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

2021 2021-11-29T16:44:16+0300 2021-11-29T16:44:17+0300 en https://spring96.org/files/images/sources/freeviasna_stakholm_8.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 November 24, Tatsiana Lasitsa celebrated her birthday

Tatsiana Lasitsa is an activist and human rights defender based in Rečyca, a volunteer working with the Homieĺ branch of the Human Rights Center "Viasna", who has already spent more than 300 days in prison. On November 24, she turned 43.

Members of the Human Rights House in Oslo sent their birthday greetings to Tatsiana, Ane Tusvik Bonde, senior advisor at HRH Foundation tweeted.

Other members of the Human Rights House Foundation joined the congratulations.

On November 3, Tatsiana Lasitsa was sentenced to two and a half years in a general-security penal colony. Tatsiana was accused of "organizing and preparing actions that grossly violate public order" (Part 1 of Article 342 of the Criminal Code) and "training and preparing individuals to participate in such actions," as well as their "financing or other material support" (Part 2 of Article 342 of the Criminal Code).

Happy birthday, Tatsiana!

Tatiana Lasitsa, a political prisoner and a volunteeer of Viasna, is celebrating her birthday today. Congratulate Tatsiana on her special day!

Marfa Rabkova facing 20 years in prison

Marfa Rabkova, a political prisoner and coordinator of Viasna’s network of volunteers, who has been held in pre-trial detention center No. 1 for 14 months, has sent a letter telling about her health and the criminal charges she is facing.

“I have seen Uladzimir [Labkovich] several times, I am worried… I really hope that Viasna [lit., “spring”] will come earlier than spring. I have faith in it, and it gives me strength.”

The girl notes that she is well:

“I started solving my health problems step by step. Nothing critical, just the aftermath of covid. I'm thinking of getting vaccinated with Sputnik, I'm waiting for approval from my relatives.”

“I am facing a final charge this week. This is the deadline - so they said. But before that they said that from November 5 I could start reading the case files. Apparently, something else is yet being decided: whether I should face 5 charges or 7 :). Judging by what is happening with other people, a favorable procedural outcome cannot be expected. But we understand that it doesn't matter at all, it's just a façade.”

“And I have my favorite quote that I heard in a movie: “In the end, everything will be fine. And if it’s not fine, then it’s not the end :)”

At the end of last week, it became known that Marfa Rabkova was charged under 11 articles of the Criminal Code, facing up to 20 years in prison.

Viasna’s Marfa Rabkova facing 20 years on 11 charges

Apart from several protest-related charges, Rabkova is accused of “calls for actions aimed at harming the national security,” “creating an extremist formation,” “managing a criminal organization,” “inciting social hostility,” “hooliganism” and “deliberate destruction or damage to property.”

PEN International and Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya support Ales Bialiatski

PEN International issued a statement to stress that the chairman of the Human Rights Center “Viasna”, Ales Bialiatski, is being persecuted for his human rights activities. The organization calls for his immediate and unconditional release and for the lifting of all charges brought against him.

PEN International calls to release Belarusian PEN member Ales Bialiatski

A Belarusian PEN member, an author and chairman of the Human Rights Center "Viasna", Ales Bialiatski was arrested on July 14, 2021 and has been in pre-trial detention ever since. Bialiatski faces up to seven years in prison on trumped-up charges of tax evasion.

During her speech at the European Parliament, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya mentioned Ales Bialiatski:

“The case of Ales shows that the Belarusian crisis is much closer to all of us than it might seem. Just recently, Ales was here for all to greet and congratulate. And now he is behind bars.”

Human rights activists from Östgruppen, the Swedish Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights, supported the imprisoned members of Viasna during a photo event.

Event by Östgruppen in support of Viasna members
Event by Östgruppen in support of Viasna members

November 27, Day of Solidarity with Belarusian Political Prisoners

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s office announced that November 27 would be marked as the Day of Solidarity with Belarusian Political Prisoners and called for various actions in support of prisoners.

On this occasion, the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry together with the Human Rights Center "Viasna" organized a postcard-writing campaign, #FreedomLetters.

Mantas Adomenas, Julie Fisher, Nicolas de Lacoste and Asta Andrijauskienė
Mantas Adomenas, Julie Fisher, Nicolas de Lacoste and Asta Andrijauskienė

US Chargé d'Affaires Ruben Harutunian met with the families of political prisoners on Thanksgiving Day to express his continued support for the prisoners and their relatives.

Among them were the wives of political prisoners Ales Bialiatski and Uladzimir Labkovich, fathers of Mikalai Dziadok and Maryia Kalesnikava, mother of Anastasiya Bulybenka, wives of Ihar Losik, Mikalai Statkevich, Maksim Znak and others.

The United States continues to call for the unconditional release of all political prisoners in Belarus.

On November 28, Belarusians in Batumi joined the Day of Solidarity with Belarusian Political Prisoners and supported, among others, the imprisoned activists of Viasna.

Write an open letter in support of the imprisoned members of Viasna

Send your open letters of solidarity in support of the Viasna activists by e-mail freeviasna@gmail.com or via Telegram @spring96info, and we will forward them our imprisoned colleagues. You can also write to them directly:

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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