Belarus: Rights activist jailed for tax evasion
Friday 25 November 2011
A leading human rights activist was convicted of tax evasion and sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison yesterday at a trial condemned by many as politically motivated.
Ales Belyatsky, 49, heads Vesna, Belarus's most prominent rights group, which reported on alleged irregularities in last December's presidential election. The election, in which Alexander Lukashenko won another term, was criticised by international observers. Mr Belyatsky's group provided legal assistance to those arrested in the ensuing protests.
The verdict was read out to cries of "Shame" from the courtroom. "My case is politically motivated," Mr Belyatsky said. "I'm fighting for human rights, but now I feel like a voice crying in the desert." He was charged with tax evasion after Polish and Lithuanian authorities provided data about his overseas accounts. Vesna says the accounts had to be used to get cash from donors because Belarusian law left him no other option.
The US embassy in Minsk condemned the verdict and urged Belarusian authorities "to release Belyatsky and all political prisoners". The European Union's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton deplored the sentence as "clearly politically motivated".
- 2 Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
- 3 Lady al-Qa’ida: On the trail of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, the world’s most wanted prisoner
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 It's not just the savagery of Isis that is shocking – its weaponry is too
YouTube video posted by Isis militants shows 'execution of 250 Syrian soldiers'
Keira Knightley topless: Conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
Sir Paul McCartney makes his stance on Scottish independence known
PM sets out tough new anti-terror measures in response to heightened threat
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
- < Previous
- Next >
£30000 - £33000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Junior SQL DBA...
£35000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Web Develop...
£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...
Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - This is a very unusual law c...