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Belarus: UPDATE - Human rights defender Ales Bialiatski accused of tax evasion and pre-trial detention extended
On 12 August 2011, human rights defender Ales Bialiatski was officially accused of "tax evasion on a particularly large scale" under Article 243 (2) of the Belarusian Criminal Code, a crime which carries a prison sentence of up to seven years, and confiscation of all property. Following the official accusation, Ales Bialiatski's pre-trial detention period was extended by a further two months.
On 11 August 2011, the Polish Ministry for Foreign Affairs confirmed that Ales Bialiatski's Polish bank account details had been disclosed to the Belarusian authorities by the Polish General Prosecutor's Office.
Human Rights Centre 'Viasna' along with other human rights organisations in Belarus launched a petition campaign calling for the release of Ales Bialiatski. A demonstration in support of Ales Bialiatski is scheduled to take place on 22 August 2011 in seventeen towns across Belarus.
Ales Bialitski was arrested on 4 August 2011, following the disclosure of his Lithuanian bank account details by the Lithuanian Ministry of Justice to the Belarusian authorities. The information was shared, within the framework of bilateral agreements between Belarus and Lithuania on Legal Aid and Legal Relations in Civil, Family and Criminal Matters. His Lithuanian bank account statement included the transfer of funds from several international governmental and non-governmental organisations who are donors of Human Rights Centre 'Viasna'. Similar information was disclosed about Valiatsin Stefanovich, another member of Human Rights Centre 'Viasna'.
For further information on this case, please consult the original Front Line appeal available at the Previous Appeal on this case