Viasna, one of the main human rights NGOs in Belarus, has been forcibly evicted from their premises in Minsk. On Monday, representatives of the Ministry of Justice and the police closed Viasna’s office space and sealed off the premises.
This is another result of the case against prisoner of conscience Ales Bialiatski, whose trial was universally declared as unfair. He is the chair of Viasna and Vice-President of the International Federation for Human Rights. Part of his punishment, in addition to a four and a half year prison sentence, is a fine and the confiscation of Viasna’s office.
“This is yet another blatant disregard of the Parliamentary Assembly’s calls to the authorities of Belarus to stop harassing civil society and human rights defenders,” said Andres Herkel, Parliamentary Assembly Council of Europe (PACE) rapporteur on Belaru. “Meanwhile, Ales Bialiatski, Viasna’s Chairman and a human rights defender, is still in jail, where he is subject to ill-treatment, despite repeated calls to the authorities to free and rehabilitate all political prisoners in Belarus.”
The staff at Viasna remain steadfast in their mission, however.