Ales Bialiatski held in dark basement cell by Belarus, we warn UN Human Rights Council
Right Livelihood Laureate Ales Bialiatski is being held in a dark, semi-basement section of a Belarusian prison, Right Livelihood and Laureate organisation Human Rights Center “Viasna” warned the UN Human Rights Council on Friday, drawing attention to Belarus’ ongoing crackdown on political dissidents.
Delivered during the 51st session of the Council, our joint statement warned that Belarusian authorities were “systematically detaining anyone who exercises their civil rights.” That includes 387 people who were arrested in the last month alone.
Political prisoners are often held amidst inhumane conditions, which could amount to torture. These include overcrowded cells, beatings, no access to showers and being barred from receiving family visits.
“Ales Bialiatski, founder of Human Rights Center ‘Viasna’, is being held in the ‘special corridor,’ a semi-basement floor with poor access to light and has been severely restricted in his correspondence,” the statement said.
We also noted that he would be spending his 60th birthday on Sunday, September 25, in such appalling conditions.
Once arrested, political prisoners are also held in pre-trial detention for lengthy periods of time, we noted.
“It is the case of human rights defenders Marfa Rabkova and Andrei Chapiuk, sentenced on September 6 to 15 and 6 years respectively on trumped-up charges, almost two years after their arrests,” the statement said.
We urged the Council to “keep the matter under scrutiny” and continue urging Belarus to immediately and unconditionally release all political prisoners.