2011 16/02
stefanovich

On 16 February reports began to appear that the Qualification Commission of the Ministry of Justice had initiated the revoking the licenses of a number of Belarusian lawyers – Iryna Khalip’s former counsels Uladzimir Toustsik and Tamara Harayeva, Ales Mikhalevich’s counsel Aleh Aheyeu, as well as the latter’s mother lawyer Ms. Tatsiana Aheyeva.

According to the Ministry of Justice, Uladzimir Toustsik’s license is going to be revoked after he refused to defend his client Ms. Iryna Khalip. However, Belarusian human rights defenders say it was Ms. Khalip who waived defence due to a mass intimidation by the KGB.

“Moreover, counsel Toustsik is currently appealing Iryna Khalip’s decision, after it turned out that his suspension was accompanied by a number of procedural abuses. I think that counsel Tamara Harayeva did so under coercion”, says human rights defender Valiantsin Stefanovich.

As for counsels Aleh Aheyeu and Tatsiana Aheyeva, Mr. Stefanovich stresses that “by a strange coincidence, they are members of the Presidium of Minsk City Bar.” Another counsel Pavel Sapelka was earlier threatened with revoking of advocate’s license and removal from the Presidium. All the four counsels have provided legal assistance to accused in the “mass riot” case.

“All the recent actions by the Ministry of Justice seem to deal with a desire to exert pressure on the lawyers of Minsk City Bar in general”, says Mr. Stefanovich.

According to Valiantsin Stefanovich, human rights defenders have witnessed repeated attempts of gagging the counsels’ community through the Ministry of Justice.

Source: spring96.org

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