Ales Bialiatski, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, has reportedly been sent to a notoriously harsh jail in Belarus. According to his wife, he hasn't been heard from in a month.
Bialiatski, serving a 10-year sentence, was sent to the N9 repeat offender colony in Gorki, where prisoners are assaulted and forced to perform harsh labour. This is according to Natalia Pinchuk, who spoke to The Associated Press. Since then, Bialiatski has been cryptic about what happens there.
"The authorities completely isolate Ales from the outside world and subject him to intolerable conditions. He hasn't written me a single letter in a month, and he hasn't received any of mine, either," Pinchuk stated over the phone.
In March, a court declared 60-year-old Bialiatski and three of his colleagues guilty of funding operations that violated public order and smuggling. Bialiatski is Belarus' leading human rights champion and one of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize candidates.
It was the most recent action in a long-running campaign against dissent that has gripped the nation since 2020.
Since his arrest in 2021, Bialiatski has spent 20 months inside, and Pinchuk worries about his declining health.
She stated, "I see how his writing technique has changed in the latest letters, and I see how his condition is getting dangerous for him, both in terms of his health and his visual abilities, and I am very concerned about it." She pleaded with the UN to get involved.
Bialiatski and three coworkers were severely depressed for widespread demonstrations over the 2020 election. This granted autocratic President Alexander Lukashenko a second term.
Since 1994, the nation has been controlled ironically by Lukashenko, a close supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Lukashenko supported Russia's Ukraine invasion. Over 35,000 people were detained, and police physically assaulted hundreds during the most significant demonstrations Belarus has ever seen in 2020.
According to the Bialiatski-founded Human Rights Centre Viasna, all four activists remain innocent. Together with the Ukrainian Centre for Civil Liberties and Memorial, a well-known Russian human rights organisation, he was awarded the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize.
So far, Viasna has recorded 1,516 political prisoners in Belarus. Advocates for human rights claim that many live in intolerable conditions intentionally by the government.
Viktar Babaryka, an imprisoned former presidential candidate beaten up in his cell and sent to a hospital, has been absent for 28 days. For the past 100 days, Nikolai Statkevich, a well-known opposition leader serving a 14-year sentence, has not been heard from.
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