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At least 12 detained: what is known about the KGB crackdown on lawyers

2024 2024-03-01T12:19:34+0300 2024-03-01T12:19:34+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

On February 28, KGB officers cracked down on lawyers in Minsk. According to human rights activists, at least 12 lawyers were detained. Most of them have been released, and some remain in detention. Over the past three and a half years, hundreds of lawyers have been subjected to repression for political reasons: some have become defendants in criminal and administrative cases, and some have been deprived of licenses. Currently, there are six lawyers who are political prisoners. Viasna reports what is known about the detentions, and the president of the Belarusian Association of Human Rights Lawyers, Maryia Kolesava-Hudzilina, comments on the persecution of lawyers.


According to Viasna, on February 28, the KGB cracked down on practicing lawyers in Minsk: 12 people were detained, two of them still remain behind bars. The exact reasons for the persecution are unknown.

This is not the first attempt by the regime to put pressure on the bar. For almost four years, lawyers have been deprived of the opportunity to carry out their activities, persecuted for helping and protecting political prisoners, deprived of licenses for flimsy reasons, and imprisoned for their work.

Maryia Kolesava-Hudzilina, president of the Belarusian Association of Human Rights Lawyers, commented on another crackdown on lawyers: 

Марыя Колесава-Гудзіліна
Maryia Kolesava-Hudzilina

"We know about the detention of lawyers. Some of them were released. Some remain in custody. We can also say that the detention of lawyers is a violation of the right to competent legal aid. The exercise of this right is impossible without an independent bar, free from pressure from state security agencies on lawyers.

If representatives of the regime need competent legal aid, they will also need independent and free lawyers."

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