Belarus Cracks Down on Human Rights Lawyers

Belarus Cracks Down on Human Rights Lawyers

Belarus Cracks Down on Human Rights Lawyers

Human rights are very crucial for the citizens of every country to live life with respect and dignity. According to a report released by Human Rights Watch, Belarusian officials are cracking down on the lawyers who help the people in various cases related to politics, exposing human rights violations.

What Did Anastasiia Kruope Have to Say About the Situation?

Assistant Europe and Central Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch, Anastasiia Kruope, said that “by retaliating against human rights lawyers, undermining their rights, and also violating the rights of their clients in political-related cases, the authorities of Belarus have converted the judicial system into a mockery of justice and are constraining the Belarusians’ right to a fair trial and equal protection under the law.” He also said that “Belarus should soon end the politically motivated prosecutions of the lawyers.”.

Analysis Done By Human Rights Watch

Between September 2023 and April 2024, Human Rights Watch communicated with 19 Belarusian lawyers and, over the past three years, analyzed the information available on bar association websites. Human Rights Watch, along with the Right to Defence Project and the Belarusian Association of Human Rights Lawyers, have studied almost 140 cases in which lawyers have lost their licenses. According to the information collected, it could be concluded that the government was illegally taking away the licenses of the lawyers for political reasons.

This targeting of only human rights lawyers is part of a bigger crackdown by the government of Belarus on anyone who disagrees with them. This governmental crackdown started before and continued even after the 2020 presidential elections and the mass protest against the attempts of Lukashenka to become president for the sixth time.

Belarusian lawyers are lifelines for their clients.

In Belarus, lawyers are very important for their clients who are being prosecuted just because they were peacefully standing up for their rights or were trying to defend basic freedoms. To stand up for their own rights, clients have to go through severe mistreatment, torture, and even stay in harsh prison conditions.

The Belarusian government makes it very hard for the lawyers to meet their clients, especially when the cases are linked to politics. Even the officials listen to confidential information between the clients and their lawyers. All these things make it very difficult for the lawyers to defend their clients and find evidence.

6 Lawyers Currently in Prison

In the history of Belarus, for the first time, lawyers were sent to jail just because they were representing their clients in political cases. Six lawyers, Maksim Znak, Aliaksandr Danilevich, Vital Brahinets, Anastasiya Lazarenka, Yuliya Yurhilevich, and Aliaksei Barodka, are currently in jail for political reasons. The sentences of each lawyer range from 6 to 10 years.Since September 2020, the Belarusian authorities have arrested almost 23 lawyers without any valid reason and later used these arrests as excuses to prevent the lawyers from representing their clients in political-related cases. They also later took away their licenses.

The Belarusian Bar Associations are not truly independent bodies that represent lawyers in Belarus. The lack of independent bodies is due to the control over their formation and workings.The Belarusian government needs to stop the unfair prosecution of Belarusian lawyers for political reasons and stop all kinds of harassment against the lawyers. The lawyers should be allowed to do their jobs with complete freedom and without any interference or fear of punishment.

Other countries in the world should urge the Belarusian government to stop these illegal prosecutions and follow the rules that Belarus agreed upon internationally.

Read Previous

Top 10 soft skills to make your graduate resume better

Read Next

5 Steps to handle job rejection better

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x