The trial of Marfa Rabkova, Andrei Chapiuk and eight other political prisoners to be held behind closed doors

2022 2022-04-25T18:47:36+0300 2022-04-25T18:47:36+0300 en https://spring96.org/files/images/sources/sud_9_marfa.jpeg The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

The trial of ten political prisoners began today in Minsk City Court: coordinator of the "Viasna" Volunteer Service Marfa Rabkova, volunteer Andrei Chapiuk, political prisoners activists of the anarchist movement Akikhiro Hayeuski-Hanada, Aliaksandr Frantskevich, Aliaksei Halauko, Aliaksandr Kazlianka, Pavel Shpetny, Mikita Dranets, Andrei Marach, and Danila Chul. Ten articles of the Criminal Code are featured in this case, while the investigation files constitute 160 volumes. Judge Siarhei Khrypach was appointed to hear this high-profile case.

Prosecutor Andrei Buhuk supports the state prosecution in court. Judge Siarhei Khrypach presided over the case, people's assessors were Siutsova and Kuliashova. At first, everyone who has come, about 45 people, were allowed to attend the hearing. The judge, having heard the opinion of all the participants in the process, forbade photography and videotaping in court. Prosecutor Andrei Buhuk requested a hearing in a closed session, because “there are materials of extremist nature in the materials of the criminal case”. The judge granted his petition and decided to close the hearing. All attendees were ordered out of the courtroom.

Political prisoners in court on April 25
Political prisoners in court on April 25

Political prisoners Marfa Rabkova, Andrei Chapiuk, Akikhiro Hayeuski-Hanada, Aliaksandr Frantskevich, Aliaksei Halauko, Aliaksandr Kazlianka, Pavel Shpetny, Mikita Dranets, Andrei Marach, and Danila Chul are accused of organizing, leading or participating in the anarchist groups Revolutionary Action in Belarus and Ukraine and People's Self-Defense and are tried for events from 2016–2020.

Remarkably, the Internet resources of the Revolutionary Action and People's Self-Defens were recognized by the Ministry of Internal Affairs as an extremist formation on November 2, 2021, eight months after the detention of the last of the ten defendants in the case. However, some of them are accused of establishing and participating in an extremist formation (Part 1 and 3 of Article 361-1 of the Criminal Code).

Investigation Committee characterizes three political prisoners, including Marfa Rabkova, as organizers and leaders of a number of “organized criminal groups that had independent units in the regions of Belarus with their own leaders”.

Eventually, 10 people, depending on their role, are charged under 10 articles of the Criminal Code:

  • Part 1 of Art. 293 (Organization of riots) – Aliaksandr Frantskevich and Akikhiro Hayeuski-Hanada;
  • Part 2 of Art. 293 (Participation in riots) – Aliaksandr Frantskevich, Akikhiro Hayeuski-Hanada, Andrei Chapiuk;
  • Part 3 of Art. 293 (Training or other preparation of persons for participation in mass riots, or financing of this activity) – Marfa Rabkova;
  • Part 1 of Art. 285 (Creation of a criminal organization or its leadership) – Akikhiro Hayeuski-Hanada, Aliaksandr Frantskevich, Aliaksei Halauko, Marfa Rabkova;
  • Part 3 of Art. 361 (Calls for actions aimed at causing harm to the national security of the Republic of Belarus) – Akikhiro Hayeuski-Hanada, Aliaksandr Frantskevich, Marfa Rabkova
  • Part 1 and 3 of Art. 361-1 (Creation of an extremist formation, or participation in it) – Akikhiro Hayeuski-Hanada, Aliaksandr Frantskevich, Aliaksei Halauko, Marfa Rabkova;
  • Part 1 of Art. 342 (Organization and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order, or active participation in them) for the “Not Parasites” rally on March 5, 2017) – Pavel Shpetny, Aliaksandr Kazlianka, Mikita Dranets, Aliaksei Halauko, Andrei Marach, Aliaksandr Frantskevich, Akikhiro Hayeuski-Hanada;
  • Part 1 of Art. 342 (Organization and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order or active participation in them) for blocking the M1 highway at the exit from Brest in 2018 – Akikhiro Hayeuski-Hanada, Aliaksandr Kazlianka, Aliaksandr Frantskevich, Mikita Dranets, Aliaksei Halauko, Danila Chul.
  • Part 1 and Art. 130 (Incitement to hatred) – Akikhiro Hayeuski-Hanada, Aliaksandr Frantskevich, Marfa Rabkova;
  • Part 2 of Art. 339 (Hooliganism committed by a group of persons) for throwing light bulbs with paint into billboards of the traffic police in 2016 and for throwing light bulbs with paint into the National State TV and Radio Company building in 2016 – Marfa Rabkova;
  • Part 2 of Art. 339 (Hooliganism committed by a group of persons) for a smoke grenade thrown into the building of the Brest GUBOPiK in 2016 – Pavel Shpetny, Akikhiro Hayeuski-Hanada, Aliaksandr Frantskevich, Marfa Rabkova;
  • 341 (Desecration of buildings and damage to property) for a May Day graffiti in Brest in 2020 – Akikhiro Hayeuski-Hanada, Aliaksandr Frantskevich, Aliaksei Halauko, Marfa Rabkova, Andrei Marach;
  • 341 (Desecration of buildings and damage to property) for a graffiti against the European Games in 2019 – Akikhiro Hayeuski-Hanada, Andrei Chapiuk, Aliaksandr Frantskevich, Marfa Rabkova;
  • Part 3 of Art. 218, Part 3 of Art. 339, Part 2. of Art. 295-3 (Illegal actions in relation to objects which action is based on use of combustible substances) for arson of the Homieĺ tax inspection and a billboard of the Department of Compulsory Execution of Punishment in ivacevičy in 2017 – Aliaksandr Frantskevich, Marfa Rabkova.

A separate criminal case against Dzmitryi Liauchuk, Artur Kandratovich, Raman Khalilau, and Yauhen Zhurauski, who went abroad, as well as “unidentified persons” was singled out.

Beatings, threats, and long detention

Aliaksandr Frantskevich was tortured after his arrest by the KGB on August 13, according to his former cellmate. KGB officers reportedly beat the prisoner and used an electric shocker to force him to confess. Frantskevich’s lawyer has filed a complaint about the torture reports.

Another arrested anarchist, Akikhiro Hanada, was also badly beaten.

Aliaksandr Kazlianka, another defendant in the case who was detained on March 2 of last year, told about the beatings, threats, and ill-treatment in pre-trial detention center No.1 in Minsk.

The health of Marfa Rabkova hasseriously deteriorated in detention; she needs urgent examination but is not receiving adequate medical care in jail.

 

Partnership

Membership