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Ales Belyatsky wins Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize

Ales Belyatsky, Belarusian human rights activist has become the laureate of the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize, awarded for the first time by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

Mr Belyatsky is the head of the Human Rights Centre Vesna and Vice-President of the International Federation for Human Rights. In November 2011, he was sentenced to four and a half years in a high-security colony. Charges were pressed against him for alleged possession of large amounts of money in foreign bank accounts. The prize was collected on his behalf by his wife, Natalya Pinchuk.

“In his daily struggle against violations of human rights, injustice, arbitrariness and authoritarianism, Ales Bialiatski has worked ceaselessly so that the citizens of Belarus may one day aspire to our European standards.” said Jean-Claude Mignon, PACE President, during the awards ceremony.

The other nominees were the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association, which has been protecting the rights of religious, ethnic and sexual minorities since 1994, and the Chinese human right organisation “The Rights Defence Network”.

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