Continued Harassment of Viasna
Uladzimir Labkovich, legal adviser at Human Rights Center Viasna, was detained in Minsk in connection to a manifestation in support of the chair of Viasna, Ales Bialiatski, on September 25. The arrest is yet another example of the harassment of Viasna employees.
Ales Bialiatski has been in pre-trial detention since August 4 accused of tax evasion. The picket on September 25 was held to mark the 49th birthday of Ales Bialiatski. The authorities have previously banned pickets in support of Bialiatski. Labkovich was approached by the police after the manifestation and taken for questioning after which he was released.
This is yet another example of the harassment of Viasna employees. Besides the case initiated against Ales Bialiatski, other employees have been subject to investigations by tax authorities. Members of staff have also been targeted by state media in what appeared to be a smear campaign against them.
Despite the obstructions of the authorities, Viasna continues its activities of providing legal assistance to victims of human rights abuses in Belarus.