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

2021 2021-10-25T17:10:25+0300 2021-10-25T17:12:10+0300 en https://spring96.org/files/images/sources/jakubouskaia_kotiki.jpg The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
A painting by Volha Yakubouskaya entitled "The Return of Valiantsin the Cat". "I decided to paint the moment Valiantsin the Cat returns to his family... To his wife Alina, his son and two daughters, and also the three cats that are waiting for him... I believe that all cats will eventually return home!"

A painting by Volha Yakubouskaya entitled "The Return of Valiantsin the Cat". "I decided to paint the moment Valiantsin the Cat returns to his family... To his wife Alina, his son and two daughters, and also the three cats that are waiting for him... I believe that all cats will eventually return home!"

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.

Ales Bialiatski, Uladzimir Labkovich and Valiantsin Stefanovich - more than 100 days behind bars

Viasna chairman Ales Bialiatski, deputy chairman Valiantsin Stefanovich, and lawyer Uladzimir Labkovich were detained on July 14 on charges of “organizing actions that grossly violated public order” and “tax evasion” and have been held in pre-trial detention center No. 1 ever since. The prison authorities block most of their mail. However, the scanty information their families and friends receive proves that the imprisoned members of Viasna are adamant against all difficulties and optimistic about their future.

“I am convinced that everything will be fine, that everyone will be free very soon. In the meantime, just gather strength and endure all these temporary inconveniences,” Valiantsin Stefanovich wrote in a recent letter.

100 days in prison: Ales Bialiatski, Valiantsin Stefanovich and Uladzimir Labkovich

Today marks 100 days since Viasna human rights defenders Ales Bialiatski, Valiantsin Stefanovich and Uladzimir Labkovich were arrested for their peaceful human rights activities. They were detained on July 14 on charges of “organizing active actions that grossly violate public order” and “tax evasion” and have since been held in pre-trial detention center No. 1 in Minsk. 

Uladzimir Labkovich celebrated his 43rd birthday behind bars

On October 22, Viasna lawyer and coordinator of the campaign “Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections”, Uladzimir Labkovich, celebrated his 43rd birthday.

Representatives of various human rights organizations sent him birthday wishes.

Happy birthday, Uladzimir!

Today, Uladzimir Labkovich, a lawyer of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” and coordinator of the campaign “Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections”, celebrates his 43rd birthday. Unfortunately, our colleague will not be able to mark his special day together with family and friends, as he is still behind bars for his human rights activities. 

Marfa Rabkova has spent more than 400 days behind bars

The coordinator of Viasna’s network of volunteers, Marfa Rabkova, was detained on September 17, 2020. During more than a year in prison, the human rights activist lost 20 kilograms, went through the coronavirus infection, and lost her father and grandmother.

October 22 marked 400 days of Marfa’s imprisonment.

However, Marfa Rabkova does not lose hope that the situation in Belarus will change for the better. In one of her letters she writes:

“I received news that a broad campaign of solidarity with human rights activists had begun. Such events inspire me to hold on and increase my mental strength.

And the letters I get from Belarusians are fantastic. So touching and making me cry. But these are good tears of gratitude and mutual warmth. Thank you for remembering us, worrying for us and supporting us!”

The verdict in the trial of Viasna’s human rights activists in Homieĺ postponed

The Centraĺny District Court of Homieĺ has postponed the announcement of its verdict in the trial of Viasna activists Leanid Sudalenka, Tatsiana Lasitsa and Maryia Tarasenka.

The verdict in the trial was scheduled for October 22, but was removed from the website of the Supreme Court shortly before that date. It is yet unknown when Judge Siarhei Salouski will hand down the sentences to the human rights activists.

Earlier, the prosecutors requested three years in a penal colony for Sudalenka and 2 1/2 years for Lasitsa and Tarasenka.

3 and 2 ½ years: prosecution requests prison terms for Viasna members in Homieĺ

Viasna activist Leanid Sudalenka should be sentenced to 3 years in a penal colony, the prosecutors insisted during the politically motivated trial in Homieĺ. The same punishment was requested for volunteer Tatsiana Lasitsa, while Maryia Tarasenka could be sentenced to two and a half years in prison.

More Viasna members and volunteers interrogated across Belarus

The police continue to search for Viasna members and volunteers, and investigators are summoning them for questioning. In particular, on October 13, a human rights activist from Mahilioŭ, Barys Bukhel, was summoned to the Investigative Committee for interrogation. In total, he has been interrogated more than 10 times as a witness. On October 19, human rights activist Ihar Kazmerchak was interrogated in Orša, and on October 20, Ales Dzerhachou was questioned in Smarhoń. On October 21, Viasna human rights activist Uladzimir Malei and Marharyta Vialichkina, the wife of Uladzimir Vialichkin, the organization’s representative in Brest, were summoned to the local office of the Investigative Committee. Besides, the authorities have questioned more than 10 volunteers working with Viasna.


Support imprisoned members of Viasna by writing to them:

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

Marfa Rabkova (Марыі Аляксандраўне Рабковай)

SIZO-1, 220030, Minsk, vulica Valadarskaha 2

Ales Bialiatski (Аляксандру Віктаравічу Бяляцкаму)

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

Valiantsin Stefanovich (Стэфановічу Валянціну Канстанцінавічу)

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