Lawyers defending dissidents lose their license

Belarusian authorities have revoked license of lawyers who defended opposition activists. On the list of the attorneys who cannot practice law any more are: Hanna Bakhtsin and Daria Lipkin, who offered legal counsel for Irena Khalip and Mikita Likhavid

According to a human rights activist Hary Pankhaniayla, the authorities are more eager to limit the right to legal defense for those facing political trials. – It’s clear that revoking lawyers‘ license will influence their attitude towards the opposition. They will either refuse to defend dissidents in courts or they will do it in a very careful manner. We have already lost independent courts, now we will lose independent lawyers. – he said. Pankhaniayla added that such situation is very convenient for the Belarusian authorities, because „repressive state machine can operate now without any disturbance“.

Lawyers who represented opposition members in court have had their license revoked by the Belarusian Ministry of Justice. Paval Spielka – the lawyer who defended former presidential candidate Andrei Sannikov, was excluded from the Minsk Board of Barristers, which de facto means he lost the right to practice law. Tamara Harayeva and Uladzimir Tovstsik were first subjected to pressure from authorities to withdraw from representing Irena Khalip. They finally yielded and quit Khalip’s case. Dropping the case they had already agreed to take was found illegal in the Belarusian law and used as an excuse to revoke their license. Another two lawyers who lost their right to appear in court are Alekh Akheyu and his mother – Tatsiana Akhayeva, who both represented Ales Mikhalevich. They were accused of „serious violations of the legal counsel agreement“ and „submitting untruthful information to the license-issuing institution“.


See also