Purges among lawyers go on
The Ministry of Justice is trying to replace the head of the Minsk City Bar.
The general meeting of the members of the Minsk City Bar has been announced to be held on October 22. It is expected to discuss the application of the Belarusian Ministry of Justice on prescheduled recall of the head of the Minsk City Bar, Alyaksandr Pylchanka.
The application was issued by interim Minister of Justice Bileichyk on August 31, 2011.
The application reads that “the Ministry of Justice ordered Pylchanka in February 2011 to rectify violations of the Rules of Professional Ethics. Besides, he was expelled from the Qualification Commission on Counseling.”
The application also notes that in February 2011, Pylchanka initiated “a meeting of the presidium of the Minsk City Bar and chiefs of legal offices where a decision was taken to call up a general meeting to condemn actions by the Ministry of Justice in connection with expelling a number of lawyers from the Minsk City Bar”.
The head of the Minsk City Bar seems to have faced revenge for an attempt to conduct an extra meeting of the Minsk City Bar regarding disbarring four lawyers, who had defended participants of the December 19 demonstration (Pavel Sapelka, Aleh Aheyeu, Tatsyana Aheyeva, Uladzimir Toustsik) and Tamara Harayeva.
“The key personnel of the Minsk City Bar finds the situation critical and menacing independence of the bar association as a legal institution and independence of lawyers,” Alyaksandr Pylchanka said then.
We remind that lawyers Tamara Sidarenka, who defended Uladzimir Nyaklyaeu; Uladzimir Toustsik and Tamara Harayeva, who defended Iryna Khalip; Aleh Aheyeu, who defended Ales Mikhalevich; Aheyeu’s wife lawyer Zaryna Zaleuskaya, lawyer Tatsyana Aheyeva were disbarred this year. Lawyer Pavel Sapelka, who defended Andrei Sannikov, was expelled from the Minsk City Bar on the order of the Ministry of Justice. Three of the disbarred lawyers, Sapelka, Aheyeva and Aheyeu, were members of the presidium of the Minsk City Bar – the body of lawyers’ self-administration.