WASHINGTON, Sept. 13, 2021 – The American Bar Association is deeply disappointed that Belarusian lawyer Maksim Znak was sentenced Sept. 6 to 10 years imprisonment on national security-related charges.
Znak was arrested by the Belarus government last year after he represented political opposition figures and participated in the creation of the opposition Coordination Council.
The ABA calls on the authorities in Belarus to comply with international and local legal standards to protect the rights of lawyers and ensure that lawyers are not punished or harassed for fulfilling their professional obligations. The U.N. Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers further establish that lawyers, like other citizens, are entitled to freedom of expression, belief, association and assembly.
The ABA calls for the release of Znak and the restoration of the rights of similarly targeted lawyers who have been arbitrarily disbarred or prosecuted in Belarus.
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