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Belarusian Human Rights Center's Property Confiscated

MINSK -- The property of a prominent human rights organization in Minsk has been confiscated.

Officials took away equipment and furniture from the unregistered Vyasna (Spring) Human Rights Center on November 26.

The center's office has been in the apartment of Vyasna Chairman Ales Byalyatski for 12 years.

Byalyatski is currently in prison for tax evasion, a charge he has denied since his arrest in 2011.

In November 2011, a court in Minsk sentenced him to 4 1/2 years in prison and ordered the confiscation of all his property.

Repossession officers said the future ownership of the now-empty apartment will be decided by a court.

They locked the apartment and gave the keys to Byalyatski's wife.

Vyasna received papers from the Belarusian authorities last week saying it should vacate its office by November 26.