India: Bhima-Koregaon case put off to December 3

November 16, 2018

Surendra Gadling. File

Maharashtra has challenged a Bombay High Court order against more time to complete probe against Surendra Gadling, others

The Supreme Court adjourned to December 3 the hearing of the Maharashtra government’s petition against a Bombay High Court order denying the police a 90-day extension to complete their investigation and file a charge sheet against lawyer Surendra Gadling and others accused of Maoist links in the aftermath of the Bhima-Koregaon violence.

On October 29, a Bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S.K. Kaul and K.M. Joseph stayed the High Court’s order. A chargesheet had been filed by the police in a Pune special court against Mr. Gadling and four other co-accused on November 15.

The High Court passed its order on October 24, opening a window for Mr. Gadling, Nagpur University professor Shoma Sen and activists Sudhir Dhawale, Mahesh Raut and Rona Wilson to seek default bail. They were arrested on June 6 by the Pune police, and a case was registered against them under various provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, and the Indian Penal Code.


On September 2, the trial court allowed an extension of 90 days. Thereafter, Mr. Gadling and the others moved the High Court, which set aside the trial court’s order. However, the High Court stayed its order till November 1 to give the State time to appeal in the Supreme Court.

Elgaar meet: Five activists among 10 named in chargesheet, police claim plot to kill PM


Turkey: Released academic says detention has become common practice in Turkey

November 12, 2018

Cenk Yiğiter, an academic who had been fired from his job by the Turkish government, was released on Monday following his detention on Friday at his home in Ankara on suspicion of terrorism.

The Turkish Internet media reported that the purged academic said his detention was completely arbitrary; however, Yiğiter said such detentions have become normal in Turkey. Stating that at this point in time only critics are subject to this unfair treatment, Yiğiter said everyone should be afraid under the existing rule in the country.

Yiğiter said he did not know what he was accused of during his detention and that even his lawyer was not informed since the prosecutor imposed restrictions on access to his case, a prosecutorial authority introduced after a coup attempt in July 2016.

He urged people to keep alive their hope of defeating the darkness in the country.

Yiğiter was among 1,128 signatories of the Academics for Peace petition published in several media outlets on Jan. 11, 2016, calling on the Turkish government to halt military operations in the predominantly Kurdish southeastern part of the country, which caused dozens of civilian deaths and the destruction of vast residential areas.

He was previously convicted of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and given a suspended sentence.



Image may contain: text

Image may contain: text

Turkey: Turkey detains 13 intellectuals, academics over Gezi protests

November 16, 2018


This story will be updated with new developments as they take place.

Turkish police have detained over a dozen academics, intellectuals, and activists said to be linked to jailed Turkish philanthropist and businessman Osman Kavala.

The arrests of the 13 people, linked with Kavala’s NGO Anadolu Kültür, pertain to their alleged involvement in the nationwide Gezi Park protests of 2013, the Istanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office said in a press release on the police operation on Friday. The protests, which started as the defence of a park in central Istanbul, grew to encompass a range of progressive and opposition causes.

Four of the detained academics – Turgut Trahanlı, Asena Günal, Meltem Aslan and Bora Sarı – were released on Friday evening. All four are reportedly subject to travel restrictions.


The detainees, who included Hakan Altınay, a board member of Anadolu Kültür and the founder of Turkey’s Open Society Foundation, are charged with spreading the Gezi protests, bringing trainers and professional activists from abroad for the organisation of the protests, and promoting the activities in the media, according to the statement.

Betül Tanbay, an academic, and Turgut Tarhanlı, the dean of Istanbul Bilgi University’s Faculty of Law, were also among those detained. (TURKCE) (TURKCE) (TURKCE) (FRANCAIS) (FRANCAIS) (FRANCAIS)


Australia/Timor Leste: Witness K trial shows authoritarianism is escalating in Australia

November 16, 2018

Bernard Collaery Witness K trial


On the machinations of the Witness K trial

John Richardson writes: If the trial judge in the Bernard Collaery/Witness K trial is persuaded to conduct proceedings in secret, which may have the effect of denying the accused a fair trial, then that judge will have imposed nothing short of an authoritarian system government on this nation and rendered the judicial system entirely redundant. Every member in every parliament throughout the country should be screaming in protest against this corrupt attack on the independence of the judiciary, the base assault on our democratic rights and freedoms and the abuse of power being perpetrated against the accused by the executive.

AR writes: What is the point in letting the accused know the evidence against them — they’d probably deny it and waste valuable court time. Just go straight to sentencing, stop mucking about.

China: Police in China’s Guangzhou Threaten Beaten Lawyer With Punishment

November 16, 2018

Guangzhou lawyer Sun Shihua in an undated photo.

Authorities in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong have issued an “administrative punishment” to a rights lawyer who pursued a complaint about her treatment at the hands of local police.

For the past two months, rights lawyer Sun Shihua has pursued a complaint after being beaten and illegally detained by police at Hualin police station in Liwan district of Guangdong’s provincial capital Guangzhou.

But she was told on Thursday by the Liwan district police department when she went there with her lawyers that she was being punished for “disrupting public order,” she said.

“They said my actions constituted disruption of their department,” Sun said. “I told them at the time that they are utterly shameless.”

“I had thought they were going to put right the wrong they had done, but they’re not. In fact, they’re going to compound it,” she said.

The public order allegations stem from Shi’s visit to the Hualin police station, alongside rights activists Zhou Wuzhou and Liang Songqi, on Nov. 20, the day that she was beaten by police and forced to undergo a strip search.

Sun was left traumatized by the incident, which included a strip search, ostensibly for “hidden weapons,” her husband Sui Muqing told RFA at the time.

She has since pursued a complaint against police, in spite of warnings of further “punishments.”

Turkey: Hanifi Barış facing criminal investigation for insulting the Turkish President

November 15, 2018

Hanifi Barış

On 6 November 2018, academic and lawyer Hanifi Barış was notified by the Prosecutor’s Office in Bakırköy that an investigation was opened on whether he insulted the Turkish president through his social media posts. He has been summoned to the Prosecutor’s Office to give his statement between 26-28 November 2018 and may be detained following his statement. There is an ongoing investigation against the human rights defender regarding charges of creating “terrorist propaganda” for the same social media posts.

Hanifi Barış is a lawyer and academic, who has also worked on human rights, and has defended the right of his clients to represent themselves in the Kurdish language. He is a member of Academics for Peace, a group which has condemned state violence in southeastern Turkey and signed the 2016 peace petition “We will not be a party to this crime!”.

On 4 July, Hanifi Barış was arrested by the 10th Criminal Peace Judge. During his interrogation at the Prosecutor’s Office, he was accused of creating “terrorist propaganda” and questioned about his social media posts, which consisted of shared news articles and commentaries from international and local media sources. The human rights defender had not commented on the contents of the links. On 23 July 2018, Istanbul’s 29th High Criminal Court accepted the indictment against Hanifi Barış on the same charges and confirmed his detention. He was released on 18 September 2018 after being held in pre-trial detention for over two months.

Hanifi Baris (TURKCE) (TURKCE)

Russia: Lawyer that revealed tortures in Yaroslavl colonies gets state protection

November 16, 2018

Lawyer that revealed tortures in Yaroslavl colonies gets state protection

Irina Biryukova, the lawyer at the Public Verdict Foundation, who revealed information about torture in the colonies of Yaroslavl to the media, received state protection. The same measures were taken about the daughter of the lawyer and former prisoner Evgeny Makarov. This is reported by the Foundation.

Biryukova learned about it from the head of the investigative group of the Investigative Committee of the ICR of the Yaroslavl region in the regional court, where employee of Colony No. 1 Sipan Mamoyan challenged his arrest. Mamoyan was detained on October 31, 2018. According to the investigation, he poured water on the beaten Makarov; it was filmed. The Court of Appeal confirmed the legality of the Mamoyan’s arrest.

The video of Makarov’s torture was published in the summer of 2018 by Novaya Gazeta. 17 employees of the colony were suspended from work, 13 of them were arrested by the court, and one was put under house arrest. The FSIN began checking the colonies and the SIZO throughout Russia.

The case of torture caused a great resonance. Biryukova received threats; the lawyer left Russia for some time. Then the ICR refused to provide state protection. In September, Biryukova returned to her homeland and continued to represent the interests of the prisoners.