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Amnesty Urgent Actions
Startseite Urgent Actions 2020 09 Release human rights defender Marfa Rabkova
UA 148/20
Abgeschlossen am 6. Oktober 2020
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24.09.2020 Urgent

Please note this UA is particularly urgent as we have a small window of opportunity where we can be more impactful. Our objective is to secure her release before Sunday 27 September as this is when her initial period of 10-days’ detention expires. At that stage, the authorities will either indict or release her. We will still be able to influence the situation after that but it will become more complex.

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Release human rights defender Marfa Rabkova

AI-Index: EUR 49/3117/2020

Woman human rights defender Marfa Rabkova was detained as a criminal suspect under false pretext on the evening of 17 September, by officers of the Interior Ministry’s Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption (GUBAZIK). Her husband Vadzim Zharomski was also detained but released shortly after. Marfa Rabkova may face criminal charges. She is a prisoner of conscience, targeted solely for her peaceful human rights work and must be immediately and unconditionally released.


Marfa Rabkova is a member of the Human Rights Center «Viasna» where she coordinates the organization’s Volunteer Service. According to Viasna, throughout the presidential election campaign, during and after the 9 August election, members of Viasna faced harassment from the authorities, including arbitrary detentions, so-called administrative arrest and attempted criminal prosecution in connection with their human rights activities.

The detention of woman human rights defender Marfa Rabkova comes in the context of a drastic deterioration in the human rights situation in Belarus. During the electoral campaign period and following the presidential election on 9 August, there have been mass peaceful protests including against the widely disputed official results. Throughout, the authorities have engaged in an escalating campaign against the opposition and all dissenting voices. Thousands of people have been arbitrarily arrested by police, an overwhelming majority of them peaceful protesters or bystanders, and many apprehended in abduction-style arrest by masked plain-clothed men.

According to countless first-hand testimonies, widely available photographic and video material, and medical documents, many if not all of those detained have been subjected to torture and other ill-treatment. The detention centre on Akrestsina, in the capital Minsk, where Marfa Rabkova too was initially held, has become synonymous with the practice of vicious beatings and other inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Dozens of high-profile political and civil society activists and their associates have been arrested under trumped-up charges and subsequently remanded as criminal suspects – a fate Marfa Rabkova must be spared from. They should all be immediately released, and all other human rights violations must stop immediately, including the dispersal of peaceful assemblies, mass arrests and the widespread ill-treatment and torture of detainees.

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