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European Commission


Strasburg, 2 July 2014

EU-Belarus: Meeting with Ales Bialiatski in Strasbourg

Strasbourg (2 July) – Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle met with prominent Belarusian human rights activist Ales Bialiatski in Strasbourg on Wednesday. Mr Bialiatski who is President of the Viasna Human Rights Centre of Belarus was released from prison 20 months ahead of schedule on 21 June after 1052 days of arbitrary detention in harsh conditions, including serving periods of solitary confinement.

"It is such a relief and joy for me that you are finally free after all those years of unjust and unfair imprisonment. We never accepted the legitimacy of the trial against you and the verdict with prison sentence," Commissioner Füle told Mr Bialiatski during their meeting in the European Parliament in Strasbourg. "Now, it is important that you could join your family, take rest and recover and I hope that you will be soon able to continue your work for a better Belarus," he added.  

Ales Bialiatski, was arrested on politically motivated charges and sentenced to four and a half years of imprisonment in a high security prison in November 2011 for his human rights related works and his activities in support of victims of repression in Belarus.

Commissioner Füle recalled that any positive change in the EU's relations with the Belarusian authorities depends on the improvement of human rights and the unconditional release and rehabilitation of all political prisoners.

See video from the meeting here:

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