The Philippines: International Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL) Monitoring Committee on Attacks on Lawyers Preliminary Report on Lawyers Killed Under Duterte’s “Law and Order” Presidency

August 17, 2017

Gill Boehringer, Stuart Russell and Kristian Boehringer

On August 15, 2017 yet another lawyer was killed in the Philippines. This makes 10 since Rodrigo Duterte began his term of office as President on July 1, 2016. The International Association of Peoples’ Lawyers has been monitoring killings, and other attacks, on lawyers in the Philippines as well as countries around the globe. We presently list 115 countries where there have been credible reports of attacks on lawyers in recent years. In the Philippines the number of lawyers killed since January 1999 is about 130.

President Duterte came to the Presidency with a substantial vote (about 40%) in a large field of candidates. He was a surprise winner as he had no experience as a national political figure and, in the manner of the winner of the recent USA Presidential election, Donald Trump, campaigned on a populist program that included a strong focus on law and order. Duterte promised to reduce crime and corruption, and to eliminate the drug problem in the country in his first six months. That goal eluded him so he asked for another six months to complete the job. That extension expired with the war on drugs raging. Recently he has admitted he cannot finish the job in his six-year term, but assured the people that it would “ruthlessly” continue to the end of his tenure.

Despite his failure on the drugs front, Duterte claims, on the basis of statistics from the Philippine National Police indicating that the crime rate is trending down, that his promise to make the people feel safe on the streets again has been fulfilled. Whether the police statistics are accurate and comprehensive, and how to interpret them is beyond the scope of this preliminary report. To answer the questions that arise from those statistics would, at the least, require an investigation into citizen willingness to report crime (and other issues about crime statistics well known to criminologists) given the fear of reprisals from corrupt police and “vigilantes” in the context of the “drug war”. According to Dean Chel Diokno of Manila’s La Salle University Law School, that war has taken the lives of an estimated 10-12 thousand victims, most of whom were executed because they were suspected of being a drug user or pusher.

draft iapl report re duterte lawyer killings aug 17 final

UK/Iraq: ‘Tank chasing’ lawyer defends decision to sue British army over Iraq

August 16, 2017

Image result for Martyn Day

Martyn Day thrives on a fight.

His critics accuse him of being a “tank chaser” for bringing hundreds of lawsuits against the British army over its actions in Iraq and Afghanistan. But others say Mr Day and Leigh Day, the law firm he co-founded in 1987, have pioneered class compensation lawsuits while other law firms have backed away.

Mr Day’s most notable successes include winning a £55m out-of-court settlement from oil group Royal Dutch Shell over two oil spills that affected thousands of Nigerian fishermen and a £19.9m compensation award from the UK government on behalf of Kenyans tortured by British troops in the 1950s.

“I’ve always liked those big fights, those big challenges,” he said in a recent interview with the Financial Times. “I started off doing personal injury cases but I really like a good fight.”

Earlier this year, Mr Day, 60, faced the fight of his career when he, two colleagues and Leigh Day were charged with professional misconduct for their handling of claims that British troops had tortured Iraqi civilians.

https://www.ft.com/content/aad664b6-791a-11e7-a3e8-60495fe6ca71

https://www.theguardian.com/law/2017/jun/22/martyn-day-no-need-apologise-british-soldiers-over-iraq-claims

India/IAPL: The Ridiculous Case of Advocate Murugan

August 17, 2017

A. Murrugan, a young lawyer practicing at the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court was arrested from his residence on 8th January 2017. The police had gone to his house in the early morning 4 o’clock, and after arresting him seized his case papers, files, preparations for final arguments for some cases and books, Homeopathy medicines & a medical book, all easily available in the market. Ayyanan Murugan is also the Secretary of the Centre for Protection of Civil Liberties (CPCL), Tamilnadu. What makes his case rather surprising is that this Human Rights Lawyer was arrested in the same criminal trial wherein he was defending two accused and has been incarcerated since then.

It was based on these preliminary facts that the Indian Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL) decided to send a team of lawyers from across the country to look into the absurdity of his case. D. Sureshkumar (Hyderabad), Arun Ferreira (Mumbai), Jagdish Meshram (Gadchiroli) and Gurunathan (Tamilnadu) from IAPL arrived in Madurai on 3rd August 2017. The team was able to meet Murugan who was in Trichy prison and collect the chargesheets filed against him. The team also met his wife, who too is a lawyer, some of his colleagues in court and the two counsels who defending him in applications before the High Court namely Adv. Jayaramachandran and Adv. Lajapathi Roy of Madurai.

IAPL ff report into Murugan arrest

http://www.countercurrents.org/2017/08/17/the-ridiculous-case-of-advocate-murugan/

Turkey: Coup suspect soldier’s lawyer arrested in MİT trucks case

August 16, 2017

Deniz Akbulut, the lawyer for noncommissioned officer Gökhan Güçlü, one of the suspects on trial for an assassination attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on the night of a failed coup last year, was detained as he was leaving the Muğla Courthouse after a hearing on Wednesday and arrested by a court as part of an investigation into halted intelligence agency trucks in 2014.

According to the HaberTürk daily, Akbulut was accused of being a “courier” between gendarmes who stopped Syria-bound National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucks near Adana in 2014 and Hamza Ali Ece, an alleged imam of the Gülen movement, which is accused of being behind the failed coup. The movement strongly denies the accusations.

Akbulut was arrested by a court on Wednesday.

Akbulut’s client Güçlü was a target of the pro-government media after he was thrown out of a courtroom in July for wearing a T-shirt bearing the word “hero.”

Several people across Turkey have been detained, some of them arrested, for wearing hero T-shirts.

https://www.turkishminute.com/2017/08/16/coup-suspect-soldiers-lawyer-arrested-in-mit-trucks-case/

https://turkeypurge.com/lawyer-of-hero-coup-suspect-arrested

Egypt/Canada: Allard Prize Award Ceremony

The 2017 Allard Prize for International Integrity will be awarded at a ceremony to be held in Vancouver, Canada on September 28th, 2017. The $100,000 CAD Prize was established in 2012 and is one of the largest anti-corruption prizes in the world.

The finalists for this year’s prize are Azza Soliman (Egypt), Khadija Ismayilova (Azerbaijan), and Car Wash Task Force (Brazil). The keynote speaker at this year’s ceremony will be internationally renowned journalist Glenn Greenwald.

ABOUT THE FINALISTS:

Azza Soliman – A renowned women’s rights lawyer, Azza Soliman is the co-founder of the Center for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance (CEWLA). She has dedicated her life to fighting corruption and injustice faced by Egyptian women in both the private sphere and the judicial system. She started her activism in 1995 when she was arrested after exposing the torture imposed on female members of the Islamic Group. Soliman has worked to support women’s access to justice by using progressive interpretations of religion to influence legislation and combat the monopoly and corruption of religious institutions. In 2015, Soliman was unjustly charged with unauthorized protest and public order violations after testifying against a policeman who she witnessed killing a female human rights defender during a protest. In response, she founded the “Protecting Witnesses and Whistleblowers Coalition” to help enhance the Rule of Law. Currently, the Egyptian government has curtailed Soliman’s freedom by freezing her law firm’s and her own private assets and banning her from traveling outside Egypt.

http://www.allardprize.org/news/allard-prize-award-ceremony

http://www.allardprize.org/

http://www.voiceonline.com/international-prosecution-azerbaijani/

The Philippines: Lawyer of Reyes brothers dies after gun attack in Palawan

August 15, 2017

Lawyer of Reyes brothers dies after gun attack in Palawan

A lawyer based in Puerto Princesa City in Palawan died after he was attacked by a motorcycle-riding gunman on Tuesday, August 15.

The victim, Hermie S. Aban, used to be the lawyer of former Palawan governor Mario Joel Reyes and former Coron mayor Mario Reyes, principal suspects in the January 24, 2011 murder of broadcaster-environmental activist Gerry Ortega.

Aban was on a motorcycle and went out to buy food when he was gunned down by the still unidentified perpetrator at 8:30 a.m. on Abueg Road, Barangay Bancao-Bancao, dzBB radio said, quoting a report from Senior Police Officer 2 Eustaquio Ferrer of the city’s Mendoza Police Station.

The assailant chased Aban and shot him four times until the lawyer fell unconscious on a grassy portion of the road.

http://philippinenews.com/index.php/world2/item/1623-lawyer-of-reyes-brothers-dies-after-gun-attack-in-palawan

http://www.interaksyon.com/lawyer-of-reyes-brothers-shot-dead-in-palawan/

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/922782/news-palawan-puerto-princesa-shooting-drugs

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/923006/lawyer-handling-drug-cases-shot-dead-in-palawan

https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/08/17/philippines-duterte-threatens-human-rights-community

Kashmir/India: NIA conducts fresh searches at 12 places in J-K terror funding case

August 16, 2017

An NIA team carries out a raid in Srinagar in June.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday conducted fresh searches at 12 locations in Jammu and Kashmir as part of its probe into whether the funding of separatists from Pakistani terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) was being used to fuel violence in the valley.

The searches, which the central agency termed as follow-up action, were carried out in Srinagar, Baramulla, and Handwara.

Those raided on Wednesday included a Srinagar-based advocate Mohammed Shafi Reshi and three relatives of prominent businessman Zahoor Watali, whose premises were searched in the first round of raids.

“We suspect financial links between the separatists and those raided on Wednesday,” said Alok Mittal, inspector general of NIA.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/terror-funding-case-nia-raids-12-locations-in-kashmir/story-mnvV9YZrQUXGCPLwyjjLAL.html

https://kashmirobserver.net/2017/local-news/pressure-tactic-says-bar-21982

http://kashmirreader.com/2017/08/16/lawyers-body-protest-nia-raid-reshis-residence/

https://scroll.in/latest/847398/terror-funding-case-nia-conducts-fresh-searches-at-12-places-in-jammu-and-kashmir

http://kashmirreader.com/2017/07/29/bar-association-provide-legal-aid-arrested-nia/

Terror funds: NIA raids 12 premises in Kashmir

http://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/front-page/fresh-raids-in-kashmir-as-nia-widens-probe/257816.html

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/nia-conducts-raids-on-hurriyat-sympathisers/articleshow/60094150.cms

https://mumbaimirror.indiatimes.com/news/india/kashmir-terror-funding-nia-conducts-12-more-raids-including-zahoor-watalis-premises/articleshow/60089377.cms