Nobel Peace Prize Winner Ales Bialiatski Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison by Belarus Court

Ales Bialiatski, Belarus’s top human rights advocate and Nobel Peace Prize winner, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.[0] The sentence was handed down by a court in Belarus on Friday, and is drawing condemnation from human rights organisations and the German Foreign Minister.

Bialiatski was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in October 2022, alongside the Russian human rights organization Memorial and the Ukrainian organization Center for Civil Liberties, for his work on human rights and democracy.[1] He is the founder of Viasna, the authoritarian country’s most prominent human rights group.[2]

Valiantsin Stefanovich, Bialiatski’s deputy, was sentenced to nine years in prison, while Uladzimir Labkovich, the group’s lawyer, received a seven-year sentence.[3] Two other members of the Bialiatski-led Viasna Human Rights center received sentences of one-and-a-half to four years in prison.[4]

The Nobel Peace Prize committee said that the award was to honour champions of “peaceful coexistence” during the most tumultuous period in Europe since the second world war.[5]

Bialiatski was charged with smuggling cash into Belarus to fund his group’s activities and is widely recognised as being persecuted for his opposition to Lukashenko.[5] He has documented human rights abuses in Belarus since the 1980s, and has been a leader of the democracy movement in Belarus in the mid-1980s.[6]

Exiled Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya slammed the sentencing of Bialiatski and other activists in the same trial as “appalling”.[7] German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock also described the charges as a “farce”, saying the trio were being punished “simply for their years-long fight for the rights, dignity and freedom of people in Belarus.”[8]

Rights organizations report that approximately 1,500 political prisoners are held in Belarus, most of whom were arrested after the 2020 protests were suppressed. These protests began when Alexander Lukashenko, a long-time leader, announced his re-election in elections which were deemed fraudulent by the West and the opposition in Belarus.[9]

U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh called on Belarus to release six trade union leaders imprisoned there on charges that their supporters say are political.[10]

0. “Belarus activist sentenced to 10 years in jail” msnNOW, 3 Mar. 2023,

1. “Belarusian human rights activist and Nobel Prize winner Ales Bialiatski sentenced to 10 years in prison” Meduza, 3 Mar. 2023,

2. “Belarus jails Nobel Peace Prize-winning activist Ales Bialiatski” AOL, 3 Mar. 2023,

3. “Belarusian Nobel Prize winner Bialiatski sentenced to 10 years in jail” Euronews, 3 Mar. 2023,

4. “Belarus Court Sentences Nobel Laureate Ales Bialiatski to 10 Years in Prison” Bloomberg, 3 Mar. 2023,

5. “Belarus jails Nobel peace prize-winning dissident Ales Bialiatski” The Guardian, 3 Mar. 2023,

6. “Belarus sentences Nobel laureate Bialiatski to 10 years in prison” Al Jazeera English, 3 Mar. 2023,

7. “Nobel laureate Ales Beliatski sentenced to 10 years in prison by Belarusian court” CNN, 3 Mar. 2023,

8. “Ales Bialiatski: Nobel Prize-winning activist sentenced to 10 years in jail” BBC, 3 Mar. 2023,

9. “Belarus court sentences Nobel Peace Prize winner to 10 years in prison” The Jerusalem Post, 3 Mar. 2023,

10. “U.S. Labor Secretary calls for release of imprisoned Belarusian labor leaders” UPI News, 10 Feb. 2023,

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