From the U.S. Embassy in Minsk:  The United States strongly condemns the selective prosecution and conviction of Belarusian human rights activist Ales Byalyatski. We again call on the Government of Belarus to release Byalyatski and all political prisoners immediately and unconditionally, remove any barriers to their future participation in public life, and cease its campaign against critics of the government. The United States, in concert with our European partners, will continue to monitor developments in Belarus and hold accountable those responsible for repression.

From the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly:  OSCE Parliamentary Assembly leaders today expressed deep disappointment with yesterday’s ruling in the case of Ales Bialiatski, leader of the Belarusian human rights organization Viasna. . . .

"From its inception, this case has been a tragic violation of human rights," said Matteo Mecacci (Italy), chair of the OSCE PA Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions. "Bialiatski and his courageous colleagues were conducting exceptional work in Belarus. Since the closure of the OSCE Office in Minsk, these voices are fewer and fewer. This case represents the next step in the obvious pattern of harassment and intimidation of dissenting voices in Belarus. I call on the authorities of Belarus to remember and implement their OSCE commitments in human rights – civil society must be able to freely operate in Belarus."  

Ales Byalyatski is Chairman of the Human Rights Center “Viasna,” and a recipient of a 2011 Atlantic Council Freedom Award.  (photo: New Europe)