Jail sentence against Nobel laureate Bialiatski a "tragedy", Nobel committee leader says

Nobel Peace Prize 2022

OSLO (Reuters) - The court case and verdict against Belarus human rights activist Ales Bialiatski are a tragedy, the leader of the Norwegian Nobel Committee told Reuters on Friday.

"Ales Bialiatski is one of the foremost fighters for democracy, freedom and human rights in Belarus. The court case and the accusations against him are politically motivated," Berit Reiss-Andersen said in an interview.

Bialiatski won the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize together with Russian human rights organisation Memorial and Ukrainian human rights group Center for Civil Liberties.

"The case, the verdict against him, is a tragedy for him personally," Reiss-Andersen said.

"But it also shows that the regime in Belarus does not tolerate freedom of expression and opposition ... We regret that he has to continue his fight by being held in jail."

(Reporting by Gwladys Fouche, editing by Terje Solsvik)