Alies Bialiacki Shortlisted for Sakharov Award

The European Parliament shortlisted three candidates for the annual Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

Ales Bialiatski, Pussy Riot and Nasrin Sotoudeh and Jafar Panahi are the three finalists shortlisted for the 2012 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in a Foreign affairs Committee and Development Committee vote on Tuesday. The laureate will be announced on Friday, 26 October following a decision of the Conference of Presidents.

The three finalists were chosen from 5 nominations made by political groups or groups of more than 40 MEPs. Ales Bialiatski was nominated by Polish MEP Jacek Sariusz-Wolski and 82 other MEPs. “I think this candidate is very close to the message of Sakharov himself; which was to recognise people who dedicate their lives to fighting for others, forgetting the price that they themselves pay, which may even include the price of life itself”, said Jacek Saryusz-Wolski (EPP, PL).

In November, 2011 Head of Viasna Human Rights Center was sentenced to 4.5-year confinement in a medium security penal colony and confiscation of property for alleged large-scale tax evasion.
The fact that Ales Bialiatski was holding a bank accounts in Poland and Lithuania gave the grounds for criminal prosecution. The money that were kept on foreign accounts were used for human rights defence activity since Viasna financially supported people victimized by Lukashenka’s regime. In court Bialiatski stated that he had no other possibility of getting financial aid from foreign donors. Opening accounts in Belarus turned out to be impossible since the Belarusian authorities repeatedly denied an official registration to Viasna Human Rights Center.

Other political prisoners