Thailand/ICJ: End proceedings against lawyer Sirikan “June” Charoensiri

September 21, 2017

Addressing the UN Human Rights Council, the ICJ today urged Thailand to end criminal proceedings against lawyer Sirikan “June” Charoensiri, that are based on her professional activities as a human rights defender and lawyer.

The statement came during general debate at the Human Rights Council on, among other things, the report compiling cases of individual complaints that have been raised by the Special Procedures (independent experts) appointed by the Council. The statement read as follows:

“Among the many cases covered by the Communications Report of Special Procedures (A/HRC/36/25) is that of Thailand lawyer and human rights defender, Sirikan “June” Charoensiri. She was charged with sedition and other offences for actions taken, in her professional role, to protect human rights. With other lawyers, she had observed and provided legal assistance to participants in a peaceful protest.

In April, four Special Rapporteurs sent a joint communication (AL THA 2/2017) to Thailand about her case, and the related issues of restrictions on fundamental freedoms put in place following the military coup of May 2014, and prosecution of civilians in military courts.

Thailand’s response to the communication (No.52101/483) attempts to justify the charges against her by, among other things, appearing to associate her with the persons to which she and her colleagues were providing legal aid.

Principle 18 of the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers states that, “lawyers shall not be identified with their clients or their clients’ causes as a result of discharging their functions.”

The International Commission of Jurists considers that the case against Ms Charoensiri is incompatible with these and other international human rights standards.


Russia: Le Conseil de l’Europe appelle Moscou à revenir sur l’inéligibilité de Navalny

le 22 septembre, 2017

Le principal opposant au Kremlin, Alexeï Navalny à Moscou, Russie, 7 juillet 2017.

Le principal opposant au Kremlin, Alexeï Navalny, devrait être autorisé à se présenter à la présidentielle de mars prochain, ont plaidé les représentants des 47 gouvernements du Conseil de l’Europe dans une résolution publiée vendredi.


Le Comité des ministres de l’organisation paneuropéenne, réuni cette semaine à Strasbourg, a “invité les autorités” russes à revenir sur “l’interdiction pour M. Navalny de se présenter à une élection”.


Cette inéligibilité, proclamée en juin dernier par la commission électorale centrale russe, découle d’une condamnation à cinq ans de prison avec sursis infligée à l’opposant de 41 ans – pour avoir prétendument détourné, en 2009, quelque 400.000 euros au détriment d’une société publique d’exploitation forestière alors qu’il était consultant du gouverneur libéral de la région de Kirov.

Or, en février 2016, la Cour européenne des droits de l’Homme (CEDH, le bras judiciaire du Conseil de l’Europe) avait jugé cette décision “arbitraire”, estimant qu’on pouvait “fortement craindre” que les poursuites contre M. Navalny et son co-accusé aient été “de nature politique”.

La Cour suprême russe a ensuite annulé en novembre 2016 cette condamnation et renvoyé l’affaire devant un nouveau tribunal. Mais M. Navalny a de nouveau été condamné à la même peine, ce qui a entraîné son inéligibilité. (ENGLISH) (ENGLISH) (ENGLISH)

Turkey/Germany: German lawyers denounce conditions in Turkish judiciary

September 22, 2017

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German lawyers on Friday denounced conditions within the Turkish judiciary and voiced deep concern about the recent arrests of Turkish lawyers in the country.

“The situation of lawyers in Turkey is deteriorating from week to week,” Ulrich Schellenberg, president of the German Bar Association said in a statement.

More than 3,800 judges and public prosecutors were removed from office after the imposition of the state of emergency in July last year. This represents more than a quarter of the total of 14,000 judges and public prosecutors in the country.

A total of 14 lawyers were taken into investigative custody on suspicion of terrorist activities on Thursday by a court in Istanbul.

“Lawyers assume joint liability with their clients. It is a perfidious logic to say that anyone who defends an accused person must be bad himself,” Schellenberg said. There had been cases in Turkey where defendants had not found any defendants “because the lawyers are afraid,” he added.

The statements come amid tense bilateral relations between Turkey and Germany. (DEUTSCH) (DEUTSCH)–mysterioese-kokainfunde-in-mehreren-bayerischen-supermaerkten-7631130.html (DEUTSCH)

Hong Kong/China: Hong Kong’s Red Guards taste blood

September 22, 2017

The targeting of HKU professor and Occupy campaign co-founder Benny Tai is seen as part of a much wider attack on Hong Kong's civil society. Photo: Bloomberg

Should Hong Kong’s re-born Red Guards have their way and succeed in getting Benny Tai thrown out of the University of Hong Kong, does anyone seriously think they will stop there?

Of course not, as the increasingly hysterical campaign to get Tai dismissed from his post does not even seek to disguise that it is ideologically driven and targeted at the Occupy Movement co-founder not because of his actions but because of his ideas.

In other words Tai is guilty of the Orwellian-named ‘thought crime’. Naturally the slavering democracy baiters try and drape themselves in a rule of law garb but rather blow their cover by suggesting that because Tai is on trial for civil disobedience the verdict is irrelevant as he must be guilty, regardless of due process.

Then they drone on about how he and ‘those like him’ are poisoning the minds of students with their foreign-influenced ideas and lack of loyalty to the Motherland. Interestingly they take it for granted that Hong Kong students are both stupid and naïve enough to believe everything they are told, thus they need to be protected from ‘incorrect ideas’. (The real fear however is that they are quite bright enough to sort out things for themselves.)

Egypt: Torture and ongoing arbitrary detention of Mr. Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy

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EGY 003 / 0917 / OBS 099.1

Arbitrary detention /

Torture and ill-treatment

September 22, 2017

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Egypt.

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the torture and ongoing arbitrary detention of Mr. Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy, human rights lawyer, Co-founder and Coordinator of the Association of the Families of the Disappeared in Egypt[1]. Mr. Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy reportedly also provided legal advice to Giulio Regeni’s family[2].

According to the information received, on September 20, 2017, Egypt’s High State Security Prosecution renewed the preventive detention of Mr. Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy for 15 days pending investigation. Mr. Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy is being suspected of “founding and leading an organisation that was created illegally” (i.e. the Association of Families of the Disappeared), “spreading false news” and “communicating with foreign entities in order to undermine national security”.

He is currently detained at the ‘Scorpion’ (Al-Aqrab) high security wing of Tora prison complex, in solitary confinement, in a cell with refuse and no electricity. He is being denied access to his lawyers and family.

In addition, during the detention renewal hearing, Mr. Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy reported to his lawyers that during his enforced disappearance at State Security premises between September 10 and 12, 2017, he was tortured, including by electrocution.

Mr. Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy has been detained since September 10, 2017, when he was forcibly disappeared at Cairo International Airport before boarding a flight to Geneva as he was travelling in response to an invitation by the United Nations Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID). Mr. Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy was held incommunicado until September 12, 2017 (see background information). (NEDERLANDS)

Turkey: Detention warrant issued for 33 lawyers in Izmir

September 22, 2017

Detention warrant issued for 33 lawyers who are the members of Izmir Bar Association on Friday (22 September); 24 lawyers were taken into custody and police operation goes on for the remaining 9 lawyers.

With this last wave of crackdown against lawyers, number of lawyers under criminal prosecution raised to 1380; 538 of them have been arrested.

Operation came a day after 14 lawyers got arrested in Istanbul.

Since 15th July 2016, 94 lawyers were taken into custody and 36 lawyers have been arrested.

Situation in Turkey

As of 22 September 2017, 538 lawyers have been arrested (since 15th July 2016) and 1380 lawyers are under prosecution. Some of the arrested lawyers were subjected torture and ill-treatment.

There has been a relentless campaign of arrests which has targeted fellow lawyers across the country. In 77 of Turkey’s 81 provinces, lawyers have been detained and arrested on trumped-up charges as part of criminal investigations orchestrated by the political authorities and conducted by provincial public prosecutors. 

14 of detained or arrested lawyers are the presidents or former presidents of provincial bars associations.

So far; Erzincan 2nd High Penal Court sentenced lawyers Cemalettin Ozer and Talip Nayir who are (respectively) former president of Erzincan Bar Association and former board member of association 8 years 9 month and 10 years and Eskisehir 2nd High Penal Court sentenced 11 lawyers to range 4 to 12 years imprisonment.

All persecuted lawyers are being charged with terror linked offences such as being member of armed terrorist organisation or to run armed terrorist organisation. Pursuant to Turkish Penal Code, these two offences require 7,5 to 22,5 years imprisonment.

Detention warrant issued for 33 lawyers in Izmir

The Philippines: Aquino: impeach raps vs Sereno, Morales a ‘necessary step in perfecting institutions’

September 21, 2017

Former President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday said impeachment cases against his appointees Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales were “a necessary step in perfecting institutions.”

“I am sure they’ll be able to defend themselves,” Aquino told reporters on the sidelines of an event at the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Thursday.

Last week, the House of Representatives had ruled that an impeachment complaint against Sereno was sufficient in form and substance.

Lorenzo Gadon, who used to lawyer for former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, filed the complaint against the chief magistrate over her alleged failure to make truthful declarations in her statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN), among other allegations.

Meanwhile, the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption said earlier this month that they were preparing documents for an impeachment complaint against Morales.

“Although I have my opinions about as to their guilt or not, we have to ensure that the rights of everybody are respected and that they are able to present their case and heard by a fair body,” said Aquino, who himself faced several impeachment attempts during his term.

Aquino appointed Sereno as the high court’s 24th chief magistrate in 2012, while he named Morales Ombudsman in 2011.