Kazakhstan L4L observes trial Lyubov Agushevich and Polina Zhukova
In a brief hearing on 26 March 2014, a judge ruled that Lyubov Agushevich and Polina Zhukova will remain disbarred. L4L was present to observe the trial. The representative of the Kazakhstan Bar argued at the hearing that both lawyers were punished for being active. That seems to be the case as both lawyers were very thorough and passionate in defending their client. Agushevich and Zhukova defended themselves.
A strange thing happened when the verdict was announced: the judge did not declare that this decision was final and therefore there is no right of appeal. By law the judge should have declared the decision final. There are two options: either the judge forgot to declare the decision final, which is a violation of the law, or she left it as a leeway for some suggestion for reconsideration at a later stage. Hopefully the written reasoning, for which we are waiting, will clarify this.
Lawyers Lyubov Agushevich and Polina Zhukova represented a defendant in criminal proceedings. During his trial, they submitted motions and requests for recusals. While the lawyers claim that they were just defending their client’s rights by using their professional skills, the presiding judge interpreted their actions as violations of professional ethics.
According to the judge, the lawyers’ misconduct included the submission of a statement of innocence of their client and filing a motion to examine a witness who attended the hearing. The judge also blamed one of the lawyers for ‘putting a question which she knew the answer to’ and ‘reading out a page of the case file’.
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