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Ales Belyatsky comes to Poland!

The Stefan Batory Foundation and the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights are delighted to announce a meeting with Ales Belyatsky, a Belarusian human rights defender, and recently released political prisoner. Maria Przełomiec will be moderating the event.

The meeting is scheduled for Thursday, 10 July, at 10.00 am at the Stefan Batory Foundation (ul. Sapieżyńska 10a, Warsaw, Poland).

What does Ales Belyatsky think of Poland after he was detained for 1052 days following a wrong decision of the Polish prosecution service? Was his unexpected release a continuation of the “step forward, step back” pattern in relations between the European Union and Belarus or the beginning of a new policy? What were the reasons behind this decision? Was it a response to the situation in the Ukraine or the Russian policy towards it? What do the recent events mean for the Belarusian society and the observance of human rights in this country? How will it affect the situation of non-governmental organisations in Belarus? Our guest will be answering these and other questions from the audience.

Ales Belyatsky was released from prison on 21 June 2014 under the amnesty announced to “commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Belarus from fascist invaders”. Mr Belyatsky will be visiting Poland for the first time since he was arrested on 4 August 2011 under the pretext of financial fraud. Information which served the basis for Ales Belyatsky’s sentence of four and a half years in a high-security colony and property forfeiture had been provided to Belarusian authorities by the Polish prosecution service and the Lithuanian Ministry of Justice. Polish non-governmental organisations were fighting for Ales Belyatsky’s release from the moment he was detained.

For over 25 years Ales Belyatsky has been supporting victims of political repression and opposing human rights violations in Belarus and other countries. He is the founder and head of the human rights defence organisation Vesna established in 1996. Since 2007 Mr Belyatsky is Vice President of the International Human Rights Federation whose mission is to defend human rights across the world. In 2013 he was the first laureate of the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize awarded for outstanding civil society action in defence of human rights. His candidacy was put forward by 31 Polish organisations from the “Zagranica” Group and organisations from Poland and Belarus.

A simultaneous translation from Belarusian into Polish will be provided throughout the meeting.

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