Daily Archives: 06/10/2015

Syria: Joint Statement Urging Release of Human Rights Lawyer Khalil Ma’touq

October 6, 2015

On the third anniversary of the enforced disappearance of Syrian human rights lawyer Khalil Ma’touq and his assistant and friend Mohamed Zaza, the undersigned organizations are reiterating their call for the two men’s immediate and unconditional release.

The two men are believed to have been arrested on 2 October 2012 at one of the various government-operated checkpoints en route from Ma’touq’s home in the Damascus suburb of Sahnaya to his office in Damascus. Requests for information made to the public prosecutor in Damascus by his family and colleagues in 2012 and 2013 only led to the Syrian authorities denying the arrest of the men. Since then their families and friends have not received any information from the authorities about their wellbeing or whereabouts. Released detainees have, on the other hand, informed Ma’touq’s family that they spotted him in various government-operated detention facilities, including State Security Branch 285 and Military Intelligence Branch 235 in Damascus.

Although it is not clear exactly why the men were arrested, their enforced disappearance is likely related to Ma’touq’s work as a human rights lawyer specialized in the defence of political prisoners. He has worked, often pro bono, with hundreds of persons detained solely for the legitimate exercise of their human rights. He is also the director of the Syrian Centre for Legal Studies and Research. In 2015, he ended in second place on the shortlist for the Lawyers for Lawyers Award for lawyers “who work to promote the rule of law and human rights in an exceptional way and are threatened because of their work.”


China/Taiwan: Network formed to back China’s activist lawyers

December 13, 2014

(Founding members of the Taiwan Support China Human Rights Lawyers Network participate in a press conference marking the network’s launch in Taipei yesterday.)

A group of Taiwanese lawyers formed a group called “Taiwan Support China Human Rights Lawyers Network” on Wednesday — International Human Rights Day — and yesterday called on lawyers and the public to back Chinese lawyers who have been persecuted by the Chinese government for carrying out their duties and protecting the rights of Chinese.

The network has been established, the founding members of the group said, to support Chinese lawyers who once had bright futures, but chose instead to fight against the authorities for basic human rights such as the freedom of speech, freedom of religious practice and environmental protection. Many Chinese lawyers have had their licenses revoked, or undergone persecution and arrest.