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September 13, 2021

Statement of ABA President Reginald Turner Re: Sentencing of Belarusian lawyer Maksim Znak

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. 

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.