Belarus authorities may disbar Maryia Kalesnikava’s lawyer Lyudmila Kazak

The Belarusian authorities may strip Lyudmila Kazak, a defence lawyer of political prisoner Maryia Kalesnikava, of her barrister’s license, the human rights centre Viasna reports.

According to the watchdog, the formal reason is the administrative case under Article 23.4 (‘disobedience to an officer’s lawful order’) which was opened against Lyudmila.

On September 24, the Minsk police detained Lyudmila Kazak in the city centre; then she was searched in Tsentralny district department of Interior. Two protocols were drawn upon the woman; Lyudmila Kazak was charged under the above mentioned Art. 23.4 and Art. 23.34 (‘ciolating rules of holding mass events’). On the following day, Alyaksandr Rudzenka, a judge of Kastrychnitski district court of Minsk, ruled that the lawyer was guilty of disobedience to those who grabbed her in broad daylight and drove away without explanation. The defendant got a fine of 725 rubles.

In the light of the ruling, the disciplinary commission of the Minsk City Bar Association brought Lyudmila Kazak to disciplinary responsibility in late January; she was reprimanded. The next measure taken against her was the Justice Ministry’s launching the process of depriving her of the lawyer status. The ministry claims that their colleague ‘committed actions that discredit the attorneyship and the bar members’.

Viasna links the pressure exerted on Lyudmila Kazak to the fact that she belongs to jailed opposition politician Maryia Kalesnikava’s defence team. Earlier, the license of Kalesnikava’s defence lawyer Alyaksandr Pylchanka was revoked; criminal proceedings were initiated against two other lawyers of the prisoner of conscience Illya Saley and Maksim Znak.

Imprisoned opposition activist Maryia Kalesnikava: ‘We live in police state’