Factbox: Who is Belarusian Nobel laureate Ales Bialiatski?

Belarusian opposition supporters protest against presidential election results in Minsk
Law enforcement officers block a street during an opposition rally to demand the resignation of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko more than a month after the disputed presidential election, in Minsk, Belarus September 20, 2020. Tut.By via REUTERS

March 3 (Reuters) - Following are some details about Ales Bialiatski, who was sentenced on Friday to 10 years in prison by a Belarusian court on charges of financing protests and smuggling money into Belarus. He denied the charges, which he and other human rights activists called politically motivated.


Bialiatski, 60, won the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize together with Russian human rights organisation Memorial and Ukrainian human rights organisation Center for Civil Liberties. Fellow human rights campaigners portray him as a symbol of resistance to oppression in Belarus and globally.


Bialiatski started campaigning for Belarusian independence and democracy in the early 1980s, and organised anti-Soviet protests before the Soviet Union's collapse.

During mass opposition protests in 1996, he co-founded the Viasna human rights organisation with the aim of providing financial and legal assistance to political prisoners and their families. Viasna also documented abuses against and torture of political prisoners by the authorities. Belarus has dismissed the allegations.


Bialiatski was imprisoned from 2011 to 2014 on a charge of tax evasion in the funding of Viasna, a charge he denied. He was arrested again in 2021 during a crackdown on anti-government protests that erupted after Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko was declared the winner of a presidential election in 2020. The opposition said the election was rigged, a charge the long-time leader denied.


Bialiatski and two others went on trial in January on charges of "smuggling by an organised group" and "financing of group actions grossly violating the public order". Amnesty International called it "a blatant act of injustice wherein the state is clearly seeking to enact revenge for their activism".


Bialiatski was born on Sept. 25, 1962 and graduated from Homiel State University in 1984 with a degree in Russian and Belarusian Philology. After initially working as a schoolteacher, he went on to become a scholar of Belarusian literature and museum director.

Editing by Timothy Heritage and Frances Kerry

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