#FreeViasna: Weekly news digest on Viasna’s imprisoned human rights defenders

2021 2021-10-11T15:29:54+0300 2021-10-13T20:05:35+0300 en https://spring96.org/files/images/sources/marsh_za_mir.jpg The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

On September 17, dozens of Belarusian and international human rights groups launched #FreeViasna, the campaign of solidarity with the imprisoned human rights activists of Viasna. Here’s the latest news about the Viasna members held behind bars.

On October 10, students from the University of Padua, Italy, demanded freedom for the imprisoned members of Viasna and Belarusian students during an annual March for Peace.

Originating in early 1960s, the march, which takes place every two years, focuses on a specific theme connected to peace, including non-violence, justice, human rights, freedom, responsibility, dialogue and fraternity. It brings together more than 150 organizations and thousands of participants who walk 25 km from Perugia to the city of Assisi, where St. Francis was born, an icon of peace and freedom.

Viasna shortlisted for the Dutch Human Rights Tulip award

Viasna is among the twelve human rights organizations and activists selected by a jury commissioned by the government of the Netherlands. It is commended for its role in “helping the arrested rally participants and their families” and “contributing to the development of civic society in Belarus.”

Ales Bialiatski: “I believe that everything will be fine soon”

The chairman of the Human Rights Center "Viasna", Ales Bialiatski, who has spent almost three months in pre-trial detention, sent a postcard saying that “life is the same here and there.”

“What matters is that we shouldn’t get depressed and be down. I believe that everything will be fine soon. That which does not kill us makes us stronger,” Ales writes.

On October 6, the Minsk City Court heard Ales Bialiatski’s appeal against the extension of his pre-trial detention. Predictably, judge Yauhen Khatkevich turned down the complaint.

The court session revealed that Ales Bialiatski was charged with only one article of the Criminal Code - Part 2 of Art. 243 (tax evasion), which provides for imprisonment for up to 7 years. Earlier, the authorities said that, in addition to Art. 243, the human rights activist was charged under two parts of Art. 342 of the Criminal Code.

Support Ales by writing to him:

SIZO-1, 220030, Minsk, vulica Valadarskaha 2

Ales Bialiatski (Аляксандру Віктаравічу Бяляцкаму)

On October 14, Valiantsin Stefanovich will celebrate his birthday

Valiantsin Stefanovich, Viasna’s deputy chairman, will turn 49 on October 14. Send your birthday wishes to Valiantsin:

SIZO-1, 220030, Minsk, vulica Valadarskaha 2

Valiantsin Stefanovich (Стэфановічу Валянціну Канстанцінавічу)

The verdict in the case of Viasna’s members in Homieĺ may be handed down this week

Leanid Sudalenka wrote what was happening in the closed trial, how he spent his birthday, when he was expecting the verdict and why he and Tatsiana Lasitsa did not write pardon requests.

In total, about 200 people were interrogated in the trial. According to Leanid, 61 people testified in court – mostly clients who contacted the human rights activist for legal assistance:

“All the witnesses told the truth, and that’s what matters most. It’s nice to hear these people say “Thank you” to me while I’m in the cell. And that’s despite the court’s warning.”

The sentences to Leanid Sudalenka, Tatsiana Lasitsa and Maryia Tarasenka may be announced this week.

Support Leanid and Tatsiana with a postcard or a letter:

You can also send your words of support to Uladzimir Labkovich, Marfa Rabkova and Andrei Chapiuk:

SIZO-3, 246003, Homieĺ, vul. Knižnaja, 1A

Leanid Sudalenka (Леаніду Леанідавічу Судаленку)

SIZO-3, 246003, Homieĺ, vul. Knižnaja, 1A

Tatsiana Lasitsa (Таццяне Леанідаўне Ласіцы)

SIZO-1, 220030, Minsk, vulica Valadarskaha 2

Andrei Chapiuk (Андрэю Сяргеевічу Чапюку)

SIZO-1, 220030, Minsk, vulica Valadarskaha 2

Uladzimir Labkovich (Уладзіміру Мікалаевічу Лабковічу)

SIZO-1, 220030, Minsk, vulica Valadarskaha 2

Marfa Rabkova (Марыі Аляксандраўне Рабковай)