#FreeViasna: Weekly news digest on Viasna’s imprisoned human rights defenders
On September 17, #FreeViasna campaign of solidarity with the imprisoned "Viasna" members was launched. Here’s the latest news about them.
On December 10, International Human Rights Day, rallies in support of imprisoned “Viasna” human rights activists and all political prisoners took place in different cities and countries. Belarusians also gathered to write words of support and send solidarity postcards. Several ceremonies of awarding human rights prizes and other activities took place.
“Viasna” won Pro Dignitate Humana Award of the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Poland. On December 10, Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau congratulated “Viasna” human rights defenders on receiving the Pro Dignitate Humana Award. He stressed that Poland supports the Belarusian society in the struggle for freedom and democracy, and thanked “Viasna” for their work. Minister Rau also noted that the award is an expression of gratitude to the victims of the August 2020 events in Belarus and their families. In their turn, “Viasna” human rights defenders stated that they would continue their activities, despite the repressions and criminal prosecution of their colleagues.
“We will fight for the release of our colleagues, as well as all political prisoners in Belarus. We will do our best to ensure that human rights and human dignity become the main value and goal of the Belarusian state and Belarusian society.”
Waiting for his trial behind the bars, Ales Bialiatski is writing a memoir about the Maksim Bahdanovich Museum, where he worked as a director from 1989 to 1998. His voice was also heard during the Honorary citizenship ceremony in Paris on December 10. Bialiatski's voice came in the form of a video message recorded shortly before his arrest for the French organization Memorial France.
There was no news from “Viasna” human rights activist Valiantsin Stefanovich last week.
In his recent letter, "Viasna" lawyer Uladzimir Labkovich wrote:
“One of my sons is fond of space. So, there is nothing in black holes, not even time. I am falling into such a hole here. I use every moment when I am alone and can write. TV in the cell is on all the time. It's hard to read and write.”
On December 10, International Human Rights Day, human rights defenders awarded the winners of the 13th National Human Rights Award. Marfa Rabkova won in the nomination “Human Rights Defender of the Year”.
Recently, Marfa has been deprived of medical assistance, and her correspondence has been blocked.
Leanid Sudalenka together with Liliya Ulasava, Maksim Znak, Dzmitry Laeuski was granted CCBE Human Rights Award 2021. The Award ceremony was held on 10 December during the CCBE Plenary with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, participating in the event as a keynote speaker through a video message.
In one of her recent letters, political prisoner Tatsiana Lasitsa who had been sentenced to 2.5 years in prison thanked everyone for the birthday greetings and described how she managed to celebrate her Birthday on November, 24 behind bars.