender said, he agreed with the arguments of the advocate Dmitry Laevsky.

- I'm in a difficult situation, as soon as I understand this case has a political subtext from beginning to end, and our statements have the status of a voice shouting in a desert. But, nevertheless, I have what to say, - Radio Liberty quotes Byalyatski. - And I'll start with that, my friend gave me to read an old book about Soviet KGB acting against human rights defenders in the USSR. 40 years have passed, but these 3 months I feel that I returned to the USSR. But this reincarnation took place at some other level.

Byalyatski stated, he didn't believe that KGB and other state services don't know, what "Viasna" does.

- If they see us as a source of funds for the opposition, this is a fault and unprofessional. I don't believe it. KGB knows what we are doing in Belarus and consciously, purposefully works against human rights defenders, using any methods.

Byalyatski reminds, that about 400 institutions in total were closed by the authorities, and "Viasna" was not registered even after the decision of the UN Human Rights Council, as well as the fact that in 2006 a criminal liability for activities on behalf of unregistered organization was introduced.

In 2011, the real pursuit of "Viasna" and me as the chairman was organized. In Belarus, an authoritarian power has been established, and the authorities don't see a place for human rights defenders, - said the defender. - A lot of my friends were fired and are prosecuted administratively or in other ways. The authorities prosecute political opponents, restrict civil and political rights and impede the development of civil society. The authorities don't tolerate criticism, prosecute journalists and human rights activists.

According to Byalyatski, the government's actions contradict both the Constitution of Belarus and international treaties. He enumerates the human rights according to the Constitution and international treaties.

- Why did you sign this declaration? Leave the UN and the OSCE, and it will be clear where we are, - Byalyatski appealed to the prosecutor as a representative of the state.

- The state violates the rights of ordinary citizens, and these processes are political in nature. According to relations of the authorities with human rights defenders one can judge a democratic character of the country.

Byalyatski mentions Uzbekistan, where dozens of human rights defenders are in prison, Russia, where in the Caucasus defenders are simply killed, and compares with the situation in Belarus.

- I'm glad, there were a lot of talks about "Viasna", because without an understanding of human rights defenders' work in Belarus, the court may not understand the motives and actions, which were considered here.

Byalyatski tells about the goals of "Viasna". One of the main tasks of human right defenders is to help victims of political repressions. During this time they have helped thousands of people.

- We have a quite high reputation, and all these awards which were voiced here, is an evidence of the dramatic situation that has developed in Belarus. This is international signal of Belarus, that something needs to be changed.

All these years we have carried out public campaigns against the death penalty, for free elections, we observed the elections of 2008 and 2010. We have participated in human rights missions in other countries, participated in international election observation.

In many respects we are saving the honor of Belarus before the international community.

Byalyatski considers illegal the acts of tax inspectorate and feels absolutely innocent: "In 2011 I was able to go abroad, but I didn't do it. For 30 years I've been in human rights activities".

The speech by the head of "Viasna" ended with prolonged applause.

We remind, on November 23 the prosecutor asked the court to sentence Ales Byalyatski, accused of tax evasion, to 5 years of imprisonment to be served in maximum security colony with confiscation of property. He asked to exact from the human rights defender the full amount of damage caused to the state.

The sentence of Byalyatski will be pronounced at 11:00 on 24 November.