viasna on patreon

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

2022 2022-04-04T14:09:00+0300 2022-04-04T19:12:24+0300 en 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.

Viasna mentioned in Amnesty International report

The imprisoned human rights defenders of Viasna were mentioned in the annual Amnesty International Report 2021/22: The state of the world’s human rights.

“In February the authorities raided the office of the prominent human rights group Viasna in Minsk, and in March unfounded criminal proceedings against Viasna were opened. During the year five staff members, including its founder Ales Bialiatski, were detained. In November, Leanid Sudalenka and Tatsyana Lasitsa were sentenced to three and two-and-a-half years’ imprisonment respectively for their purported role behind a ‘violation of public order’. Other Viasna members, including previously detained Marfa Rabkova and Andrei Chapyuk, were awaiting trial at the end of the year.” — the Freedom of Association section of the report notes.

Amnesty International on Belarus: Torture and other ill-treatment endemic and committed with impunity

The 2021 monitoring reveals alarming repression worldwide of the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly. In a number of countries, new legislation restricting freedom of expression, association or peaceful assembly was introduced; there were credible allegations of unnecessary or excessive use of force by state forces against demonstrators or protesters; human rights defenders were arbitrarily detained. 

Marfa Rabkova's health condition worsens

The health of political prisoner and human rights activist Marfa Rabkova is seriously deteriorating; she needs urgent examination but is not receiving adequate medical care in jail.

Earlier Amnesty International published an appeal to the Prosecutor General of Belarus to provide medical assistance to Marfa Rabkova.  

Marfa Rabkova not getting urgent medical aid in jail

The health of political prisoner and human rights activist Marfa Rabkova is seriously deteriorating; she needs urgent examination but is not receiving adequate medical care in jail.

PEN South Africa releases podcast about Ales Bialiatski

The Empty Chair, a podcast from PEN South Africa, features conversations about writing, freedom of expression, resilience, and solidarity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each of our five episodes is dedicated to an imprisoned writer who has been harassed, detained, and sometimes tortured by the state.

One of the episodes is dedicated to Ales Bialiatski, a member of the Belarusian PEN, who has been in prison for more than 8 months.

Listen to the podcast

Valiantsin Stefanovich on late 1980s music revolution: ‘Rock music has shaped my worldview in many ways’

In his letters, political prisoner, human rights defender with Viasna, and vice-president of FIDH Valiantsin Stefanovich shared his memories of the 1980s, historical events, and music of that time.

“Sometimes I feel sorry for our youth because they did not see how the communist system, the Soviet system, was collapsing. At that time we thought we had said goodbye to Lenin forever. But as it turned out, we didn't. It was an eventful time, full of hope for the better, for change. Just look at the rock revolution of 1988. That music shaped my worldview in many ways.”

No updates from five members of Viasna

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

There was also no news from Homieĺ human rights defender Leanid Sudalenka and a volunteer from Rečyca Tatsiana Lasitsa, who were sentenced to three and two and a half years in prison, respectively, as well as from Viasna volunteer Andrei Chapiuk