Cameroon: Lawyer of murdered journalist, Martinez Zogo, ‘in danger’ as unknown persons threaten him

26/01/23

“If ever I fail to call you, and you are unable to hear from me as of tomorrow (Thursday, January 26, 2023), know that I have been eliminated,” are the words of Martinez Zogo’s lawyer, Louis Jules Anyuzoa.

According to reports, the lawyer for the murdered Cameroonian journalist has recently received several threats from anonymous individuals threatening to kill him.

“My life is in danger,” he confided to a relative, adding that he was “running out of the house.”

Martinez Zogo was brutally tortured to death and dumped by people believed to have had the intention of silencing him for good.

It is feared that the same perpetrators are now after the lawyer of the deceased journalist.

https://www.unesco.org/en/articles/director-general-condemns-killing-radio-journalist-martinez-zogo-cameroon

https://www.eeas.europa.eu/eeas/cameroon-statement-spokesperson-murder-mr-martinez-zogo_en?page_lang=en

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/jan/23/cameroon-journalist-martinez-zogo-found-dead-after-abduction

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/17275-cameroon-journalist-murdered-after-exposing-government-corruption

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/1/23/prominent-journalist-found-dead-after-abduction-in-cameroon

(FRANCAIS)

https://www.237online.com/cameroun-alerte-a-la-terreur-me-louis-jules-anyuzoa-lavocat-du-journaliste-martinez-zogo-menace-de-mort/

https://www.rfi.fr/fr/afrique/20230126-cameroun-apr%C3%A8s-la-disparition-de-martinez-zogo-la-mobilisation-des-journalistes-ne-faiblit-pas

https://www.liberation.fr/international/afrique/les-medias-camerounais-sous-le-choc-apres-lassassinat-du-journaliste-martinez-zogo-20230125_AYVMEGR45ZHHFARVEYK3XEZNB4/

https://www.lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2023/01/24/cameroun-apres-l-assassinat-du-journaliste-martinez-zogo-colere-et-peur-chez-ses-pairs_6159081_3212.html

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martinez_Zogo

Jailed Tajik Lawyer’s Brother Gets Four Years In Prison On Charges Relatives Call Ungrounded

19/01/23

A brother of jailed Tajik lawyer Saidnuriddin Shamsiddinov has been sentenced to four years in prison on charges that he rejects.

Bahovaddin Shamsiddinov’s relatives told RFE/RL on January 19 that he was found guilty of allegedly being associated with the banned Group 24 movement, fraud, illegal land sales, and the spreading of false information. According to them, Shamsiddinov pleaded not guilty and called all the charges “slander.”

Officials from the Vakhsh district court confirmed to RFE/RL that Bahovaddin Shamsiddinov was sentenced to four years in prison on January 19.

The exiled spokesman of Group 24, Ubaidullo Saidi, told RFE/RL that Shamsiddinov had nothing to do with the opposition movement.

Bahovaddin Shamsiddinov’s brother, a noted lawyer and outspoken government critic, was sentenced to 8 1/2 years in prison in December 2020 after a court in Khatlon found him guilty of fraud, illegal land sales, and spreading false information.

Saidnuriddin Shamsiddinov also rejected all the charges, saying the case was politically motivated as retaliation for his open criticism of officials.

In late 2021, Shamsiddinov’s sentence was extended by eight months after a court found him guilty of having links with Group 24, which he also rejected.

Group 24 was founded by well-known businessman and opposition politician Umarali Quvatov in 2012.

In 2014, Tajikistan’s Supreme Court declared the group extremist and banned it from the country. Dozens of the group’s members and supporters have been arrested and many of them sentenced to lengthy prison terms.

In March 2015, Quvatov was assassinated in Istanbul, Turkey.

https://www.rferl.org/a/tajikistan-shamsiddinov-brother-prison/32230645.html

https://asiaplustj.info/en/node/321242

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saidnuriddin_Shamsiddinov

SUBMISSION TO THE COMMITTEE OF ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS ON INTERFERENCE ON FOREIGN LAWYER’S RIGHT TO PRACTISE IN HKNSL CASES IN HONG KONG

16/01/23

Executive Summary

  • Article 6(2) of the ICESCR warrants the full realisation of the right to work, which includes providing “conditions safeguarding fundamental political and economic freedoms to the individual”
  • Concerning the right to work for foreign legal practitioners from other common-law jurisdictions, the HKSAR Government fails to provide valid reasons as to why they are welcomed to practise in the territory in other areas of law but to the exception of cases relating to the HKNSL
  • The HKSAR Government interferes with the enforcement of the norm by seeking intervention from China’s Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, albeit the highest court in the city ruled against the HKSAR Government, as shown in the legal disputes concerning Jimmy Lai Chee-ying hiring a British barrister to represent him
  • The HKSAR fails to provide explanation on factors justifying the deviation from the norm and also deviation from the fulfilment of the right to work as stated in Article 6 of the ICESCR

With Reference to the Committee’s List of Issue (E/C.12/CHN-HKG/Q/4) and the corresponding Replies by Hong Kong, China (“HKSAR”) (E/C.12/CHN/RQ-HKG/4), this bulletin gathers and presents information regarding the restrictions on foreign lawyers to practise in cases relating to the Hong Kong National Security Law (“HKNSL”). The full realisation of lawyers’ economic right to work which is an integral part of the ICESCR as enshrined in Article 6 is concerned here.

Restricting lawyers’ economic rights to suppress their protection of the proper exercise of human rights

We strongly urge clarification from HKSAR on its compliance with its treaty obligations under the ICECSR despite the information and the established fact patterns above which suggest otherwise.

https://29principles.uk/en/contents/submission-committee-economic-social-and-cultural-rights-interference-foreign-lawyer%E2%80%99s

https://29principles.uk/en/contents/submission-committee-economic-social-and-cultural-rights-restriction-human-rights-lawyers%E2%80%99

https://www.hrw.org/news/2023/01/26/china-free-white-paper-protesters

https://www.dw.com/en/china-zhang-zhans-prison-letter-offers-hope-and-fear/a-64291913

https://edition.cnn.com/2023/01/22/china/china-zero-covid-protesters-detained-beijing-intl-hnk/index.html

Turkey investigates chairs of 12 bar associations for insult due to statement on military operations

25/01/23

Turkish prosecutors have launched an investigation into the presidents of 12 bar associations across the country on allegations of insulting the Turkish state due to a joint statement they made against the country’s military operations in Syria and Iraq, Turkish Minute reported, citing the Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA).

The investigation was launched under the controversial Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), which concerns the crime of insulting the Turkish nation, state, the republic and the state organs, against the presidents of the bar associations including those of the southeastern provinces of Diyarbakır, Van and Mardin.

The presidents of the 12 bar associations made the joint statement last November in the wake of the airstrikes conducted by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in northern Syria and Iraq against Kurdish militants whom Turkey accuses of terrorism.

In their statement the presidents of the bar associations called for an end to Turkey’s military operations in Syria and Iraq and said they must defend peace under all circumstances.

Diyarbakır Bar Association President Nahit Eren said there was no element of a crime in their statement and that the investigation aims to intimidate them into remaining silent.

The investigation file has been sent to the Justice Ministry by the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office as prosecutors need to get permission from the ministry for investigations under Article 301 of the TCK.

[…]

The Philippines: Lawyer, process server shot in Leyte demolition

25/01/23

A lawyer and a process server were shot and wounded while serving a demolition order to a farmer in Barangay Cavite West, Palo, Leyte, on Wednesday morning, Jan. 25.

The victims were identified as Alexander Lacaba, 60, a private practitioner, and Adolfo Petilla, 59, the process server of Branch 43, Regional Trial Court here.

Initial police report disclosed that Sheriff Danilo Obediencia, together with the victims, and a representative from the Commission on Human Rights were implementing a writ of demolition against the property occupied by the suspect, Conrado Boren Sr., 67.

The suspect reportedly fired at the demolition team, wounding the victims who were brought to the nearest hospital.

Boren was arrested by police escorting the demolition team. Recovered from his possession was a caliber .45 with three empty shells and a misfired cartridge.

Charges for two counts of frustrated murder and violation of Republic Act 10591 (Comprehensive Law on Firearms and Ammunition) are now being prepared against the suspect.

https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/topstories/regions/858598/lawyer-court-staff-hurt-in-shooting-incident-during-demolition-ops/story/

https://www.thenation.com/article/world/leila-de-lima-philippines-imprisonment/

https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/01/25/23/abogado-court-employee-pinagbabaril-sa-leyte (TAGALOG)

International NGOs Call for Release of Prominent Environmental Lawyer in Vietnam One Year After 5-Year Prison Sentence

24/01/23

Environmental lawyer Dang Dinh Bach is one of several silenced by the Vietnamese government after attempts to wean the country off of coal and protect communities from public health hazards.

International NGOs are rallying around prominent environmental lawyer Dang Dinh Bach on the one-year anniversary of his five-year prison sentence in Vietnam with the launch of the standwithbach.org website and the #StandwithBach social media campaign calling for his immediate release.

Numerous civil society organizations including Global Witness, Friends of the Earth US, Earthrights International, International Land Coalition, Grassroots Foundation and International Rivers are supporting the campaign and calling on the Vietnamese Government to immediately release Bach. The groups are also demanding that G7 nations providing multi-billion dollar funding for Vietnam’s just energy transition support this call since it will be impossible to successfully implement the transition while environmental and climate leaders such as Bach are in jail.

“Bach is one of several environmental leaders to be charged with tax offenses that are increasingly being used to silence civil society in Vietnam,” said Maureen Harris, Senior Advisor from International Rivers. “The growing criminalization of environmental leaders in Vietnam must end.”

Bach was imprisoned for “tax evasion” after leading a campaign to reduce Vietnam’s reliance on coal. As the founder of the Law and Policy of Sustainable Development Research Centre, he has dedicated his life to protecting communities from harmful pollution, phasing out plastic waste, and supporting the government’s transition to clean energy. He has engaged in numerous hunger strikes to protest his conviction and Vietnam’s use of ambiguous tax laws to silence environmental and climate leaders.

“I never imagined that Bach would be imprisoned for the work he has done to help people,” said his wife, Thao, in this video, also released as part of the #StandwithBach campaign. “His top priority has always been the health and well-being of the people of Vietnam.” She also recently wrote this op-ed: This Lunar New Year, I Want My Husband Home.

Bach was not granted a fair trial. He was not allowed to meet with his lawyer until seven months after he was arrested and his sentence was much harsher than is usual for people accused of tax evasion. United Nations experts suggest that Bach’s prosecution was politically motivated.

Bach is one of several environmental defenders who have been imprisoned in Vietnam since June 2021 on charges of income tax evasion. 

[…]

https://www.globalwitness.org/en/press-releases/international-ngos-call-release-prominent-environmental-defender-vietnam-one-year-after-5-year-prison-sentence/

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/vietnam/dang-dinh-bach-01242023232929.html

https://thediplomat.com/2022/06/vietnam-imprisons-leading-environmentalist-on-tax-evasion-charges/

https://www.thevietnamese.org/2022/08/vietnam-holds-appeals-trials-for-three-ngo-leaders-dang-dinh-bach-mai-phan-loi-and-bach-hung-duong/

https://www.rfa.org/vietnamese/news/vietnamnews/international-ngos-urge-vietnam-to-free-environmental-lawyer-dang-dinh-bach-01242023073920.html (VIETNAMESE)

India: Karnataka High Court Directs State Govt To Pay Rs 3 Lakh Compensation To Illegally Arrested Lawyer

23/01/23

The Karnataka High Court recently directed the State government to pay Rs 3 lakh as compensation to a 23 year old lawyer who was illegally arrested by the police last month.

The Bench of Justice M Nagarasanna observed that arrest of the lawyer was against the principles laid down in Arnesh Kumar judgement and clarified that the compensation given by the court would not affect the rights of the lawyer to seek additional compensation in civil court.

In the instant case, the petitioner owned some land that abutted the land owned by one Bhawani and her husband K Vasanth Gowda.

It is alleged that the Gowda started obstructing the petitioner’s property and was also trying to erect a permanent gate in order to prevent the petitioner and his family from using the road leadin to their agricultural land.

Pursuant to same, secured an order of temporary injunction against Gowda and sought help of the police to protect his property. However , on 2nd December 2022, the police closed the case calling it a land dispute.

On 22nd December itself, Gowda’s wife registered a complaint against there petitioner u.s 447 and 379 of IPC for alleged theft of gate and criminal trespass.

The petitioner submitted that even before the FIR was registered, the police barged into his house at about 8 pm, manhandled him and then dragged him to the police station.

[…]

https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/2023/jan/23/when-people-fear-the-state-there-is-tyranny-karnatakahigh-court-2540604.html

Pakistan: Khosa’s son shot injured in Lahore

24/01/23

Pakistan People’s Party leader Sardar Latif Khosa’s son and Supreme Court lawyer Balkh Sher Khosa was shot injured by unidentified armed men here Monday night.

Balkh Sher Khosa was coming out of Punjab University in his car when two unidentified armed motorcyclists sprayed bullets at his vehicle outside the gate close to Iqbal Town and sped the scene.

As a result of firing, Balkh Sher was injured and rushed to Doctors Hospital for treatment. Police cordoned off the area after the attack and conducted operation for the assailants but no arrest could be made. However, Sardar Latif Khosa told media that Sher Khosa had come from Multan after appearing in a case and visited the Punjab University to meet his clients.

He said as soon as his son came out of the university in his vehicle, two armed motorcyclists opened fire at him. He said it was ironic that the law and order situation of the provincial capital was pathetic.

https://pakobserver.net/khosas-son-shot-injured-in-lahore/

https://www.dawn.com/news/1733291/latif-khosas-son-injured-in-gun-attack

https://dunyanews.tv/en/Crime/693075-Unknown-men-injure-Latif-Khosa%E2%80%99s-son-

https://www.24newshd.tv/24-Jan-2023/zardari-bilawal-condemns-attack-on-khosa-s-son

https://headtopics.com/pk/90971141009711412531-34468185

Dated: 24-01-2023
پریس ریلیز
سردار اکبر علی ڈوگر صدر لاہور ہائیکورٹ بار ایسوسی ایشن، سہیل شفیق چوہدری نائب صدر لاہور ہائیکورٹ بار ایسوسی ایشن، رائے عثمان احمد سیکرٹری لاہور ہائیکورٹ بار ایسوسی ایشن اور رانا علی اختر خاں فنانس سیکرٹری لاہور ہائیکورٹ بار ایسوسی ایشن نے اپنے مشترکہ بیان میں سابق گورنر پنجاب و سینئر رہنما پاکستان پیپلز پارٹی سردار محمد لطیف خان کھوسہ ایڈووکیٹ سپریم کورٹ اور انکے بیٹے بلخ شیر کھوسہ پر قاتلانہ حملہ کی شدید مذمت کی۔ بلخ شیر کھوسہ کو دو موٹر سائیکل سوار افراد نے پیر کی رات گئے فائرنگ کر کے زخمی کر دیا اورفرار ہو گئے۔ عہدیداران لاہور ہائیکورٹ بار ایسوسی ایشن نے ملک میں امن و امان کی مخدوش حالت پر غم و غصہ کا اظہار کرتے ہوئے کہا کہ عوام بالخصوص وکلاء برادری کو آئے روز دہشت گردی کا سامنا ہے۔ انہوں نے ارباب اختیار سے مطالبہ کیا کہ وکلاء کو خصوصی تحفظ فراہم کیا جائے کیونکہ وہ معاشرے کے مظلوم افراد کو حصول انصاف کیلئے ہمہ وقت مصروف کار رہتے ہیں جن کی حفاظت کو اولین ترجیح دی جائے۔ انہوں نے سردار بلخ شیر کھوسہ ایڈووکیٹ کی جلد صحت یابی کیلئے دعا کی۔
رائے عثمان احمد
سیکرٹری لاہور ہائیکورٹ بار ایسوسی ایشن، لاہور

(URDU)

Six Egyptian lawyers freed from jail, ending nationwide union boycott

22/01/23

Six Egyptian lawyers were released from incarceration on Sunday after being arrested late last week for assaulting three court workers in the Mediterranean city of Marsa Matrouh.

A criminal court sentenced each of the lawyers to two years in prison on Wednesday for the assault.

The lawyers’ imprisonment was answered with a Criminal Court boycott by the union to which they belong.

All lawyers were told to stay away from courts and to not respond to questions from prosecutors.

On Sunday, a Marsa Matrouh appeals court overturned Wednesday’s verdict and scheduled another hearing for February 5.

After the lawyers’ release, union president Abdel Halim Allam issued a statement ending the boycott.

Sunday’s court session was attended by hundreds of union lawyers to show solidarity with their imprisoned colleagues.

After the six men’s release, social media videos showed lawyers celebrating outside the court where the hearing took place.

A committee of union lawyers took the stand to defend the imprisoned men on Sunday. It was led by Allam.

One of the lawyers reportedly got into an argument with a court worker at a Marsa Matrouh court on January 5.

The situation worsened when five of his colleagues joined him in attacking the worker, who called on two of his friends for aid.

After hearing that court employees had been injured, a judge at the court submitted a formal complaint to a higher judicial authority, which ordered the lawyers’ arrest.

https://www.thenationalnews.com/mena/egypt/2023/01/22/six-laywers-released-from-jail-after-nationwide-union-boycott/

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/egypt-lawyers-end-strike-released-court-brawl

https://www.rfi.fr/fr/moyen-orient/20230123-%C3%A9gypte-les-avocats-mettent-fin-%C3%A0-la-gr%C3%A8ve-nationale-apr%C3%A8s-leur-victoire (FRANCAIS)

https://www.rtl.be/actu/belgique/faits-divers/egypte-fin-de-la-greve-des-avocats-apres-la-liberation-de-leurs-confreres/2023-01-22/article/518612

https://www.africaradio.com/egypte-fin-de-la-greve-des-avocats-apres-la-liberation-de-leurs-confreres

Afghan lawyers and judges in danger

24/01/23

Today, January 24, marks the Day of the Endangered Lawyer. As a Canadian lawyer I want to draw attention to the challenges facing some members of the legal profession in Afghanistan. Since the Taliban government assumed power in the country more than a year ago, the risk of retaliation and danger have only increased for many lawyers and judges, particularly women, advocates say.

For Nasrin (whose name has been changed to protect her identity), leaving Afghanistan was the last resort.

She had spent decades developing pioneering legislation and policies as a judge and legal advocate. When the Taliban took over in August 2021, everything changed. Facing death threats, she ultimately left. “I didn’t have any choice,” she told me. “I left my country, my house.” Now she and other legal activists are warning about the ever-increasing risks that lawyers and judges in the country still face and the need for countries like Canada to step up their efforts to help at-risk Afghans.

“If a woman wants to be a leader, like head of a court … it’s a very big position, but it is very dangerous,” Nasrin says.

Judges like Nasrin, as well as prosecutors, have been threatened with reprisals from the people they tried and the Taliban themselves. She is in contact with colleagues in the legal profession who remain in Afghanistan, and says the situation is worse than a year ago, as lawyers and judges fear for their safety.

“The first line is judges, the second line is defence lawyers and prosecutors … they are searching to find them,” she says.

The development of the Afghanistan Independent Bar Association (AIBA) in 2008 was part of a broader effort to build a non-governmental body that would regulate the legal profession and provide resources to support lawyers and access to legal services. But in November 2021, it was dismantled by armed Taliban soldiers and the Ministry of Justice gained possession of the AIBA’s database, containing contact information of members. The organization is now relaunching itself in exile, from Brussels.

[…]

https://www.thelawyersdaily.ca/articles/43037/afghan-lawyers-and-judges-in-danger

https://amu.tv/en/33506/

International Day Of The Endangered Lawyer: “We Strongly And Unequivocally Condemn The Repressive Tendencies Of The Taliban Government In Afghanistan Towards Lawyers”- Maikyau

https://lso.ca/gazette/news/day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-2023?lang=en-ca

https://charidy.com/AfghanWomen (PLEASE CONTRIBUTE!)

https://zoom.us/rec/play/WXkxEyYXv5ZAen7O2varh9Ki_B7qCitqQjoNfZxmRrIZ6cITp1qWQ2dVYg1gYRYVLDVbuCHwW8XY1E3J.ZdDtRYfefnwmvALj

https://www.irishlegal.com/articles/afghan-women-judges-were-hunted-by-taliban-before-relocating-to-ireland

https://intr2dok.vifa-recht.de/receive/mir_mods_00014968

https://www.americanbar.org/advocacy/rule_of_law/blog/just-security-article-lawyers-under-threat/

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/global-rescue-effort-tries-to-help-afghans-female-judges-escape-the-taliban-regime

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/outrage-as-afghan-judge-denied-permission-to-enter-uk/5114917.article

https://punchng.com/nba-president-demands-end-to-extrajudicial-killings/

https://acrobat.adobe.com/id/urn:aaid:sc:EU:08f72d25-58c0-446c-888a-b56489eeb4da?viewer%21megaVerb=group-discover#DayoftheEndangeredLawyer

https://www.darivoa.com/amp/lawyers-in-Afghanistan-face-threats/6933046.html (DARI)

https://www.pashtovoa.com/a/us-special-envoy-for-afghan-women-says-will-stand-with-afghan-lawyers/6933080.html (PASHTO)

https://www.lextimes.fr/actualites/avocats-en-danger/treizieme-edition-consacree-lafghanistan (FRANCAIS)

https://www.tdg.ch/de-nombreuses-avocates-sont-menacees-de-mort-par-les-talibans-911401131682

https://lso.ca/gazette/nouvelles/journee-de-l%E2%80%99avocat-en-danger-2023

https://www.lexisnexislegalawards.co.uk/website/9292/shortlist/