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Jailed Activist Ales Byalyatski, Rights Groups win Nobel Peace Prize for work in Belarus, Russia, Ukraine

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Jailed Belarusian human rights activist Ales Byalyatski, Russian human rights organisation Memorial, and Ukrainian human rights organisation Center for Civil Liberties have won the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize.


Berit Reiss-Andersen, chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, said the judges wanted to honour ‘three outstanding champions of human rights, democracy and peaceful coexistence in the neighbour countries Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.’


‘Through their consistent efforts in favour of human values and anti-militarism and principles of law, this year’s laureates have revitalized and honoured Alfred Nobel’s vision of peace and fraternity between nations, a vision most needed in the world today,’ she told reporters in Oslo.


She also called on Belarus to release Byalyatski from prison, who is being held for tax evasion. ‘Our message is an urge to the authorities in Belarus to release Mr. Bialiatski and we do hope this will happen and that he can come to Oslo and receive the honour bestowed upon him,’ Andersen told reporters.


Reacting to the news, Belarusian opposition politician Pavel Latushko said Byalyatski’s award is one for all political prisoners in Belarus.


‘It’s not only for him but for all political prisoners which we have now in Belarus,’ Latushko said. ‘It motivates all of us to struggle and we are sure we will win with the dictatorship of (Alexander) Lukashenko.’


Belarusian security police in July last year raided offices and homes of lawyers and human rights activists, detaining Byalyatski and others in a new crackdown on opponents of Lukashenko.


Authorities had moved to shut down non-state media outlets and human rights groups after mass protests the previous August against a presidential election the opposition said was rigged.


The prizes carry a cash award of 10 million Swedish kronor (nearly $900,000) and will be handed out on Dec. 10. The money comes from a bequest left by the prize’s creator, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, in 1895.

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