Freedom for Belarusian Political Prisoners

Since the controversial 9 August 2020 presidential election in Belarus, hundreds of thousands of people who have taken to the streets in peaceful protests have been met with mass repression by the Belarusian authorities. Human Rights House Foundation calls for an end to these human rights violations and for the Belarusian authorities to release all political prisoners. Freedom for Marfa Rabkova and Andrei Chapiuk.

Political prisoners in Belarus

“Defending human rights is now seriously threatened in Belarus… The charge against Marfa Rabkova is tantamount to the criminalisation of human rights work.”

Mary Lawlor, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders calls for the release of Marfa Rabkova.

Human Rights House Foundation calls on the Belarusian authorities to release human rights defenders Marfa Rabkova and Andrei Chapiuk, and all political prisoners, and to drop charges against them. Hear their stories.

In Belarus, hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets in peaceful protest to call for free and fair elections and an end to the severe reprisals against peaceful dissent. Belarusians are met with police brutality and force as they march for their human rights.

Political prisoners: our position

Human Rights House Foundation considers a political prisoner to be any person deprived of liberty for political motives or in violation their human rights, in particular the rights to freedoms of expression, assembly, association and the right to be a human rights defender. This definition is, in part, inspired by the criteria outlined by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

Since the beginning of the protests, citizens, journalists and human rights defenders have been beaten, injured and hospitalized. Thousands of people have been detained by the authorities and many deaths have been confirmed. Hundreds of credible reports have emerged of torture and other ill-treatment of detainees by the authorities.

In a report presented at the United Nations General Assembly in October, Anaïs Marin, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus called on the Belarusian authorities to “put an end to the judicial harassment of human rights defenders, journalists, bloggers and other members of civil society.”

Hear their stories

Freedom for Marfa Rabkova

Marfa Rabkova is a volunteer at Viasna (Member organisation of Belarusian Human Rights House).

On September 17th, Marfa Rabkova, a volunteer coordinator at the Human Rights Center Viasna was detained in Minsk and charged with “criminal pursuit”. Her prosecution is politically motivated and linked to her human rights activities.

During the events surrounding and after the election period, Marfa has worked tirelessly for human rights, helping hundreds of repressed activists and their families, and making sure victims of torture had their voices heard.

Freedom for Andrei Chapiuk

Andrei Chapiuk is a volunteer at Viasna (Member organisation of Belarusian Human Rights House).

“We regard the persecution of Andrei Chapiuk in connection with his legitimate human rights activities as a continuation of the authorities’ campaign of intimidation and pressure on [Viasna] as a whole.“


On October 2, Andrei Chapiuk, a volunteer working with Viasna was detained in Minsk and his apartment was searched by law enforcement. On October 9, Andrei was charged with participation in riots and taken to a pre-trial detention center in Minsk. His persecution is due to his human rights activities.

Take action

Both Marfa Rabkova and Andrei Chapiuk stood up for human rights by speaking up for political prisoners whose voices were silenced. Now is our turn to stand up for Marfa and Andrei.

Write for Rights

Show your support for Marfa, Andrei and all other political prisoners in Belarus by sending them words of encouragement. Write them a postcard and send it to them in prison. Post a picture of it on social media with the hashtag #FreeBelarus to help raise awareness of their situation and that of all political prisoners in Belarus. Let the world see!

Send a postcard or letter to:

SIZO №1, vulica Valadarskaha 2,

Minsk, 220030,


(Name of the person you are addressing – Rabkova Maryia Aliaksandrauna / OR Chapiuk Andrei)

Show your support online and offline

Show your support by sharing these posts and graphics. Take a selfie with the posters and use the hashtags!

Marfa Rabkova: poster for print, social media graphic

Andrei Chapiuk: poster for print, social media graphic

Tweet it: I join @hrhfoundation in calling on the Belarusian authorities to release Marfa Rabkova, Andrei Chapiuk, and all other political prisoners. #FreeMarfa #FreeAndrei #FreeBelarus Show your support!