Canada Welcomes Release of Ales Byalyatski

June 23, 2014 - The Honourable David Anderson, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, today released the following statement:

“Canada welcomes the release of Ales Byalyatski, an internationally recognized human rights advocate and the head of the human rights organization Vyasna, who was released after almost three years of imprisonment in Belarus on politically motivated charges.

“While this is a positive development, Canada is concerned by allegations of brutal treatment during Mr. Byalyatski’s unjustified incarceration, including periods of solitary confinement. Canada also remains concerned by reports of similar mistreatment against other political prisoners in Belarus.

“We call once again on Belarus to release all political prisoners and to cease the judicial intimidation and punishment of the regime’s political opponents. We hope that Vyasna will continue its important work.

“Canada remains a vigorous defender of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law and will continue to work with other international partners to ensure that the people of Belarus can exercise their fundamental rights.”

In response to human rights abuses, Canada has restricted official contact with Belarusian authorities to the areas of consular relations, human rights and democratic development, and efforts related to international security.

- 30 -

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
343-203-7700
media@international.gc.ca
Follow us on Twitter: @DFATDCanada
Like us on Facebook: Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada-DFATD