On 12 April 2021, the home and office of Tanya Hatsura-Yavorska were searched a second time by law enforcement officers, following the first search on 5 April 2021. During the three-hour raid, old documents and phones no longer in use were confiscated. Volodymyr Yavorskyy, prominent Ukrainian human rights defender and lawyer, and Tanya Hatsura-Yavorska’s husband, was in the house during the raid, following which he was taken for questioning. During the interrogation, Volodymyr Yavorskyy was subjected to physical and psychological abuse and was denied access to his lawyer. Following the interrogation, the human rights defender was informed that he must leave Belarus with his children within 48 hours, and was threatened that if he failed to do so, he would be arrested and his children would be placed in State institutions. Volodymyr Yavorskyy was also informed that he was banned from re-entering Belarus for 10 years
Volodymyr Yavorskyy is a Ukrainian human rights defender and lawyer. He is a member of the board of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union and one of the founders and head of the board of the Docudays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival.
The Law Council of Australia and the Australian Bar Association strongly condemn the ongoing intimidation, harassment, arbitrary arrest and incommunicado detention of lawyers and judges by Myanmar’s military (the Tatmadaw) since the unlawful coup d’état on 1 February 2021.
We are concerned by credible reports of lawyers being detained for challenging the legality of their client’s detention, and for filing legitimate cases that the military considers undesirable. In addition, judges at all levels of courts have been dismissed without valid cause, and some placed under unlawful detention.
These reprisals violate Myanmar’s obligation to respect, protect and fulfil the rights to life, liberty and security of person, the right to a fair trial, and the right to not be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
They also violate the fundamental guarantee, contained in the United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, that lawyers shall not be identified with their clients or their clients causes. The Basic Principles require Myanmar’s authorities to ensure that lawyers may perform their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference; and are not subjected to or threatened with prosecution or administrative, economic or other sanctions for performing their professional duties.
Myanmar’s lawyers are also entitled to travel and consult with their clients freely, communicate with them confidentially, and to be afforded appropriate access to information to enable them to provide effective legal assistance to their clients. They are also entitled to freedom of expression, belief, association and assembly, and have a right to participate in public discussion of matters concerning the law, the administration of justice and the promotion and protection of human rights.
These reprisals indicate a deliberate and coordinated effort by the Tatmadaw to impede Myanmar’s lawyers from undertaking their professional duties – at a time when the rule of law is under unprecedented assault, and the Tatmadaw and Myanmar’s law enforcement personnel are reportedly committing serious and widespread human rights violations.
Police Commissioner David Manning yesterday directed the release of Mr Laken Lepatu Agilo from police custody following a meeting with Commander NCD/Central Assistant Commissioner Anthony Wagambie Junior.
Mr Aigilo was allegedly arrested on Sunday night by a police unit and locked up at the Boroko Police Station. Mr Aigilo in a post on social media alleged that his arrest by police was politically motivated. He was allegedly assaulted by policemen and locked up at the cells.
Mr Manning said, “There was no official complaint laid at any of the police stations against Mr Aigilo. No arrest was done during the night when he was taken in and even up until today when he was brought to my office.
“After my meeting with Mr Wagambie, Metsup NCD Superintendent Gideon Ikumu and NCD Zone Commanders, I directed that he be immediately released. I apologised to him and assured him that an internal investigation will be conducted into his arrest and alleged assault.
“I further informed Mr Aigilo that he is entitled to seek legal redress should he choose to and that police will assist him in this regard. I also informed him that should a formal complaint be received in the near future in relation to his arrest last night then he is to make himself available to which he agreed.”
Following this incident Mr Manning called upon the members of the Constabulary to conduct themselves professionally and within the law. He said following the internal investigation he will not hesitate to impose the toughest administrative penalties if the policemen were found to have acted illegally and unethically.