First, Maksim Znak, Viktar Babaryka’s lawyer, was arrested; then Iliya Salei and Liudmila Kazak, Maria Kalesnikava’s lawyers; then Aliaksandr Pylchanka, Babaryka’s and Kalesnikava’s defender, was stripped of his licence… Coincidence?.. Too many “coincidences” point at a regularity.

Maksim Znak was detained by people wearing civilian clothes and masks and court proceedings on his case were closed. Liudmila Kazak was held in a District Internal Affairs Directorate for more than six hours and no information on her location was released to her family as the law requires. And witnesses with fake IDs and wearing balaclavas in court are of no surprise for us.

Those who are to defend, lawyers, are being consistently persecuted in Belarus. We demand that the pressure on the human rights defenders was stopped.

We stand against:

– Arbitrary detainment (by people wearing civilian clothes/without identifying themselves/without stating the charges);

– Unlawful court proceedings (closed/with unjustified denials in response to claims on actions of the officials and governmental bodies/with anonymised witnesses);

– Pressure on human rights defenders and their families (concealing the location of the arrested, multiple hours-long interrogations, threats, searches).

The Coordination Council demands to ensure security of advocacy activity and calls on the Belarusian courts to comply with the laws of the Republic of Belarus.

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