Second Anniversary of the Arrest of Ales Byalyatski

Press Statement
Marie Harf
Deputy Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
August 2, 2013

August 4 marks the second anniversary of the arrest of Ales Byalyatski, Chairman of leading Belarusian human rights organization Vyasna and a winner of the Department of State’s 2011 Human Rights Defender Award. Byalyatski provided legal and practical support to victims of political repression and their families, and catalogued human rights violations. He is currently serving a four and a half year prison sentence for his efforts. We honor Byalyatski’s work to protect the weak and uphold the highest standards of human rights despite harassment by Belarusian authorities.

We reiterate our call on the Government of Belarus to immediately release Byalyatski and all political prisoners and restore their civil and political rights. We look forward to a day when enhanced respect for democracy and human rights in Belarus allows us to improve bilateral relations.

PRN: 2013/0957