India: ED starts PMLA probe against Lawyers Collective, Anand Grover

September 20, 2019

ED starts PMLA probe against Lawyers Collective, Anand Grover

After the CBI booked Mumbai-based NGO, Lawyers Collective (LC) and its founding President, noted lawyer Anand Grover for alleged violations of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, and after the central probe agency raided the premises of former Additional Solicitor-General Indira Jaising in connection with the case, the ED has now initiated a separate money-laundering case against the NGO and Grover, on the basis of the CBI’s case.

A senior official in the know said that the ED has registered an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) – the agency’s equivalent of an FIR – to probe possible instances of money-laundering by LC and its office-bearers after taking cognisance of the FIR filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation earlier this year.

However, when the CBI had filed the FIR, LC had maintained that their organisation was being targetted for the kinds of cases its office bearers choose to fight in court. A statement from the NGO read, “It (the FIR) has been filed to target the organisation and its office bearers to silence them for cases and issues they have taken up in the past and continue to take up since 2016.”

LC and its office bearers have represented activists in the Bhima Koregaon case and a former employee of the Supreme Court who had levelled sexual harassment allegations against the CJI. They have also taken up the Sohrabuddin case, where Home Minister Amit Shah was earlier an accused an later cleared of charges.

Interestingly, office bearers of LC have also represented in the Supreme Court, former Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar, who is currently being hunted by the CBI in connection with the Saradha chit fund case, even as he has filed an application for anticipatory bail in the Alipore Sessions court and the agency has been denied a non-bailable warrant.

The CBI had registered the case against LC and Anand Grover based on a complaint from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), which had forwarded a report of an investigation into alleged FCRA violations by the NGO, including using foreign donations to fund advocacy with Members of Parliament and organise dharnas. The MHA complaint also alleges that LC had paid Rs 96.6 lakh to Indira Jaising, during her time as ASG, from funds received as foreign contributions.

Algeria: Marche des avocats à Tizi Ouzou et Bejaia

le 19 septembre, 2019

Image may contain: 5 people, people smiling, people standing, crowd and outdoor

Les avocats des wilayas de Tizi Ouzou et de Bejaia ont entamé ce matin une marche pour soutenir les détenus d’opinion et dénoncer le régime en place.  Ils scandent : « Etat civil et non militaire », « le peuple veut la chute de Gaid Salah », « libérez la justice », ou encore « pas de vote avec la bande».  Les avocats de Bejaia affirment qu’ils descendront dans la rue, en scandant « Gaid Salah dégage ! ».

La marche des avocats intervient au lendemain du discours du chef d’Etat-major, Ahmed Gaid Salah, qui a annoncé hier, à partir de la 6è Région militaire à Tamanrasset, avoir donné des instructions à la gendarmerie nationale pour limiter l’accès à la capitale aux manifestants les vendredis, jour de manifestation populaire contre le régime.

Des membres du Comité  National pour la Libération des détenus (CNLD)  se sont rassemblés ce matin devant le tribunal de Sidi M’hamed d’Alger pour réclamer la libération des détenus d’opinion.

Marche des avocats à Tizi Ouzou et Bejaia

Amnesty international appelle le pouvoir algérien à cesser la répression

Iran: EU Parliament In Overwhelming Vote Blasts Iran’s Human Rights Record

September 20, 2019

FRANCE – Plenary hall of European parliament in Strasbourg, July 18, 2019

The European Parliament on Thursday, September 19 adopted a resolution condemning the Islamic Republic’s human rights record, calling Tehran to end “suppression of women” in Iran.

The new resolution was endorsed by 608 votes in favor, seven against and 46 abstentions.

While insisting that Iran must stop criminalizing the work of women’s rights defenders, including the work done by those peacefully protesting compulsory hijab, the European Parliament called on the authorities in Iran to abolish this practice.

Furthermore, members of the European Parliament (MEPs) demanded all EU countries with a diplomatic presence in Iran to use all the diplomacy tools in their power to support and protect human rights defenders on the ground.

MEPs also called on the Iranian authorities to immediately release all human rights defenders and journalists detained and sentenced merely for exercising their right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

According to the resolution, at least eight journalists are currently in detention in Iran and that many have been systematically targeted by the authorities through criminal investigations, asset freezes, arbitrary arrest and surveillance, including those working for the BBC Persian service. Furthermore, the MEPs referred to a recent report by Iran Human Rights, noting that in 2018 the second-highest number of people in the world were executed in Iran.

The resolution, adopted by a show of hands, reiterates the European Parliament’s call on the government of Iran to immediately and unconditionally release human rights lawyer and Sakharov Prize Laureate Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes by an Islamic Revolutionary court.

Sotoudeh was arrested in 2018 and convicted for her peaceful activities defending women’s right to choose their own dress style. Although there is no written law in Iran for compulsory hijab, the police and courts spend huge resources to force women to use hijab. Resistance against the policy has increased among Iranians in recent years.

In the meantime, the resolution has stressed that all EU-Iranian dual nationals currently behind bars in the Islamic Republic should be immediately and unconditionally freed.

EU Parliament Censures Iran’s Suppression of Women

What Do Iranian Human Rights Activists Want from the West? (FRANCAIS)


Egypt: Beaten and Threatened for Defending Women’s Rights

September 18, 2019

Women’s Center for Guidance and Legal Awareness head Reda Eldanbouki (Courtesy photo)

Reda Eldanbouki is a lawyer and the head of the Women’s center for Guidance and Legal Awareness in Egypt. He leads the battle for human and women’s rights and fights FGM in Egypt. He’s also a dear and close friend of Clarion.

A few days ago, Eldanbouki was brutally attacked while trying to save a young woman from being abused by her family.

The incident happened in the city of Mansoura, located northeast of Cairo. Eldanbouki got a phone call from a 25-year-old student who said, “Please, I need help! My parents won’t let me to go to my university! They won’t even let me leave the house. I’m a student in the faculty of sciences. They say it’s because I’ll have relations with a guy and I’ll bring them shame.”

Right after Eldanbouki took down her name and address, he heard screaming. The phone suddenly went dead.

Eldanbouki later found out that besides the fact that this young woman was dating a man who she had chosen (not her family), the girl was enmeshed in a battle with her family from whom she was demanding her inheritance rights.

Egyptian law allows women rights of inheritance. But not only are these laws not implemented, most men block female family members from receiving any of their rightful inheritance.

Without hesitation, Eldanbouki jumped in his car and sped to the young woman’s house. He knew calling the police would be worthless as they wouldn’t help in a situation like this. The young woman’s family also must have figured this out, because when he arrived, four male family members were waiting for him.

They grabbed him and dragged him to the fourth floor of the house where they tied his hands behind his back and bound his legs.

Beaten and Threatened for Defending Women’s Rights

Algeria: L’avocat Abdelhak Mellah arrêté à Alger

le 20 septembre, 2019

L’avocat Abdelhak Mellah arrêté à Alger

L’avocat Abdelhak Mellah du barreau de Boumerdès a été arrêté par des policiers à Alger. Engagé au sein du mouvement de soulèvement, Abdelhak Mellah s’est illustré, notamment, par ses prises de positions courageuses au sein de la corporation des avocats. Il est l’un des artisans du refus des avocats de Boumerdès de refuser l’encadrement des élections présidentielles.

L’avocat Abdelhak Mellah arrêté à Alger

L’avocat Abdelhak Mellah arrêté à Alger

L’avocat Abdelhak Mellah libéré

L’avocat Abdelhak Mellah arrêté à Alger

Indonesia/UN/Australia: Indonesia Condemns Statement by UN Experts on Papua Unrest

September 20, 2019

Indonesia has condemned a press statement issued by five independent United Nations Human Rights Council special rapporteurs in which they expressed serious concern over recent development in Papua.

The five rapporteurs also urged the Indonesian government on Tuesday to drop all charges against human rights lawyer Veronika Koman, whom they said had been “subjected to harassment and abuse online for her work on alleged human rights violations in Papua.”

Police have declared Veronika a suspect, accusing her of spreading false information and provoking unrest in Papua and West Papua by publishing reports on the protests and attacks against Papuan students in East Java.

Sporadic unrest in broke out in several cities in Indonesia’s two easternmost provinces after racial animosity by hardline Muslims and members of the police and military against Papuan students in Surabaya, East Java, in August.

The government said false information and provocative content spread on social media, including by Veronika, had contributed to the unrest. (INDONESIAN) (INDONESIAN)

Uzbekistan: ICJ welcomes the first visit of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers to Uzbekistan

September 20, 2019

The ICJ welcomes this week’s visit to Uzbekistan of the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Diego García-Sayan, during which he will assess reforms of the judicial system, the independence of the judiciary and the independence and role of lawyers.

“The visit of the Special Rapporteur to Uzbekistan, at the invitation of the government, is an indication that the Uzbekistan authorities are serious about the ongoing reforms of the justice system. This visit is only a starting point for the deep reforms needed to establish an independent and fair justice system in Uzbekistan. Realising these reforms will require sustained commitment of all institutions of government, lawyers and civil society,” said Temur Shakirov, Senior Legal Adviser of the ICJ Europe and Central Asia Programme.

The ICJ, along with other NGOs and IGOs, met with the Special Rapporteur in Tashkent yesterday on the first day of his visit, and drew his attention to the independence of judges and lawyers in Uzbekistan.

“The visit will be followed by the report of the Special Rapporteur containing findings and recommendations. These recommendations should be effectively implemented and the ICJ is committed to provide expert and other support in the Uzbekistan’s effort to bring its justice system in line with the recommendations,” Shakirov added.

ICJ welcomes the first visit of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers to Uzbekistan