“Viasna” writes contemporary history
The 16th anniversary
of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” was marked by the presentation of two
books: a photo album "For Right to Elect: Portraits of Convicts.
Square-2010" and the book of interviews “Our Viasna. History in
The presentation was held on 2 May in the office of the Belarusian Popular Front Party and was attended by journalists, human rights activists and public figures, former political prisoners, their families and relatives.
Deputy Chairman of the Human Rights Center "Viasna" Valiantsin Stefanovich said that the events associated with the Square-2010 were still going on. Evaluation of these events has not changed so far, and human rights activists continue to believe that there was no mass riot and that all sentences for Square are politically motivated.
"Some of those convicted of events on 19 December, remain in prison, including presidential candidate Mikalai Statkevich, Pavel Seviarynets and “Young Front” activists Zmitser Dashkevich and Eduard Lobau. We associate the case of the latter two with 19 December, as they were detained preventively and convicted on fabricated charges. We continue to demand an immediate and unconditional release of political prisoners,” stated Mr. Stefanovich.
Alena Laptsionak, editor of the album "For Right to Elect: Portraits of Convicts" said that the book described the fates of 49 defendants in the criminal case, instigated for the alleged mass riot on the night after the presidential election. It was issued in order to pay respect to prisoners and facilitate the release of those who were still held behind bars.
The foreword for this edition was written by the candidate of historical sciences Aliaksei Karol.
“By this edition “Viasna” confirmed its image of an organization which actively struggles for human rights in Belarus, not yielding to the brutal persecution. By this edition “Viasna” made an important contribution to the documentary basis for future research of the democratic movement in the contemporary Belarus. In future “Viasna’s” editions will serve as the basis for scientific works,” said Mr. Karol.
The member of “Viasna” Tatsiana Reviaka worked hard to create the book "Our Viasna. History in Faces". This book is a collection of 18 interviews with famous members and activists of the organization, including regional ones. The publication of this book was planned for 2011, the 15th anniversary of the Human Rights Center, but was delayed in connection with Square-2010, trials of its participants and conviction of the head of the organization, Ales Bialiatski, who was the initiator of the publication.
“After his arrest, while handing me the keys to “Viasna’s” apartment, Ales said briefly: Take care of “Viasna”. It sounded as a covenant: that “Viasna” must continue working and implementing its mission irrespective of the development of events. To the credit of my colleagues from “Viasna” I must say that this covenant is executed: none of the members of "Viasna" have stopped their activities, not a single regional branch has been closed, no directions of work have been stopped. The issue of this book, albeit a little late, provides an eloquent confirmation of this," said Tatsiana Reviaka.
Words of gratitude to “Viasna” members were said by the wife of Mikalai Statkevich, Maryna Adamovich, and former political prisoner Aleh Fedarkevich. "The date of 19 December lives in our hearts, and it affects all of our present life. All this was not in vain. Even though this event had most tragic consequences, it brings us closer to the end of the regime that rules in our country now," said Maryna Adamovich.
Participants of the event were given the books, as well as calendars of political prisoner for 8 years, produced by Yuliya Liashkevich.