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

2022 2022-01-10T20:18:25+0300 2022-01-10T20:33:41+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 September 17, #FreeViasna campaign of solidarity with the imprisoned "Viasna" members was launched. Here’s the latest news about them.

On January 6, Marfa Rabkova, coordinator of the Viasna Volunteer Service, celebrated her second birthday in a row behind bars.

Happy birthday, Marfa!

Marfa Rabkova, coordinator of Viasna's network of volunteers, turned 27

She was greeted by the “godparent” of the #WeStandBYyou campaign Agnieszka Brugger, while Nasta Loika, a human rights activist of Human Constanta, published an open letter with words of support for Marfa.

Marfa Rabkova has a tradition of watching all parts of “Harry Potter” with her husband during the Christmas holidays, but she has been deprived of such an opportunity for two years in a row now. 

In a letter of solidarity, Marfa Rabkova was asked about five reasons why she wouldn't get into Gryffindor. The human rights activist reflected on this question and noted:

“That's a tough task you put in front of me, but Viasna members would have been in Gryffindor for sure.”

Also in one of the letters, Marfa mentioned her health and the progress of the criminal case, as well as thanked for the national award “Human Rights Defender of the Year”, which was awarded to her on December 10, 2021.

The chairman of the Human Rights Center Viasna Ales Bialiatski, sent a letter in which he talks about himself:

“Time has stopped. I am calm about it, because news and changes do not always lead to good. But in this case it is hard to write meaningful letters. […]

The days are short, and I don’t read much. At most 1,5 hours a day. […]

I have a little cold, but not too much. I hope that in a couple of days my cold will go away.”

Valiantsin Stefanovich, the deputy chairman of Viasna, also sent several letters. In them, he tells how he celebrated the New Year, that he received many congratulations and misses his family.

“I am very grateful to people for their support and solidarity, grateful that they do not forget about me and about our other prisoners. It is extremely important, it is something that no one will take away or ban in us–our solidarity.”

Recently, human rights activist Uladzimir Labkovich has had problems with correspondence. He is blocked from corresponding with his family.

The award "For defense of human rights–2021" of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) was sent to Leanid Sudalenka, the head of the Homieĺ branch of Viasna, home address. He was awarded on December 10 together with Maksim Znak, Dzmitry Laeuski and Lilya Ulasava.

Tatsiana Lasitsa, a Viasna volunteer from Rečyca who had been sentenced to 2.5 years in prison, thanked in a recent letter for congratulating her on her birthday and New Year:

“Thank you for your support and always kind words, for your sincerity and kindness. I am very pleased, it warms my heart.

Don't worry, I'm doing well. My birthday was good. There was a cake, sweets, soft drinks, tea and more. I have good friends, a wonderful family, and my cat. They all love and are waiting for me. I love them all very much, too, and I hope that everything will be fine.”

On January 14 Homieĺ District Court will hear the appeal against the criminal case against the head of Homieĺ branch of the Human Rights Center Viasna Leanid Sudalenka and his assistants Tatsiana Lasitsa and Maria Tarasenka.

The process is scheduled for 10 am and will be held behind closed doors. Judge Mikalai Maratayeu will consider the complaint.

There was no news from Viasna volunteer Andrei Chapiuk last week.


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