Ministry of Justice continues pressurization of lawyers

2011 2011-09-13T19:15:16+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

On 2 September Aliaksandr Pylchanka, Chair of the Minsk City Bar, made an application for the termination of his powers after the Ministry of Justice issued the proposal for the long-term revocation of the lawyer from this position. The discussion of this proposal and the lawyer’s application will take place at the general assembly of the Minsk City Bar on 24 September. It’s worth mentioning that it is not the first time the Ministry of Justice tries to pressurize the head of the Bar.

For instance, on 18 February 2011 Aliaksandr Pylshanka was expelled from the Qualification commission on issues of lawyers’ activities. It was this commission that took the decision to deprive lawyers involved in the criminal proceedings concerning the events of 19 December 2010 in Minsk, of their professional licenses, but Aliaksandr Pylchanka never attended such sittings of the commission.

Mr. Pylchanka was expelled from the commission the day he gave an interview to the BelaPAN. “The administration of the Minsk City Bar considers the present situation as critical and really threatening to the independence of the bar as an institution and the individual independence of lawyers”, said Pylchanka in the interview. He also added that on 17 February there was held an extended sitting of the Presidium of the Minsk City Bar with the participation of the heads of legal advice offices, at which the proposal to annul the professional licenses to four lawyer involved in the criminal proceedings concerning 19 December events, Aleh Aheyeu, Tatsiana Aheyeva, Tamara Harayeva and Uladzimir Toustsik, was discussed, and that the Minsk City Bar decided to hold an extraordinary sitting in connection with the pressurization of lawyers and invite all interested persons to it. However, on 25 the Presidium of the Bar refused from this idea.

Bear in mind that earlier licenses were terminated to lawyers U. Toustsik and T. Harayeva who defended I. Khalip, lawyer A. Aheyeu, who defended A. Mikhalevich, lawyers Z. Zaleuskaya and T. Aheyeva, and lawyer Tamara Sidarenka, who defended the candidate for presidency in Belarus Uladzimir Niakliayeu, and another presidential candidate, Aliaksei Mikhalevich, after his first lawyer, A. Aheyeu, was deprived of license.

Lawyer P. Sapelka who defended candidate for presidency A. Sannikau was excluded from the Minsk City Bar Association on the proposal of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Belarus.
Three of the lawyers (P Sapelka, T. Aheyeva and A.Aheyeu) were members of the Presidium of the Minsk City Bar, organ of lawyers’ self-government).

Some other lawyers who defended figurants of the “19 December mass riot” case weren’t attested by extraordinary attestation commissions: D. Lipkina who defended M. Likhavid, A. Bakhtsina (defended I. Khalip), A. Burak (defended A. Klaskouski and A. Liabedzka). These lawyers insisted on the complete acquittal of their clients. The qualification commission didn’t take any decisions concerning the termination of their licenses.