June 13, 2024

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Travesty of Justice Reaches New Lower in Belarus

Belarusian attorney Yulia Yurhilevich and journalist Pavel Mazheika experience up to seven many years in jail for sharing information broadly obtainable to the public.

In the latest instance of the authorities concentrating on lawyers and journalists in Belarus, the two have been accused of “repeatedly aiding extremist activity” for sharing facts about Yurhilevich’s disbarment and a courtroom situation – information and facts incorporated on govt web sites.

Yurhilevich is a defense legal professional with 18 several years of practical experience, well-acknowledged for representing victims of politically determined prosecutions.

In February 2022, the regional bar affiliation of Hrodna – a city in close proximity to the Belarusian-Polish border – disbarred Yurhilevich for “systematic violation of the law.” According to defenders.by, the disbarment was triggered by a grievance from the Hrodna area deputy prosecutor questioning her “professionalism.” In Belarus, bar membership is mandatory for training defense attorneys.

In August 2022, when Yurhilevich returned to Belarus following a continue to be in Poland, authorities detained her and raided her condominium. On the exact same day they detained Mazheika, an impartial journalist and leader of a area independent team “City everyday living middle.”

Throughout the initial court listening to on July 10, the prosecution alleged that Mazheika and Yurhilevich “by prior conspiracy” shared the info about Yurhilevich’s disbarment and the demo of a single of her consumers Ales Pushkin, with a Poland-based mostly broadcaster Belsat which authorities had specified “extremist.”

Notification about Yurhilevich’s disbarment and license termination is at the moment obtainable on the web-site of Justice Ministry. The aspects of Ales Pushkin’s politically enthusiastic demo and sentencing can also be simply uncovered on the point out media web site.

Authorities claim that by sharing this publicly obtainable information and facts, Mazheika and Yurhilevich collaborated in “extremist activity” and “invalidated the values and targets of [Belarusian] culture and the state” by “knowingly spreading false information and facts.”

Belarusian authorities systematically prosecute impartial journalists and human legal rights attorneys on spurious expenses. At minimum 120 legal professionals shed their licenses on politically enthusiastic grounds.

According to Belarusian Association of Human Legal rights Legal professionals, the case towards Yurhilevich and Mazheika was orchestrated “exclusively to intimidate legal professionals and avoid them from any publicity in their expert activities.”

At the court docket listening to, each Yurhilevich and Mazheika turned their backs to the courtroom in protest in opposition to this mockery of justice. Yurhilevich was carrying her jail robe with a label “punishment mobile N2” on the again, indicating she was getting isolated as a punishment for the duration of her pre-trial detention – a really highly effective illustration of the present state of judicial process in Belarus.

Nowadays, the spouse and children of Ales Pushkin described his sudden demise in intensive care unit. He was serving his sentence in the similar Hrodna prison N1 where by Yurhilevich and Mazheika are currently held.