Ales Byalyatski given 4.5 years in medium security penal colony


He was found guilty and sentenced to 4.5 years in a medium security penal colony with confiscation of property. He also must pay 721 million rubles of damage and 36 million rubles of state tax, reports.

Judge Syarhei Bandarneka said the court “found Byalyatski guilty of tax evasion at an especially large scale”.

The judge stressed that “the guilt of the defendant has been proven in full”. He noted the court took into account the character and degree of social danger of the committed offence, the size of the damage and personality of the defendant and came to a conclusion that the punishment must be “imprisonment and confiscation of property without the right to carry out any activity”.

The court thinks Byalyatski’s damage to the state was Br721.45mn rubles (adjusted for inflation). Under the court ruling, the human rights activist must pay Br36 million rubles of state tax. Byalyatski is given a month to pay off the sum voluntary. The judge noted that property, also registered by other persons, must be repossessed.

Bandarenka added that the decision of the Pershamaiski district court of Minsk on Byalyatski’s case can be appealed against to the Minsk City Court within ten days.

A correspondent of Interfax-Zapad news agency reports people in the courtroom met the sentence with shouts “Shame!”, “Long live Viasna!” and clapped to the prosecutor leaving the courtroom to show their displeasure. Human rights activist Tatsyana Ravyaka raised a big poster with portrait of Ales Byalyatski and inscription “Freedom for Ales Byalyatski, Vice President of the International Federation for Human Rights”.

As reported earlier, state prosecutor Valery Saikouski asked the court to sentence Byalyatski to five eyrs in a medium security penal colony with confiscation of property without depriving him the right to practise a profession.