The trial of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning human rights activist Ales Bialiatski has begun in Belarus.

Bialiatski, 60, was arrested in anti-government protests in 2021, and his supporters say that Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko's authoritarian regime is trying to silence him.

He is accused of smuggling cash to fund opposition activity, according to the Viasna (Spring) Human Rights Centre, which Bialiatski founded.

He was arrested in 2021 following massive street protests over widely disputed elections that kept Belarus's long-time leader in power the previous year.

Demonstrators were met with brutality by the police and Lukashenko critics were regularly arrested and jailed during the protests, which started in 2020.

Bialiatski, who was one of three winners of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize, has been held without trial since his arrest.

He is now in court alongside two fellow campaigners, Valentin Stefanovich and Vladimir Labkovich. He faces up to 12 years in prison.