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Startseite Urgent Actions 2020 09 Release human rights defender Marfa Rabkova
UA 148/20
Abgeschlossen am 6. Oktober 2020
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04.12.2020: Deadline extended

We are extending the appeals deadline of women human rights defender and prisoner of conscience Marfa Rabkova as it is important to continue maintaining pressure on the authorities. We would also like to remind you about the ongoing solidarity action (see below under: 09.10.2020 solidarity action).

Thank you very much for your continued support!

10.11.2020: Update

Human rights defender Marfa Rabkova, who remains in detention in Belarus for her peaceful human rights work and faces criminal charges that carry a prison sentence of up to three years.Marfa Rabkova’s case was recently raised by a number of UN Special Procedures in a statement published on 2 November condemning the targeting of women human rights defenders: see here
Mary Lawlor, the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, noted in the statement that the «charge against Maria Rabkova is tantamount to the criminalisation of human rights work.»
As the Belarusian authorities are intensifying their crackdown on peaceful protestors, we need to let them know that the world is not going away and to keep up the pressure on the authorities as well as our solidarity with those detained.
Please continue to send appeals and messages of solidarity for Marfa Rabkova (see below).
Thank you very much for your continued support!

09.10.2020: Solidarity action to support prisoner of conscience Marfa Rabkova

You can send solidarity messages to:
Rabkova Maryia Aliaksandrauna
SIZO №1, vulica Valadarskaha 2,
Minsk, 220030
Republic of Belarus
Great if we can show Marfa she’s not alone.

Suggested messages include:

You are not alone! (Belarusian: Мы з вамi! Russian: Мы с вами!)

I support your freedom!
(Belarusian: Я далучаюся да патрабаванняў аб вашым неадкладным вызваленні! Russian: Я присоединяюсь к требованиям о вашем немедленном освобождении!)

Free all prisoners of conscience in Belarus!
(Belarusian: Я заклiкаю жа вызвалення ўсіх вязняў сумлення ў Беларусі! Russian: Я призиваю к освобождению всех узников совести в Беларуси!)

Thank you very much for your solidarity!

07.10.2020: Correction of the name of the General Prosecutor

Please note the name of the Prosecutor General is Andrei Shved.

Thank you.

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.

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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