Fri. Mar 31st, 2023


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Nobel Peace Prize winner sentenced to 10 years in Belarus prison

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Nobel Prize winner Ales Bialiatskiinside a defendant's cage in a courtroom in Minsk, Belarus, in January 2023. Photo:Vitaly Pivocarchik/AFP via Getty Images

A Belarusian court found Nobel Peace Prize winner Ales Bialiatski, the country's most prominent human rights activist, guilty of smuggling and financing protests and sentenced him to 10 years in prison.

Why it matters: Human rights organizations and several European nations criticized the case as politically motivated.

  • Bialiatski was arrested during widespread protests against Belarus' 2020 election, which kept authoritarian President Aleksandr Lukashenko in power.

Driving the news: Three other prominent activists were also found guilty, according to Viasna, a human rights organization Bialiatski founded.

  • They received sentences ranging from seven to nine years in prison.

Flashback: Bialiatski received the Nobel Peace Prize in October 2022 for his work promoting democracy and human rights in Belarus, sharing the award with Russian and Ukrainian human rights organizations.

What they're saying: Exiled Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya said the trial against Bialiatski and the other defendants was "simply appalling."

  • The Nobel Prize organization said Bialiatski has "long advocated for fundamental human rights, democracy and freeing the political prisoners in Belarusian jails."

Go deeper: Lukashenko's China visit suggests Beijing's growing involvement in war

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