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Belarusian Helsinki Committee to address UN on disbarred lawyers

2011 2011-07-27T17:52:00+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en

The Belarusian Helsinki Committee is going to inform the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers on the situation with Belarusian lawyers, said BHC deputy chair Hary Pahaniayla, speaking on the recent disbarment of several lawyers this week, the BelaPAN news agency reports.

Mrs. Hanna Bakhtsina and Mrs. Darya Lipkina were reportedly disbarred for their independent stand in protecting the rights of Iryna Khalip and Mikita Likhavid, who stood trials over the 19 December 2010 “mass riot” criminal case.

On 26 July the lawyers failed to undergo an extraordinary attestation initiated by the Ministry of Justice. According to Mrs. Bakhtsina, she was denied attestation “for violating the standards of lawyer’s activities and the professional code of ethics.”

The Belarusian Helsinki Committee is indignant at the decision by the Lawyers’ Attestation Commission, says Mr. Pahaniayla. According to him, the decision was “ordered by the Ministry of Justice, which, in turn, executes the orders of a famous person who is trying to suppress the last independent social institute – lawyers.”

“The Ministry of Justice is doing things inadmissible for a civilized society: the most professional and courageous people are being disbarred. It is the lawyers who can counteract the government’s pressure against the persons facing criminal charges. Unless there is independent protection, one cannot speak of any justice at all”, says the human rights defender.

Mr. Pahaniayla says the incident should provoke reactions by both national and international human rights bodies. “I believe the UN can provide proper reaction”, says the BHC representative.     

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