The Observatory calls for urgent intervention in Marfa Rabkova's case
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Belarus.
The Observatory has been informed about the ongoing arbitrary detention, deterioration of health condition and upcoming trial of Maria (a.k.a Marfa) Rabkova, Coordinator of volunteer services at the Human Rights Centre “Viasna” who notably participated in documenting evidence of torture and other inhuman treatment of detained participants in the post-election demonstrations in Belarus. The Minsk City Court will consider the case against Ms. Rabkova on April 25, 2022.
The Observatory expresses its utmost concern over Ms. Rabkova’s deteriorating health condition while in detention and urges the authorities in Belarus to grant her immediate access to adequate and comprehensive medical treatment, and to immediately and unconditionally release her, as her detention is arbitrary and is only putting her life at risk.
The Observatory condemns the ongoing arbitrary detention of Viasna members, including Ales Bialiatski, head of Viasna, Valiantsin Stefanovic, member of Viasna’s Board and Vice-President of FIDH, Uladzimir Labkovich, lawyer and coordinator of the campaign “Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections”, Leanid Sudalenka, lawyer of the Homieĺ (Gomel) branch of Viasna and volunteers Tatsiana Lasitsa and Andrey Chapiuk.
Viasna case is a series of criminal investigations targeting the organization's leaders and regular members for their human rights activities and assistance to people in defending their rights and public interests. Thet are facing charges of "organizing and financing group actions that grossly violate public order" (Parts 1 and 2 of Art. 342) and "tax evasion" (Part 2 of Art. 243 of the Criminal Code).
Please write to the authorities of Belarus to urge them to:
- Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Marfa Rabkova, as well as of all Viasna members and all other human rights defenders in Belarus;
- Immediately and unconditionally release Marfa Rabkova, since her detention is arbitrary as it seems to be merely aimed at punishing her for her legitimate human rights activities;
- Guarantee the unhindered access of Marfa Rabkova to adequate medical care, a lawyer of her choice and to her family members;
- Put an end to all acts of harassment - including at the judicial level - against Marfa Rabkova as well as all Viasna members and Belarussian human rights defenders, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their legitimate activities without any hindrance and fear of reprisals.
- Mr. Aliaksandr Lukashenka, President of Belarus, Email: email@example.com;
- Mr. Andrei Shved, General Prosecutor of Belarus, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org;
- Mr. Oleg Slizhevsky, Minister of Justice of Belarus, Email: email@example.com;
- Mr. Vasily Gerasimov, Acting Chairman of the State Control Committee of Belarus, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org;
- Mr. Ivan Kubrakov, minister of Internal Affairs of Belarus, Email: email@example.com;
- Mr. Yury Ambrazevich, Permanent Mission of Belarus to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org;
- H.E. Mr. Aliaksandr Mikhnevich, Embassy of Belarus in Brussels, Email: email@example.com
Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Belarus in your respective countries.
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH. The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. OMCT and FIDH are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.