(CNN) — Belarusian Ales Beliatski, winner of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize , was found guilty of the charges by a Minsk court on Friday and sentenced to 10 years in prison in a maximum-security penal colony, the agency reported. Russian news outlet TASS. He was found guilty of the smuggling charge, according to TASS.
Bialiatski, a pro-democracy activist, has documented human rights abuses in Belarus since the 1980s. In 1996 he founded the organization Viasna, or Spring, after a referendum consolidated the authoritarian powers of the president and close Russian ally , President Alexander Lukashenko.
- Human rights defenders in Ukraine, Russia and Belarus win the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize
The activist was arrested in 2020 amid widespread protests against the Alexandr Lukashenko regime.
Germany criticized the sentence
Germany criticized the decision imposed on Bialiatski, calling it an attack by Minsk on civil society.
On Twitter, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called the charges and trial against Bialiatski and co-defendants Valentin Stefanovich and Vladimir Labkovich a “farce”, adding that they were being tried “simply for their years-long fight for rights, dignity and freedom of people in Belarus”.
“The Minsk regime is fighting civil society with violence and imprisonment,” Baerbock said, adding that “this is as much a daily shame as Lukashenko’s support for Putin’s war (in Ukraine).”
Baerbock called on Belarus to end political persecution and demanded the release of all more than 1,400 political prisoners.
France says the sentence was “motivated by political considerations”
France also condemned the ruling as “clearly motivated by political considerations.”
“This sentence testifies once again to the unprecedented repressive policy carried out by the Belarusian authorities against the peaceful protest movement that emerged after the fraudulent vote for the presidential elections on August 9, 2020,” reads a statement published this Friday.
France “calls on the Belarusian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release and rehabilitate Mr. Beliatski, as well as all political prisoners in Belarus,” the text added.
Who was Valentina Trespalacios, the DJ victim of a murder in Colombia?
The tanks of the West will soon arrive on the battlefields in Ukraine. How do they compare with the Russians?
The founder of FTX has been charged with eight criminal offenses, including fraud and conspiracy.