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"We are here because our hearts say so": solidarity action with political prisoner and lawyer Maksim Znak Photo

2024 2024-06-12T12:55:02+0300 2024-06-12T12:55:02+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

On June 11, in Vilnius, in front of the building of the Belarusian embassy, a solidarity demonstration was held in support of Belarusian political prisoner and lawyer Maksim Znak. The event was organized by the Lithuanian Bar Council, and supported by Belarusian lawyers, in order to speak about the lawlessness against their Belarusian colleague imprisoned for his professional activities, while for almost 16 months there has been no information about him.

President of the Belarusian Association of Human Rights Lawyers Maryia Kolesava-Hudzilina

Lawyer Yauhen Pylchanka, who in turn defended lawyer Maksim Znak, was disbarred, and later was forced to leave the country, spoke about Maksim's activities in the 2020 election campaign, about his persecution and noted that Maksim Znak stands out among others:

"He vividly showed how a lawyer should behave in order to correspond to the essence of the profession."

Yauhen Pylchanka

The chairman of the Lithuanian Bar Council, Mindaugas Kukaitis, stressed that people need lawyers as long as they need to defend their rights.

"And today we are gathered here to defend the lawyer himself. We are here because our hearts say so, we are here to speak loudly about the particular person, to speak about the torture that is used against him, about the prisoner of conscience being held incommunicado."

Chairman of the Lithuanian Bar Council Mindaugas Kukaitis

Maksim is not only a lawyer. As the Belarusian poet Sabina Brylo noted in her speech, he is also a creative person and his work brings us light and hope. When in the pre-trial detention center he had managed to make notes and write poems, and get them out, and they are now published in the book The Zekameron. She read an excerpt from the lawyer's new book.

Sabina Brylo

"Maksim is also persecuted for his proselytizing life position, which poses a threat and danger to the regime," Sabina Brylo said.

At the end of the demonstration, a song based on a poem by Maksim Znak, translated into Lithuanian, was performed for the first time. Maksim also wrote the music for it. The song was masterfully performed by Gedras Arbachauskas.

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