Human rights defenders from “Viasna”: two years behind bars

Freedom for all political prisoners in Belarus!

July 14, 2023 marks two years since the arrest, arbitrary detention and prosecution of Ales Bialiatski, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2022 and chairman of the human rights center “Viasna”, deputy head of “Viasna” and vice-president of FIDH Valiantsin Stefanovich and lawyer of “Viasna” Uladzimir Labkovich. After a court hearings on the cases fabricated against the human rights defenders, they were sentenced to long prison terms (10, 9 and 7 years, respectively) and huge fines.

The Observatory for the Protection of human rights defenders (a joint project of OMCT and FIDH) published a new report on the results of monitoring the trial against human rights defenders from “Viasna”. The Observatory calls on the international community to use all available means to exert pressure on the authorities of Belarus and to force them to respect the rule of law and release all human rights defenders in the country.

Three more human rights defenders from “Viasna” are behind the bars: head of the Gomel branch, Leanid Sudalenka, was sentenced to three years in a penal colony, coordinator of the “Viasna” Volunteer Service, Marfa Rabkova (to 14 years and 9 months), and volunteer Andrei Chapiuk (to 5 years and 9 months). In total, according to “Viasna”, there are almost 1,500 political prisoners in Belarus. Some of them died in prison, including a famous Belarusian artist Ales Pushkin, whose health was fatally damaged by the torture conditions in the colony and the lack of medical care.

Our colleagues from “Viasna”, working in exile, are organising a solidarity event in Vilnius dated to the anniversary of the arrest of Ales Bialiatski, Valiantsin Stefanovich and Uladzimir Labkovich: Belarusian Rada of Culture, Šv. Ignoto g. 5 (Vilnius), July 14, 2023 at 18.00.