Ales Bialiatski, Nobel Peace Prize winner, detained in the dark in Belarus. The Russian judiciary seizes the offices of the NGO Memorial in Moscow – Corriere.it

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Persecuted champions of human rights: the man arrested 25 times behind bars in the semi-darkness: with him honored the Memorial organization, dissolved by the Russian authorities, and the Ukrainian Center for Civil Liberties that documents war crimes

It is difficult for congratulations to arrive this time gritted teeth of the Kremlin, as happened last year when the Russian dissident journalist Dmitry Muratov was awarded. Also this year, the Nobel Academy shines the spotlight on Vladimir Putin’s regime, and on that of satellite dictator Alexandr Lukashenko. But the world changed. No courtesy for the oppressed victors on the part of the oppressors. Visible in the background, beyond the chairman of the Committee Berit Reiss-Andersen announcing the awards and beyond the dark wooden doors of the Norwegian Nobel Institute, are the war in Ukraine and the internal repression meticulously carried out by the Moscow government and by that of Minsk.

The seizure of the offices of the NGO

Three winners, one individual and two groups. A prisoner, an outlaw association, another trying to document the crimes of an ongoing war. What do they have in common? According to the Nobel Academy, everyone promotes the right to criticize power. Report after report, case by case. The high cost, and often means deprivation of freedom. The veteran of the defense of human rights in Belarus, Ales Bialiatski, 60, currently in prison; the historic Russian human rights organization Memorial, founded in 1987 in the USSR, was dissolved by the Moscow authorities at the end of 2021 on charges of acting as a foreign agent: for over 30 years, Memorial has collected and documented the stories of millions of people made to disappear from the Soviet system: an exercise in memory that does not appeal to the powerful of today, who base their rhetoric on the myth of the end of the USSR as a catastrophe. In the evening came the news that the Russian judiciary has ordered the seizure of the NGO Memorial offices in Moscow. Memory of yesterday and today: the Ukrainian non-governmental organization also awarded the Nobel Center for Civil Libertiesfounded in Kiev in 2007, which operates in a country victim of a war of aggression where respect for freedom and the search for truth have too often not been a priority.

Man arrested 25 times

Ales Bialiatski was born in Karelia, Russia, on September 25, 1962. He celebrated his 60th birthday in a Belarusian prison. Not the first time: Bialiatski founded the human rights center Viasna, which means spring, in 1996 in Minsk (spring96.org). He has since been arrested 25 times. The latest in 2020, when the great peaceful uprising broke out in Belarus that seemed on the verge of overthrowing Lukashenko’s dictatorship. This did not happen, also due to the support provided by Moscow to the vassal government of Minsk. Today Bialiatski, a degree in history and philology, graying hair and a salt-and-skin beard, is being held in a dark cell in the basement of a maximum security prison, according to what Viasna reported in a statement at the end of September. Little light, almost no access to correspondence. The of him is not an isolated case. In the last month alone, Viasna said, 387 opponents and demonstrators have been arrested in Belarus. The news of the Nobel Prize, assuming he has caught up with him in the basement behind bars where he lives, will have come delayed. Or with a supplement of insult and punishment.

His wife, Natallia Pinchuk, thanked in his place: I am overwhelmed with emotion – she told the France Press agency – I express my deep gratitude to the Nobel Committee and to the international community for the recognition of the work of Ales, of his colleagues and its organization. A little big light, for a man arrested 25 times who lives a prisoner in the dark.

October 7, 2022 (change October 7, 2022 | 19:48)

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