Brahinc was charged immediately under four articles of the Criminal Code:

  • "Creation of an extremist formation",

  • "Organization or participation in actions that grossly violate public order",

  • "Calls for actions aimed at harming the national security of the Republic of Belarus",

  • as well as "Incitement of Enmity".

Vitaly Brahinets

was a lawyer for many political prisoners, including the Nobel Laureate

Ales Bialiatskii

, and also defended the interests of his colleague

Andrei Machalov.

Brahinc was detained on May 23.

Vitaliy's former colleagues in their comments to Svaboda say that this is a sentence not only for Brahinc personally, but also for the entire bar.

"I tried to let them into the pre-trial detention center without the permission of the investigator"

The well-known lawyer and lawyer

Siarhei Zikratsky

is well acquainted with Vitaly Brahints.

Their offices were in the same building and on the same floor on Beruta Street in Minsk.

During the trials, Zikratskyi and Brahinets crossed paths twice: once on one side, once on opposite sides.

"Vital has always shown a high level of legal skill.

Brahinets came up with extraordinary designs and approaches," says Zikratsky.

Siarhei Zikratskyi

But the colleague appreciated the way Vitaly took care of his colleagues and how much he did for them.

"I was impressed by how he treated the legal profession.

He always had a desire to change something for the better.

He never agreed that the rights of lawyers were being violated.

There is an unspoken norm: in order to get to the client in the pretrial detention center, you need to get the permission of the investigator.

And the lawyers went for this permission, because that was the tradition.

But there is no such rule in the Criminal Procedure Code!

Vitali could argue with the prison administration for three hours to let him go without this permission.

And very often he got his way.

After that, he told other lawyers to do the same."

Vitaly Brahinets used to say the same thing when he was not allowed to enter the buildings of the Investigative Committee or the Federal Security Service with a mobile phone or laptop.

The Law "On Advocacy" states that a lawyer has the right to use technical means, but the security forces did not allow him to do so.

"These are two vivid examples, and there were many such examples.

He did not agree with the bureaucracy at the bar, he offered solutions.

Vitaly went to the leadership of the bar, tried to convince them.

He made a telegram to the group of lawyers who went to the KGB pre-trial detention center, as well as to Zhodzin.

It helped the lawyers to know if there are queues there, many more moments.

Everyone was very grateful to him," says Zikratsky.

"He followed every letter of the law"

Another colleague of Brahynets, lawyer

Lizaveta Matsveeva

(defended Wladimir Matskevich, Genadz Mazheika, Iryna Slavnikova) says that Vital was a real lawyer in the full sense of the word.

"He followed every letter of the law.

He strongly opposed when the law was interpreted incorrectly, other meanings were given to it, processes were complicated by unnecessary procedures.

He was not ready to turn a blind eye to many shortcomings."

Lawyer Brahinets always used all the opportunities provided by the law, so he often wrote complaints to all possible authorities.

"In this light, it is difficult for me to imagine the accusation of "incitement of enmity".

What kind of statement could be so appreciated?

Vitaly is a person with two higher educations, he did not use profanity, as well as unacceptable statements about groups of people," says Matsveeva.

She also emphasizes that Brahinets never agreed with any innovations, but offered to solve problems.

For example, when people were tried just in the pre-trial detention center building, or it was impossible to talk to the client before the trial began.

"Sometimes we were stunned that this is not the bottom yet and they are coming up with new and new things.

Vitaly offered to respond to violations of laws and codes.

Many people did not like that Brahinets participated in the proceedings, because it is long, because it is required by law, it is easier to give fifteen days in five minutes and move on to the next case."

Lizaveta Matveeva honestly admits that she cried when she heard about the sentence to her colleague, although she understood that the term would be long.

Outside of work, Vitaly's hobby was growing house plants.

"Vitaly spent so much time at work that there was almost no free time.

I know that he really liked to do indoor flowers.

I remember that he grew an avocado and a tangerine, he was proud of it.

He has an apartment with a large balcony, so he took them out there in the summer and brought them back to the apartment in the winter."

"Judgment is a chilling effect"

Siarhei Zikratsky is convinced that no lawyer has done so much specifically for lawyers and their working conditions as Vital Brahinets.

"Clients can also tell how Vitali taught at the processes.

He is very principled, never stopped.

And I believe that he was detained for this principle.

I consider this sentence as a sentence for all lawyers.

Unfortunately, Vitaly was chosen as the victim.

This is a message to lawyers: if you behave like Brahinets, you will face the same fate," Zikratskyi believes.

Svoboda's interlocutor emphasizes that there is no institution of independent advocacy left in Belarus.

"Today, the Bar is a branch of the Ministry of Justice.

But there are still lawyers who work honestly.

Unfortunately, they are becoming less and less.

They are expelled from the board, some leave on their own, and some are afraid to do business.

Vitaly's sentence is a chilling effect.

The verdict will have consequences for clients, fewer and fewer lawyers will agree to defend clients and perform their duties to the fullest," says Siarhei Zikratsky.

In his opinion, this will concern not only political affairs, but also household affairs.

"If the law does not work, then there is no respect for it in any sphere.

If the lawyer does not defend the client in political cases, then he cools down and will not defend in other cases.

I talk a lot with lawyers and lawyers from Belarus and I see that there is a global disappointment in the law.

And it hurts a lot."

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