Updated at 17:11,20-07-2018

Trial of Ales Byalyatski to begin on November 2

Belarus News

The trial of Ales Byalyatski will begin at 10 a.m. on November 2, the human rights defenders associate, Valyantsin Stefanovich, told BelaPAN on Thursday.

The case will be heard by Judge Bandarenka of the Pershamayski District Court, but the hearing will take place in the building of the Maskowski District Court, where there are large courtrooms, Mr. Stefanovich said. This means that the trial is going to be open to the public, he noted.

The criminal case against the 49-year-old leader of a human rights group called Vyasna (Spring), who is also vice president of the International Federation for Human Rights, was referred to the court on October 4.

Mr. Byalyatski has been held in a detention center in Minsk since August 4.

On August 12, he was formally charged with large-scale tax evasion, an offense that 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. Byalyatskis bank accounts abroad, which was provided by authorities in a number of European countries.

Mr. Byalyatskis associates insist that the money in his bank accounts abroad should not be viewed as his personal income, as it was contributed by various foundations and intended to finance Vyasnas activities.