#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.
It became known that the detention of three Viasna members–Ales Bialiatsky, Valiantsin Stefanovich, and Uladzimir Labkovich–was extended for another three months.
This was reported by Valiantsin’s wife Alina Stefanovich on her Facebook page. Human rights activists will remain behind bars until October 14.
July 14 marked a year since Viasna Chairman Ales Bialiatski, his deputy Valiantsin Stefanovich and lawyer Uladzimir Labkovich were arrested and placed in custody for their human rights activities.
Valiantsin Stefanovich was re-nominated for the post of FIDH Vice-President
In early July, Pavel Sapelka, a lawyer with the Viasna Human Rights Center, attended a meeting of the International Bureau of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) in Paris.
During the event, FIDH Vice-president Valiantsin Stefanovich has been nominated for the post for the next term. His candidacy was supported by representatives of Armenia, Peru, Botswana, Finland, Belgium, and Kyrgyzstan. The FIDH Congress and elections to the International Council of FIDH will take place this fall.
Uladzimir Labkovich: “This is how I get a signal from you that you are near”
Viasna human rights defender Uladzimir Labkovich wrote in a letter that his eyesight had deteriorated. He also wrote that because his correspondence was basically blocked, packages and money transfers became a strong support for him.
Viasna members’ Unlived life
Illustrations depicting Ales Bialiatski, Valiantsin Stefanovich and Uladzimir Labkovich were created as part of the Unlived Life project for the anniversary of the imprisonment of human rights defenders.
The trial of Marfa Rabkova and Andrei Chapiuk continues
The trial over the coordinator of Viasna’s volunteer network Marfa Rabkova, volunteer Andrei Chapiuk and eight more political prisoners lasts for three months in Minsk Municipal Court.
The trial was closed on the first day, so no details are available. More than 45 hearings have already been held. The case is heard by Judge Siarhei Khrypach, the state prosecution is supported by Raman Biziuk.
Altogether, political prisoners are charged under ten articles of the Criminal Code. Three of them, including Marfa Rabkova, are characterized by the Investigative Committee as “organizers and leaders of a number of organized criminal groups that had independent units in the regions of Belarus with their own leaders”.
The case contains more than 160 volumes, Marfa faces up to 20 years in prison, while Andrei – up to eight.
Marfa Rabkova's portrait appeared at an altitude of 3,000 meters
During her trip, Viasna human rights activist Dziyana Pinchuk placed a sticker with Marfa Rabkova's portrait on the tourist stand of Mount Kazbek.
“When I saw Marfa's recent court photo, I was struck by her confident look. It certainly is not the look of someone who has been arbitrarily held behind bars for more than a year and a half. It was the look of a completely free person. Free in her mind and soul.
Now this look will support travelers on their way to the Gergeti Glacier and Mount Kazbek.
Freedom to Marfa Rabkova!”
The portrait of Viasna volunteer Tatsiana Lasitsa was created by artist Hanna Tatur as part of Palitviazynki initiative, which is dedicated to female political prisoners in Belarus.
The event “Literature in Political Imprisonment” was held in Łódź
On July 23, as part of the Days of Belarusian Culture, organized by the Belarusian Council for Culture, the Belarusians in Łódź Foundation held an event dedicated to the literature of Belarusian political prisoners.
The event included a discussion “The Phenomenon of Belarusian Political Prisoners’ Literature in the Context of Time and World Art" with a representative of Human Rights Center Viasna Alena Laptsionak, representative of Belarusian PEN Andrei Khadanovich, methodologist and independent education expert Sviatlana Matskevich.