#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
Leanid Sudalenka and Tatsiana Lasitsa are behind bars for a year
On January 18, Leanid Sudalenka, head of the Homiel branch of Viasna, was exactly one year behind the bars. He also celebrated his 55th birthday there.
And on January 21 anniversary of her detention “celebrated” Viasna volunteer Tatsiana Lasitsa.She was detained at the airport and taken into custody.
Leanid and Tatsiana were accused of organizing and preparing actions grossly violating public order (part 1 of article 342 of the Criminal Code), and training or other preparation of persons for participation in such actions, or financing of this activity (part 2 of article 342 of the Criminal Code). On November 3, the Centraĺny District Court sentenced Leanid Sudalenka to three years of imprisonment and Tatsiana Lasitsa to two and a half years. On January 14, the Homiel Regional Court dismissed their appeal and upheld the sentence.
Tatsiana's health deteriorated significantly during her stay in pre-trial detention center. An ambulance was even needed for her at one of the court sessions.
Many international organizations spoke in defense of Leanid Sudalenka and Tatsiana Lasitsa and for their unconditional release, among them Amnesty International, Front Line Defenders, Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, and others.
Tatsiana Lasitsa will be sent to penal colony No. 4 on January 27, and Leanid Sudalenka will serve his sentence in penal colony No. 3.
Marfa Rabkova: “We have to understand people who are enraged. But keep going for good”
Volunteer Service coordinator Marfa Rabkova, who is charged under 10 articles of the Criminal Code, shared her thoughts on good and evil in a letter:
“I wish I could keep evil and cruelty out of my heart. But we are just people, and the way of peace is very difficult when there are so many challenges and aggression around. The way of forgiveness and acceptance, the way of charity. For me, it is important to keep going in this direction, because we need to be better and more open-hearted. And we have to show by our own example that it is possible to do it differently. One must begin to change the world by changing oneself. This is the way.
And when there is anger and hatred inside, how can there be a change in a positive way? There is a lot of work ahead, and that work could only be based on good intentions. My words might sound somewhat religiously. There's a lot I want to say and express, but I have to keep to the boundaries. Don’t be sad. “We have to understand people who are enraged. But keep going for good”
The exact date of the trial against Marfa Rabkova, Andrej Čapiuk, and 9 other political prisoners will be announced soon. The case will be considered in Minsk City Court.
There was no news from the head of Viasna Ales Bialiatski, the deputy chairman Valiantsin Stefanovich, and the lawyer Uladzimir Labkovich last week.