Ministry of Justice suspends Tsikhanouski’s key lawyer Natallia Matskevich
Natallia Matskevich, the key lawyer in the trial of opposition activist Siarhei Tsikhanouski, has been suspended by the Ministry of Justice, according to BHC and BAJ.
On October 12, the Ministry of Justice ordered to “suspend the activities” of Natallia Matskevich in connection with a “disciplinary action” against her. As a result, Matskevich will not be able to defend Tsikhanouski and other defendants in criminal trials until her disciplinary case is considered by the Minsk City Bar.
Natallia Matskevich is one of the most recognized and successful Belarusian human rights lawyers. She is currently defending political prisoner Siarhei Tsikhanouski, who has been on trial since June 24. By suspending the lawyer’s license, the authorities are violating Tsikhanouski’s right to defense.
Natallia Matskevich earlier worked on several important politically motivated cases, including that of the former CEO of Belgazprombank and presidential nominee Viktar Babaryka. Back in 2017 and 2018, she defended the leader of the Independent Trade Union “REP” Henadz Fiadynich and activists arrested as part of the “White Legion case”.
She is a lawyer for Nobel Prize winner in literature Svetlana Alexievich in the Coordination Council case, chairman of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee Aleh Hulak, chairman of the Belarusian Association of Journalists Andrei Bastunets, and anarchist Mikalai Dziadok. The lawyer represented the interests of the mother of the disappeared politician Yury Zakharanka.
In 2018, Natallia Matskevich persuaded the Maskoŭski District Court of Minsk to block the expulsion of the spokeswoman of the United Civil Party Hanna Krasulina.