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06-01-2023 | Edited News

OHCHR Belarus Bialiatski Trial - 06 January 2022

ENG

STORY: Belarus Trial Of Ales Bialiatski - OHCHR

TRT: 1 min 38s

SOURCE: UNTV CH

RESTRICTIONS: NONE

LANGUAGE: ENGLISH/NATS

ASPECT RATIO: 16:9

DATELINE: 6 January 2023, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

 

 

SHOTLIST 

  1. Wide, UN Geneva flag alley.
  2. Wide, press room, podium speakers seated.
  3. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) Jeremy Laurence, spokesperson, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR): “We are gravely concerned by the trial of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Ales Bialiatski which started in Belarus on Thursday. Bialiatski faces up to 12 years in jail. Two other representatives of his Viasna Human Rights Center are also facing prison sentences. We have serious concerns about the conduct of their trial.”
  4. Medium, participant holding microphone, speaker to rear.
  5. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) Jeremy Laurence, spokesperson, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR): “The trio are among hundreds detained after a violent crackdown on anti-government protests back in 2020. We call for the charges against them to be dropped and their immediate release from detention.
  6. Close, participant resting hand on chin, looking down.
  7. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) Jeremy Laurence, spokesperson, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR): “Suffice to say that we consider these to be arbitrary arrests - constitute arbitrary detention - and the charges are simply politically motivated.”
  8. Medium, participant’s hands typing on laptop keyboard.
  9. Medium, podium speaker, side shot.
  10. Medium, participant seated behind laptop, looking at screen, then looking up.
  11. Close, blurred laptop screen, focus shifts to podium speaker.

Belarus: UN rights office raises concerns over trial of Nobel laureate Ales Bialiatski

The trial of Belarusian rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Ales Bialiatski is “simply politically motivated” and he should be released, the UN human rights office, OHCHR, said on Friday.

Mr. Bialiatski, a veteran rights campaigner and founder of Viasna (or “spring”) civil society group, was arrested in July 2021 on tax evasion charges, along with two other activists, and reportedly held in dreadful conditions in a prison in Minsk. Their trial began on Thursday.

“We are gravely concerned by the trial of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Ales Bialiatski which started in Belarus on Thursday. Bialiatski faces up to 12 years in jail,” said OHCHR spokesperson Jeremy Laurence.

“Two other representatives of his Viasna Human Rights Center are also facing prison sentences. We have serious concerns about the conduct of their trial….We call for the charges against them to be dropped and their immediate release from detention.”

The appeal from the UN rights office comes amid increasing concerns about tightening legislation in Belarus that restricts civil and political rights, that have followed violent crackdowns against protesters who contested the result of presidential elections in August 2020.  

Hundreds of thousands of Belarusians have reportedly left the country in the last two years, “an unprecedented number are fleeing persecution and prospects for a safe return under the current leadership grow bleaker”, said Anaïs Marin, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus, in an alert last year.

Speaking to journalists in Geneva, Mr. Laurence insisted that the UN rights office was following the case closely and remained in “constant engagement” with the Belarusian authorities. “Suffice to say that we consider these to be arbitrary arrests - constitute arbitrary detention - and the charges are simply politically motivated,” he added.

In previous appeals for the release of Mr. Bialiatski, senior rights experts who report to the Human Rights Council described his arrest as “part of an unfolding policy to silence human rights defenders and eradicate the civic space in Belarus”.

Mr. Bialiatski had been carrying out “legitimate human rights work” when he was detained, the experts said, before reminding Belarusian authorities of their obligations to uphold human rights and the immediate release of all rights activists detained on politically motivated grounds.

ends


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