Freedom for Belarusian Political Prisoners

Human Rights House Foundation calls on the Belarusian authorities to end to all human rights violations and to release all political prisoners. Freedom for Marfa Rabkova, Andrei Chapiuk, Leanid Sudalenka, Tatsiana Lasitsa, and all political prisoners. [Updated 18 March 2021]

Political prisoners in Belarus

“Defending human rights is now seriously threatened in Belarus… The charge against Marfa Rabkova is tantamount to the criminalisation of human rights work.”

Mary Lawlor, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders calls for the release of Marfa Rabkova.

Human Rights House Foundation calls on the Belarusian authorities to drop charges against and release all political prisoners including human rights defenders Marfa Rabkova, Andrei Chapiuk, Leanid Sudalenka and Tatsiana Lasitsa. Hear their stories.

Since the 9 August 2020 presidential election in Belarus, tens of thousands of people who have taken to the streets in peaceful protests have been met with mass repression by the Belarusian authorities.

Political prisoners: our position

Human Rights House Foundation considers a political prisoner to be any person deprived of liberty for political motives or in violation their human rights, in particular the rights to freedoms of expression, assembly, association and the right to be a human rights defender. This definition is, in part, inspired by the criteria outlined by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

Since the beginning of the on-going crisis, citizens, journalists and human rights defenders have been beaten, injured and hospitalized. According to Viasna, Belarus saw unprecedented repression in 2020 including:

  • More than 33,000 individuals detained
  • Over 1000 testimonies of torture
  • Political activists, journalists, bloggers & HRDs targetted

In a report presented at the United Nations General Assembly in October, Anaïs Marin, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus called on the Belarusian authorities to “put an end to the judicial harassment of human rights defenders, journalists, bloggers and other members of civil society.”

Hear their stories

Freedom for Marfa Rabkova

Marfa Rabkova is a volunteer at Viasna (Member organisation of Belarusian Human Rights House).

On September 17th, Marfa Rabkova, a volunteer coordinator at the Human Rights Center Viasna was detained in Minsk and charged with “criminal pursuit”. Her prosecution is politically motivated and linked to her human rights activities.

During the events surrounding and after the election period, Marfa has worked tirelessly for human rights, helping hundreds of repressed activists and their families, and making sure victims of torture had their voices heard.


Freedom for Andrei Chapiuk

Andrei Chapiuk is a volunteer at Viasna (Member organisation of Belarusian Human Rights House).

“We regard the persecution of Andrei Chapiuk in connection with his legitimate human rights activities as a continuation of the authorities’ campaign of intimidation and pressure on [Viasna] as a whole.“

Viasna

On October 2, Andrei Chapiuk, a volunteer working with Viasna was detained in Minsk and his apartment was searched by law enforcement. On October 9, Andrei was charged with participation in riots and taken to a pre-trial detention center in Minsk. His persecution is due to his human rights activities.


Freedom for Leanid Sudalenka

Leanid Sudalenka the head of Viasna’s office in Homieĺ (Member organisation of Belarusian Human Rights House).

On January 5, the civil and political community centre where Viasna’s office is located was raided by the police. On January 18, police detained Leanid Sudalenka. He is currently a suspect in a criminal case under Art. 342 of the Criminal Code (organisation or active participation in group actions which gravely breach public order) and has been remanded in a detention centre. On the same evening, Sudalenka’s assistant and Viasna’s volunteer Maryia Tarasenka was detained and her house was also searched. Tarasenka was later released on 21 January.


Freedom for Tatsiana Lasitsa

 

Tatsiana Lasitsa is a volunteer of Viasna’s office in Homieĺ (Member organisation of Belarusian Human Rights House).

Tatsiana Lasitsa was detained on January 21 at the Minsk airport by officers of the Interior Ministry.

She is a suspect in a criminal case under Part 1 and Part 2 of Art. 342 of the Criminal Code (organisation or active participation in group actions that grossly violate public order). She was remanded in custody pending indictment.

Take action

Postcards for political prisoners

Viasna Human Rights Centre is keeping a comprehensive and regularly updated list of political prisoners as well as their mailing addresses. Show your support by sending letters of solidarity to Marfa Rabkova, Andrei Chapiuk, Leanid Sudalenka, Tatsiana Lasitsa, and all other political prisoners in Belarus.

Show your support online and offline

Show your support by sharing these posts and graphics. Take a selfie with the posters and use the hashtags!

 

Marfa Rabkova: poster for print, social media graphic

Andrei Chapiuk: poster for print, social media graphic

Leanid Sudalenka: poster for print, social media graphic

Tatsiana Lasitsa: poster for print, social media graphic

I join @hrhfoundation in calling on the Belarusian authorities to release Marfa Rabkova, Andrei Chapiuk, Leanid Sudalenka, Tatsiana Lasitsa, and all other political prisoners. #FreeBelarus Show your support! http://bit.ly/FreeBYhrds

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We Stand With Belarus

Download our “We Stand With Belarus” graphics pack to show your support for Belarusian civil society.