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

2022 2022-03-14T17:24:57+0300 2022-03-15T11:42:33+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

On September 7, #FreeViasna campaign of solidarity with the imprisoned Viasna members was launched. Here’s the latest news about them

March 14 marks exactly eight months since Viasna chairman Ales Bialiatski, deputy chairman Valiantsin Stefanovich, and lawyer Uladzimir Labkovich have been behind bars. Since the outbreak of war in Ukraine, the number of letters to and from political prisoners has decreased significantly. 

Valiantsin Stefanovich from behind bars: “Russia's uncovered aggression will lead to the fact that the world will never be the same again”

Political prisoner and Viasna human rights defender Valiantsin Stefanovich expressed his opinion about the war in Ukraine in a letter:

“Of course, I am aware of the events in Ukraine, but the information we have here is only from Russian and domestic propaganda media. [...] One thing can be said, Russia's uncovered aggression will lead to the fact that the world will never be the same again. In a flash, we would return, to a time of harsh confrontation with the West, [...] with the Iron Curtain and hysterical propaganda aimed at brainwashing people.

Too bad we're on the wrong side of the fence again.”

Valiantsin also writes that, as before, he is doing fine, but a large number of letters does not reach him. The human rights defender reads a lot, as “books help to detach from reality at least a little bit”.

There was no news from lawyer Uladzimir Labkovich and the head of Viasna Ales Bialiatski last week. 

Belarusian play “Dogs of Europe” staged at the Barbican Centre

The auditorium of the Barbican Theater in London

On March 11, the world premiere of “Dogs of Europe” took place at the Barbican Centre in London. The play was directed by Mikalai Khalezin, director of the Belarusian Free Theater, based on the novel by Alherd Bakharevich.

There were portraits of Belarusian, Ukrainian and Russian political prisoners on every seat in the Barbican Theatre auditorium, and in front of the entrance there was a special stand with information about Marfa Rabkova and former political prisoner Aliaksandr Vasilevich, so everyone could learn about their cases, see photos of their letters, and learn how to write to political prisoners.

Informational stand in the Barbican Theater

Unfortunately, last week there was no news from the coordinator of the volunteer service Viasna Marfa Rabkova and volunteer Andrei Chapiuk.

Human rights defender Leanid Sudalenka hasn't received letters in the colony for more than a month

The wife of political prisoner Leanid Sudalenka told in an interview to a local newspaper how he was doing and that he didn't receive letters even from the kids.

In prison the human rights defender works as a handyman at a wood processing site:

“They clean sawdust, bring something, take something away, so it's not very hard work, but in terms of health, the regime has not been changed.

The other day the lawyer wanted to meet with Leanid in the colony but was unable to. My husband was never brought to the lawyer. The explanation was that he was very busy at work and it was impossible to distract him from his work.”

Also, there was no news last week from Rechytsa volunteer Tatsiana Lasitsa

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