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#FreeViasna: review of news on imprisoned Viasna human rights defenders

2023 2023-10-03T12:56:17+0300 2023-10-03T18:45:19+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

We collected news on Viasna team members who are behind bars.

On September 25, Ales Bialiatski celebrated his birthday: he turned 61

This is the third, and considering the previous imprisonment (in 2011) his sixth birthday that Ales Bialiatski celebrated behind bars.

Lithuanian schoolchildren congratulated Ales Bialiatski on his birthday

A meeting with local schoolchildren was held at the Simonas Daukantas Gymnasium in Vilnius on the birthday of Ales Bialiatski (September 25). It was held by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania with the support of Viasna human rights center. It was on the building of this gymnasium where a fresco depicting Ales Bialiatski was previously painted on.

"Ales, I'm very proud..." Lithuanian schoolchildren congratulated Bialiatski on his birthday

A meeting with local schoolchildren was held at the Simonas Daukantas Gymnasium in Vilnius on the birthday of Ales Bialiatski (September 25).

 Ales Bialiatski was congratulated in Belgium

At the picket, passers-by were told about the Nobel laureate, who was sentenced to 10 years and who celebrated his 61st birthday behind bars.

"We wish Ales good health and a speedy release!", @belarusy_zarubezhja quotes them.

An action was held in Germany on the occasion of Ales Bialiatski's birthday

Belarusians of Germany together with Amnesty International and Libereco — Partnership for Human Rights held an action at the Brandenburg Gate on the occasion of Ales Bialiatski's birthday.

Many Bundestag deputies joined the action and spoke with words of support for democratic Belarus.

Ales was sent postcards with sincere wishes and congratulations.

Former ambassador Stefan Eriksson supported Ales Bialiatski

Stefan Eriksson took part in the first congress of Belarusian culture in exile in Warsaw and once again expresses solidarity with the imprisoned Belarusian Nobel laureate, Viasna human rights activists, and all Belarusian political prisoners.

Stefan Eriksson is a Swedish diplomat, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Sweden to the Republic of Belarus (from 23.9.2008 till August 2012). Belarusian propaganda accused Eriksson of preparing an "Arab Spring" in Belarus, and the Belarusian Foreign Ministry said that his activities were aimed at "destroying" bilateral relations. After that, the Belarusian side decided not to extend his accreditation.

Stefan knows Belarusian and translated the works of Vasil Bykau and Uladzimir Arlou into Swedish. He said that "the years that I spent in Belarus were very good for me, the best time in my life, one can say."

Ales Bialiatski was awarded Golden Laurels

On September 19, Warsaw hosted the awards ceremony Złoty Laur-2023 (Golden Laurels), which recognizes individuals, institutions, and companies for their excellent civil and socio-cultural activities. The award has 9 different nominations in a variety of fields.

Ales Bialiatski was named Person of the Year.

Ales Bialiatski was given the first Distinguished Alumni Award of the Marshall Center

The Distinguished Alumni Award of the George Marshall Center was presented in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. The first winner of the prize established this year was Ales Bialiatski, who was a student of the Center in 2000.

Ales was represented at the ceremony by his wife Natallia Pinchuk, writes Radio Svaboda.

Жонка Алеся Бяляцкага Наталля Пінчук выступае на цырымоніі ў Цэнтры Джорджа Маршала, Нямеччына. 26 верасня 2023
Ales Bialiatski's wife Natallia Pinchuk speaks at a ceremony at the George Marshall Center, Germany. September 26, 2023

An exhibition dedicated to Ales Bialiatski has opened in Warsaw

An exhibition dedicated to Ales Bialiatski and his birthday opened in the Belarusian House in Warsaw on September 26. 

Photo: Belarusian Radio Racyja
Photo: Belarusian Radio Racyja

Natallia Pinchuk visited the Vatican

Natallia Pinchuk, the wife of Ales Bialiatski, visited the Vatican and told diplomats about the suffering of Belarusian political prisoners.

Photo: Lietuvos Respublikos ambasada prie Šventojo Sosto ir Maltos Ordinui

The meeting was held with the support of the Ambassadors of Poland and Lithuania in the Vatican.

Culture and Resistance monograph was awarded the prize of the International Congress of Researchers of Belarus

Monograph of researcher Tatsiana Astrouskaya Culture and Resistance. Intelligentsia, Dissent, and Samizdat in Soviet Belarus (1968-1988) received the prize of the International Congress of Researchers of Belarus in the History. Monographs nomination. The announcement of the winners took place on September 24 in Gdansk.

The book was published by Viasna human rights center in 2022. Its editor was Ales Bialiatski.

Фота: Алесь Аркуш
Photo: Ales Arkush

A #FreeViasna banner appeared in Warsaw 

The banner is located on the office windows of Witryna Domu Wschodniego, a place where "an efficient historical and modern dialogue takes place between the peoples of Eastern Europe, who were divided by the bloody history of the XX century."

The political prisoners from Viasna team have been behind bars for 800 days

On July 14, 2021, they and other Viasna activists were searched. The human rights defenders were accused of "smuggling" and "financing group actions that grossly violate public order."

On March 3, judge Maryna Zapasnik sentenced Viasna activists to long terms: Uladzimir Labkovich to 7 years in a penal colony, Valiantsin Stefanovich to 9 years in a penal colony, Ales Bialiatski to 10 years in a penal colony. The human rights defenders have not admitted their guilt under any article that was imputed to them.

Support them with letters and postcards of solidarity:

Penal colony No. 9, 213410, Horki, vul. Dabraliubava, 16,
Aliaksandr Viktaravich Bialiatski

Penal colony No. 15, 213105, Mahileu, Viejna, Slauharadskaja shasha, 183 to
Valiantsin Kanstantsinavich Stefanovich

Penal colony No. 17, 213004, Shklou, vulica 1-ja Zavodskaja 8,
Uladzimir Mikalayevich Labkovich

1100 days have passed since Marfa Rabkova is in custody

Coordinator of Viasna volunteer service Marfa Rabkova was detained on September 17, 2020. Later, the human rights defender was accused under a number of articles of the Criminal Code for the events of 2016-2020 and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Following the appeal, Marfa's sentence was reduced by three months. The verdict came into force and Rabkova was transferred to the Homel colony.

Recently there has been no news about a volunteer of Viasna Andrei Chapiuk

Send letters or postcards of solidarity to Marfa and Andrei:

Penal colony No. 4. 246035, Homel, vul. Antoshkina, 3
Maryia Aliaksandrauna Rabkova 

Penal colony No. 22. 225295, Brest region, Ivatsevichy, Damanava, PO box 20,
Andrei Siarheyevich Chapiuk

How else to support Viasna team?

1. Letters of solidarity are the strongest support from outside. You can send your letters via regular mail, as well as through electronic services:

You can also send telegrams at the post office or by phone number 166 (only from the landline) and dictate the text. Do not forget to leave your name in the text of the telegram.

2. An equally significant support is the dissemination of information. We urge you to tell your relatives, friends, colleagues, and directly on social media about the Viasna team and other political prisoners. Be sure to use the hashtag #FreeViasna. 

3. Sign the petition for the release of the Viasna team members and all political prisoners of Belarus!

4. Support Viasna on Patreon or with a one-time donation.

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