Joint letter on revocation licenses of Aliaksandr Pylchanka and Yulia Levanchuk
In a joint letter Lawyers for Lawyers and the Law Society of England and Wales have expressed concerns about the revocation of the licenses to practise law of the Belarus lawyers Aliaksandr Pylchanka and Yulia Levanchuk on 15 October 2020.
Mr. Pylchanka represents detained opposition leaders Viktar Babaryka and Maria Kalesnikava. The decision to revoke his license by the Qualification Commission for legal practice in the Republic of Belarus on 15 October 2020 was based on his alleged involvement in “the commission of a misdemeanour incompatible with the title of lawyer”, namely “the commission of actions discrediting the bar”. We were informed that the evidence against him included an interview he gave which was published on the TUT.BY internet portal on 14 August 2020. In the interview, Mr. Pylchanka commented on what actions should be taken by law enforcement officials and the judicial system in Belarus following the use of violence against civilians by law enforcement officers .
Ms. Levanchuk represents Maksim Kharoshyn, the owner of a flower shop in Minsk who handed out flowers to protesters. After his detention on 13 October 2020, Maksim Kharoshyn was so badly beaten that he had to be hospitalized. We have been informed that the justification given for revoking Ms. Levanchuk’s license to practice law is connected to allegedly using threats in her online conversation with the investigator in charge of her client’s case.
According to our information, both Mr. Pylchanka and Ms. Levanchuk have denied the charges against them and are in the process of appealing the decision to revoke their licenses.
We believe that the revocation of the licenses of these two lawyers is related to their professional activities and constitutes improper interference with such activities. Lawyers for Lawyers and the Law Society have both raised concerns about the threats to the independence of the legal profession and access to justice in the aftermath of the recent elections in Belarus.
Lawyers for Lawyers and the Law Society urge the relevant authorities in Belarus to review and reverse the decisions revoking the licenses of Mr. Pylchenka and Ms. Levanchuk, abstain from any further measures that would constitute improper interference with their professional activities, and guarantee that all lawyers in Belarus, including Ms. Pylchanka and Mr Levanchuk, are able to practice law without threat, intimidation, hindrance, harassment, improper interference or reprisals.
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