The criminal case of Maria Kalesnikava and Maksim Znak, representatives of the team of ex-presidential contender Viktar Babaryka, will be considered behind closed doors in the Minsk Regional Court, reports naviny.online.
The trial is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. The judge is Siarhei Epikhau.
Maria Kalesnikava was detained on 7 September 2020 in the centre of Minsk. Together with other representatives of the Coordinating Council, Anton Rodnenkou and Ivan Kravtsou, the authorities attempted to expel her from Belarus to Ukraine but failed. Maria tore her passport off at the border.
Lawyer Maksim Znak was detained two days later, on 9 September.
Maria Kalesnikava’s lawyer intends to insist on her acquittal. As lawyer Uladzimir Pylchanka told BelaPAN, Maria’s defenders and she herself have repeatedly filed motions to terminate criminal proceedings.
“Maria denies her guilt. I am convinced of her innocence,” the lawyer said.
Pylchenka also said the defence intended to apply for an open trial.
Maksim Znak’s defence also intends to apply for a public trial. “Publicity of the trial is an important guarantee of the interests of not only the defendants, but the whole society,” Znak’s lawyer Yauhen Pylchanka said in a commentary to BelaPAN.
Last week, in response to my July 30 column on the killing of lawyers, Gill H. Boehringer, Professor and former Dean (ret.) of Macquarie University Law School in Sydney, Australia sent an email that clarifies some of the points raised:
“Thank you for your column today in the Manila Standard. It is important that the desperate situation of the lawyers in the Philippines is brought to the attention of the public and, of course, that something be done about this dreadful phenomenon, and others, that face the Filipino people.
“Unfortunately, the situation is worse than you suggest through no fault of your own. The material released by the IBP—and that by FLAG, Rappler and the NUPL—all understates the problem of lawyer killings. Why they do this is not known to me.“
“I am the Co-Chair of the Monitoring Committee on Attacks on Lawyers of the International Association of People’s Lawyers. We have been independently monitoring the attacks on lawyers in the Philippines for more than a decade.
“Our research, based on sources, including the PNP, IBP, Filipino monitoring groups such as several mentioned above, media, academic, foreign monitoring groups, reports from official monitoring by the UN and independent Fact Finding Missions, reveals the following:“
“Lawyers killed under Arroyo: 83, with 4 survivors; under Aquino: 47 with 1 survivor; Duterte 66 with 17 survivors.
“Assuming the IBP and the others are correct (although I expect they are on the low side) there were 28 killed from Marcos to Estrada. That means that prior to Duterte there were 158 lawyers killed prior to Duterte’s 66.
“Why the claim is being made that there has been a 500% increase only those who make such a claim can answer. But to indulge in such historical revisionism is surely not the way to understand the nature of the problem nor to come up with solutions to, or even mitigation of, the problem.