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

2021 2021-12-06T19:59:36+0300 2021-12-13T14:26:31+0300 en https://spring96.org/files/images/sources/poster_freeviasna.jpg The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

On November 30, MEPs and invited speakers discussed legal instruments for bringing perpetrators responsible for serious human rights crimes to justice in accordance with their international responsibility.

In her opening remarks, Maria Arena, the Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Human Rights of the European Parliament, mentioned the leaders of “Viasna”, Ales Bialiatski and Valiantsin Stefanovich, who have been in prison since mid-July, as well as five other imprisoned “Viasna” members. She stressed that information about the detainees is extremely limited and few is known about the conditions of their detention and the nature of the charges.

The event was attended by Alina Stefanovich, the wife of the political prisoner Valiantsin Stefanovich. She said:

“Letters from “Viasna” members come irregularly, and they also do not receive all letters sent to them. However, “Viasna” has not stopped its: since May, 2020, human rights defenders have documented over 37,000 cases of arbitrary detention, about 1,500 cases of torture and ill-treatment of detainees, and almost 900 people have been recognized as political prisoners.Viasna continues to constantly monitor court proceedings in politically motivated criminal cases, analyze the information and submit reports to international agencies”.

In one of his recent letters, “Viasna” member Valiantsin Stefanovich wrote:

“I think that solidarity is perhaps the most important thing that we’ve got as a result of last year's events. We, Belarusians, have finally come to love ourselves, with all our shortcomings and virtues.

Over the past week, no news were received from the Chairman of “Viasna” Ales Bialiatski.

In one of his recent letters, “Viasna” lawyer Uladzimir Labkovich complained that he had had severe headaches: he could not had slept normally at night for a long time, so could not answer letters.

After he received medication, the human rights defender began to feel better. He said that a large number of his letters do not reach the addressees and noted that nothing changes:

“Everything is the same with me. I am reading Freud and newspapers. But even Freud does not help against newspapers.”

Leanid Sudalenka’s wife Aksana Sudalenka managed to visit her husband in prison. She said that her husband seems pretty optimistic and is curious about everything that is happening in the country, though Leanid is kept in an information vacuum: he receives only state-run newspapers which lack up-to-date information.

Over the past week, no news were received from the “Viasna” volunteer Tatsiana Lasitsa.

Marfa Rabkova, coordinator of the “Viasna” volunteer service, was mentioned by the Anti-Discrimination Centre Memorial on the International Day of Women Human Rights Defenders

Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia Director, also brought up Marfa’s case:

“Marfa Rabkova’s case epitomizes the horrors currently faced by human rights defenders and the wider civil society in Belarus. Over the last 18 months, Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s government has effectively outlawed the country’s entire human rights community by imprisoning dozens of human rights activists under spurious charges, closing vast numbers of NGOs and arbitrarily detaining hundreds of peaceful protesters.”

Belarus: Drop myriad charges against human rights defender Marfa Rabkova

“Marfa Rabkova’s case epitomizes the horrors currently faced by human rights defenders and the wider civil society in Belarus. Over the last 18 months, Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s government has effectively outlawed the country’s entire human rights community by imprisoning dozens of human rights activists under spurious charges, closing vast numbers of NGOs and arbitrarily detaining hundreds of peaceful protesters."

Over the past week, no news were received from the “Viasna” volunteer Andrei Chapiuk.

The Belarusian diaspora in Hamburg joined the Day of Solidarity with Belarusian political prisoners and held an action to support them on November, 27. The protesters were holding a Belarusian national flag with the names of political prisoners, as well as images of some of them, including “Viasna” members.

Day of Solidarity with Belarusian political prisoners in Hamburg

Stand up for human rights defenders! Sign the petition for the release of “Viasna” members.

The Human Rights Center “Viasna” celebrated its 25th anniversary in spring. At the moment, seven members of Viasna remain behind bars for their peaceful human rights activities.

Sign the petition for our colleagues’ immediate and unconditional release!

Stand up for human rights defenders! Sign the petition for the release of “Viasna” members.

The Human Rights Center “Viasna” celebrated its 25th anniversary in spring. At the moment, seven members of Viasna remain behind bars for their peaceful human rights activities. Sign the petition for their release!

 

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