Rabkova's cellmate: “Marfa needs biopsy to see if it's benign or something worse”
The coordinator of the Viasna Volunteer Service Marfa Rabkova, who was sentenced to 14 years and nine months in jail, was recently transferred to a women's colony. Earlier she spent two and a half years in detention center No. 1 in Minsk. Over this time, the health of a 28 years old woman has seriously deteriorated. She needs a quality check-up and treatment. Some hope remains that it will now happen in the colony. Tour guide Valeryia Charnamortsava, who shared a cell with Rabkova, told Viasna more about our colleague's health.
While in jail, Rabkova contracted COVID several times, which, among other things, affected the inflammatory processes in her body. Thus, Marfa has long had problems with her lymph nodes and thyroid gland. Valeryia Charnamortsava, who shared a cell with the activist from late October to mid-January, spoke about her health at the time:
“She has had inflamed lymph nodes for over a year, and there are some neoplasms in her thyroid gland, which she can physically feel now. She was given an ultrasound examination in the pre-trial detention center. A doctor came to Valodarka (unofficial name of the detention center in Minsk—translator’s note), but his equipment was inadequate. He then advised Marfa that she should have an examination on a better machine in Kaliadzičy, where there is a normal system. She kept saying that at checkups every Thursday and the officers told her that they knew and remembered it. But so far nothing has been done. In my opinion, she needs not just an ultrasound, but a puncture biopsy to see if it's benign or something worse.”
In addition, Marfa was diagnosed with pelvic fluid long ago, so she also needs to undergo a gynecological examination and receive the necessary treatment.
Charnamortsava notes that the level of medical care in the detention facility leaves much to be desired:
“There is a therapist in the pre-trial detention center, nicknamed Vasia-the-Quack-Doctor, who does nothing. If the prisoners have health problems, they write health requests to him, and he, in turn, must consider them. But, for example, when we all had high blood pressure, he said ‘You should do more sports’.”
Rabkova always insisted that every day the inmates of her cell went out for a walk, Charnamortsava told Viasna. There is a rule in the pre-trial detention center that when one of the prisoners refuses to go out for a walk, the whole cell stays inside.
"If someone refused, Masha would say ‘I'm sorry, girls, but I just can't survive without a walk’."
On March 14, Marfa Rabkova was transferred from Minsk pre-trial detention facility to Homieĺ colony No. 4, where she will be quarantined for about two weeks. On 16 March it became known that the State Security Committee put her on the list of persons involved in terrorist activities.