Viasna’s Marfa Rabkova faces up to 20 years in prison on 11 charges

Marfa (Maryia) Rabkova, a political prisoner and coordinator of Viasna’s network of volunteers, has been charged with eleven criminal offenses and faces up to 20 years in prison, her family said quoting a recent letter from the prisoner.

  • by EECA
  • 29 November 2021

Apart from several protest-related charges, Rabkova is accused of “calls for actions aimed at harming the national security,” “creating an extremist formation,” “managing a criminal organization,” “inciting social hostility,” “hooliganism” and “deliberate destruction or damage to property.”

Marfa says some of the charges are older unsolved cases that the police attempt to impute to her in retaliation for her activism. The 26-year-old and several other young activists involved in the case were forced to sign non-disclosure agreements, and Rabkova believes that the trial will be held behind closed doors to hide apparent falsification of evidence.

She has been volunteering for about five years and became an employee of Viasna in 2019. In the human rights centre, her main activity was supervising the volunteer service while she also actively participated in observing peaceful assemblies. Following the 2020 presidential elections, Marfa was among those collecting evidence of torture and violence against the peaceful protesters.

Detained in September 2020, Rabkova has been in prison for over 14 months. She refused to testify throughout her detention. Earlier, she told her relatives in a letter that police officers promised her a prison term “somewhere between Babaryka and Kalesnikava” (14 and 11 years).