Belarusian Ministry of Justice revoked yesterday Tamara Sidarenka’s license to practice law. She had defended in court a former presidential candidate – Uladzimir Niaklayev. The information was reported by Viasna human rights center.
Sidarenka together with other lawyers was supposed to undergo a special evaluation conducted by the Certificate Commission. Without waiting for the evaluation results, Ministry of Justice revoked her license.
Tamara Sidarenka is planning to ask for the decision’s substantiation, she told Radio Svaboda. She had received two official warnings from the ministry before. One was issued after she said in a media interview, that lawyers are denied access to Niaklayev on purpose. Second warning was due to some shortcomings in documentation, discovered during an inspection. After the inspection, Sidarenka submitted corrected documents to the Ministry of Justice.
Tamara Sidarenka had been receiving a very positive feedback from the Ministry, and was awarded a diploma. Similarly, Belarusian Bar Association had previously applauded her professional conduct.
Lawyers who represented opposition members in courts have had their license revoked by the Belarusian Ministry of Justice. Paval Spielka – the lawyer who defended former presidential candidate Andrei Sanyo, 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 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“.