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Rights defenders report pressure exercised on “patriots’ case” lawyers
The authorities are exercising pressure on lawyers defending the persons involved in ‘the patriots’ case’, the human rights website Viasna reports.
Lawyer Hanna Bahtsina has been recently deprived of her license. She defended one of the main suspects in the patriots’ case – Miraslau Lazouski.
The 25th qualification commission of the Ministry of Justice has certified 13 more lawyers – representatives of Minsk City and Mahilyou Region Bar Associations. Only 5 of them have been approved while the certification of the other eight lawyers has been put off for six more months ‘on condition of fulfilling the given recommendations”.
Five of the eight lawyers are defending persons involved in “the patriots’ case”. “All of them have worked on politically motivated cases before. Their professional future will be decided in six months – on condition that they fulfill ‘the recommendations’ given by the Ministry of Justice,” rights defenders report. Rights defenders think that pressure is being exercised on lawyers and the right of the persons involved in “the patriots’ case” is being violated.
“We are virtually excluding the possibility of a fair investigation of this case which should be based on fair legal standards allowing suspects to receive professional lawyers’ independent assistance. If these principles are violated during legal proceedings, it will result in the corresponding appraisal of the criminal case and the pronounced sentence,” rights defender Valyantsin Stefanovich said.