It has already been 18 days since Liliya Vlasova — international mediator, famous lawyer, 67-year-old wife, mother and grandmother — is in custody. What is known about her now?
How the events around Vlasova developed
On August 31, 2020, the Financial Investigation Department of the State Control Committee detained Liliya Vlasova, a member of the Presidium of the Coordination Council (CC). After many hours of interrogation, she was left in custody.
On September 9th , 10 days after her detention, she was officially charged under Art. 243 part 2 (tax evasion). Together with her the case was opened against Vlasova’s eldest son Boris and his companies Merlintur and Poletkonsalt. Liliya property was arrested.
Currently, Liliya Vlasova is in pre-trial detention center № 1 in Minsk. She is kept in a 5-bed cell together with 4 other detainees. There is no hot water in the cell. Lilia Vladimirovna’s vision deteriorates due to poor lighting. Several neighbors smoke and have to do it right in the cell.
The case was referred to the Central Office of the Investigative Committee. No active investigative measures are being taken at the moment.
On September 14 lawyers of Lilia Vlasova filed an application on change of preventive measure and release from custody.
At this point, we know very little about the charge.
Lilia Vlasova’s attorneys are under a nondisclosure agreement.
On September 2, information appeared in the HARBACEVIČ telegram channel that the amount of «damage» accrued by Vlasova is ≈ 614 thousand Belarusian rubles (about 200,000 euros). If this information is true, then Boris Vlasova’s companies allegedly evaded tax payments, and Lilia Vladimirovna could somehow have contributed to this.
We are sure that Liliya Vlasova is being prosecuted as a member of the Presidium of the Coordination Council.
For over 25 years, Merlintur has been selling air tickets and tours, and the company has undergone numerous tax and other inspections. Even if one assumes that the tax authorities have real issues with the companies, this is primarily a reason to conduct a tax audit and issue an order to eliminate violations. And in no case this is a reason to detain a lawyer and mediator reputable in Belarus, nor is there a reason to put pressure on the company by threatening her son and his business.
Detention has caused outrage among many people in Belarus and abroad
11 human rights organizations in Belarus recognized Vlasova as a political prisoner.
More than 4900 people signed an appeal to release Lilia Vlasova. They called for the immediate release of the lawyer and for an end to her prosecution, including:
- The Council of Lawyers and Legal Communities of Europe,
- Ukrainian Bar Association,
- Institute of Human Rights of the International Bar Association,
- National Association of Ukrainian Mediators and Center for Mediation and Dialogue Research of the Ukrainian National University «Kyiv-Mohyla Academy».
Who is Liliya Vlasova
Liliya Vlasova is a senior partner and director of the Vlasova Mikhel & Partners law firm. She is a well-known lawyer, founder of the first law firm in Belarus, and one of the leading mediators of the country and the entire post-soviet region. She was invited to join the Presidium of the Coordination Council in her capacity as a professional negotiator and mediator.
Recommended and is widely recognised for her work as a mediator by international directory Who’s Who Legal 2016 (the only one in Belarus).
In 2007, the Belarusian Union of Lawyers awarded Ms. Vlasova its top legal award, the “Femida”.
In 2013, the St. Petersburg Mediators League (Russia) recognized Ms. Vlasova as The Best Mediator of 2012.
On January 20 this year, Ms. Vlasova received an honorary certificate from the Ministry of Justice of Belarus for the considerable personal contributions she has made to the development and popularization of mediation.
For many years, Ms. Vlasova served as chair of the Belarusian Public Union of Economic Lawyers and the head of the Board of the International Public Organization «SOS Children’s Villages».