Commission on Human Rights under the Supreme Bar Council of Poland sent a letter to the Belarusian Ambassador Victor Haisenok, expressing "grave concern" over the detainees' lack of "adequate opportunities for contact with their lawyers." In addition, the commission is concerned about interference of the Justice Ministry of Belarus in the internal affairs of Minsk City Bar Association in connection with the activities of the detainees' lawyers.
The letter, signed by commission chairman Mikolaj Pietrzak, reminds that the right to protection is one of the fundamental rights of suspects and defendants in criminal proceedings, BelaPAN. This right includes, inter alia, the possibility for suspects and accused to communicate with a lawyer in private.
Regarding the actions of the Belarusian Ministry of Justice, the Polish Commission considers it «unacceptable» to attract members of the organization to disciplinary action «in connection with their alleged violation of professional ethics, reflected in the way of commenting on the progress of the investigation.»
Ministry of Justice is Devastating for Justice, Bar Council of Poland
Polish commission considers the action of Justice Ministry of Belarus as «the highest degree of destruction to justice.» Particular organization’s outrage is caused by the threats of the Ministry of Justice to possibly deprive of lawyers’ licenses, as well as to changes the code of professional ethics of lawyers, associated with the current situation.»
Members of the Bar Council recall in their letter that the defense must object to all actions of the authorities, bringing harm to the clients.
Polish lawyers claim that it’s «unacceptable» to bring lawyers to liability due to the nature of their defendants’ charges. This will inevitably lead to a situation where the right to protect certain categories of citizens will be a mere visibility,» said in the letter. Polish lawyers believe that the Justice Ministry of Belarus «offends the principles of independence of the legal profession and, consequently, the right to protection and a fair trial.»
As Telegraf previously reported, the Ministry of Justice issued a statement on December 29, saying that «some lawyers of the detained on December 19 allow gross violations of counsel professional ethics and applicable law as a whole» and threatened to take «appropriate measures.»
So, January 4, Ministry of Justice confirmed the decision of the Qualification Commission for the legal profession in Belarus to deprive attorney Valentin Busco, who worked in Hrodna Regional Bar, of his license. The reason for this is «violation of applicable laws by participation in an unsanctioned rally on December 19.»
Ministry of Justice has claims to other lawyers of the people, participating in the opposition rallies on December 19-20. In particular, it touches upon Pavel Sapelka, a lawyer of Minsk City Bar, protecting the former presidential candidate Andrei Sannikov.
It became known on January 17 that the Ministry of Justice began to work out a new edition of the rules of lawyers professional ethics.