President Alexander Lukashenko
38, Karl Marx Street
Republic of Belarus
Brussels, 2 September 2020
Subject: Arrest of lawyer Lilia Vlasova
I am writing to you on behalf of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE), which represents the bars and law societies of 45 countries, and through them more than 1 million European lawyers. The CCBE places great emphasis on respect for human rights and the rule of law and is particularly concerned with the situation of human rights defenders around the world.
The CCBE would like to express its serious concern over the arrest of lawyer Lilia Vlasova.
According to the information received, on 31 August 2020, lawyer Lilia Vlasova was arrested after her house had been searched by the authorities. It is reported that she was summoned by the police on charges of taking part in an unsanctioned protest. However, we understand that the actual charges against her have not been made public yet.
Lilia Vlasova is a Belarusian lawyer well-known as on of the instigators of legal mediation in Belarus.
In August 2020, she became a member of the presidium of the Coordination Council created by the opposition with the aim to ensure a peaceful resolution of the current crisis in Belarus which erupted after the 2020 Presidential election. Her law firm, Vlasova Mikhel & Partners, was established in 1990 as one of the first private law practice in the Republic of Belarus. The firm’s achievements have been recognised on numerous occasions, notably by the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Belarus.
In this context, the CCBE wishes to draw your attention to the United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers (attached), in particular Principle 23 on Freedom of expression and association.
In view of the above, the CCBE respectfully urges Your Excellency to do everything in your power to restore the freedom of lawyer Lilia Vlasova and to cease any politically motivated
harassing against her since it is believed that her detention is based on her legitimate activities as a lawyer. In addition, the CCBE asks that you take all necessary measures to guarantee that all lawyers in Belarus are able to carry out their professional duties without fear of reprisal, hindrance, intimidation or harassment in order to preserve the independence and
integrity of the administration of justice and the rule of law.