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

2022 2022-04-18T18:57:00+0300 2022-04-18T21:11:43+0300 en https://spring96.org/files/images/sources/poster2_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.

Ales Bialiatski, Valiantsin Stefanovich, and Uladzimir Labkovich have been detained for more than 9 months

They and other Viasna members were searched by officers of the Financial Investigations Department on July 14. Since that day Ales Bialiatski, Valiantsin Stefanovich, and Uladzimir Labkovich have been kept in custody while the Minsk offices of Viasna have been sealed. The human rights defenders were accused of “large-scale tax evasion”.

Heroes of Dark Times: a virtual exhibition about Belarusian political prisoners

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The European Economic and Social Committee is hosting an online photo exhibition entitled Heroes of Dark Times to highlight the situation of the political prisoners and increase awareness of the dangers of the authoritarian and oppressive system in Belarus. Among the featured heroes, there is FIDH Vice President and Viasna human rights defender Valiantsin Stefanovich

The series of photos highlights the violations of human rights and freedom of expression by the Belarusian government, who have detained over 1100 political prisoners. They form a living testimony of the unprecedented state-orchestrated repressions that hinder the Belarusian people in their courageous struggle for democracy.” the organizers stated.

Visit online exhibition

Valiantsin Stefanovich: “The vibe of time is different now”  

In one of his letters, Viasna human rights activist Valiantsin Stefanovich, a political prisoner, shared his admiration for Belarusian music bands. He told how in the '80s and early '90s he was fond of Belarusian-language rock and underground because that music was “at the cutting edge”.

“Now the vibe is different, there is a feeling of some kind of hopelessness. Maybe it's because I'm in jail?” notes the human rights defender.

There was no news from lawyer Uladzimir Labkovich, head of Viasna Ales Bialiatski, and his deputy, Valiantsin Stefanovich, last week.

UN Special Rapporteurs were informed about the health condition of human rights defender Marfa Rabkova

The UN Special Rapporteur on human rights Mary Lollar, the Special Rapporteur on the right to health Tlaleng Mofokeng and the Special Rapporteur on Belarus Anaïs Morin were informed that in almost 19 months the coordinator of Viasna’s network of volunteers Marfa Rabkova has been in detention center her health has significantly deteriorated.

It is known that recently Marfa began receiving treatment in pre-trial detention center but only partially. She was tested for hormones and started an intravenous antibiotics course. However, no measures are being taken to examine Marfa's thyroid. Also, she is not allowed to visit the dentist for about 9 months already.

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.

In connection with numerous appeals to the Prosecutor General's Office concerning the deterioration of Marfa's health, the agency's website published a press release stating that the Prosecutor's Office was not going to respond to the merits of the appeals since there were allegedly no grounds to consider them.  

Prosecutor General's Office: no grounds for considering appeals to provide medical care to Marfa Rabkova

The Prosecutor General's Office will not respond to numerous citizens' appeals related to inadequate detention conditions and failure to provide medical care to the coordinator of Viasna’s volunteer network Marfa Rabkova.

Leanid Sudalenka: “It's not the state that gives us our rights

Two weeks before the arrest of Leanid Sudalenka, the head of the Viasna Homieĺ branch, Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House published a large interview with him. What was Leanid’s path from a country boy to an internationally known human rights defender? What drove him in his advocacy for ordinary citizens? How many complaints has he made to the UN Human Rights Committee? The answers to these questions could be found in a translation of an interview taken by our fellow colleagues from the BHRH published on the Viasna website.

Leanid Sudalenka: ‘It's not the state that gives us our rights’

Two weeks before Leanid Sudalenka, the head of the Viasna Homieĺ branch, was arrested Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House published a large interview with him. How did Leanid go from a country boy to an internationally known human rights defender? What drove him in his advocacy for ordinary citizens? How many complaints has he made to the UN Human Rights Committee? Viasna publishes a translation of an interview taken by our colleagues.

Otherwise, there was no news from Leanid Sudalenka last week.

Correspondence with human rights defenders in prison remains irregular

After her transfer to the colony, letters from a Rečyca volunteer Tatsiana Lasitsa reach only her father.

It is also known, that over the past two months correspondence with volunteer Andrei Chapiuk has significantly worsened. Letters from him reach only his parents, not regularly though.

 

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