October 23, 2015
Former Swazi political prisoners Bheki Makhubu and Thulani Maseko have demanded multi-million rand settlements from King Mswati’s government for wrongful imprisonment.
Makhubu, a newsmagazine editor, and Maseko, an attorney, were tried together and jailed for 15 months from March 2014 until the Swaziland Supreme Court freed them in June 2015, two weeks before their scheduled release.
The court ruled they should not have been convicted in the first place, but stopped short of declaring their incarceration a fulfillment of a personal vendetta by former Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi.
“(Makhubu’s) case was widely reported by the Swazi and international media and he was depicted as a convicted criminal. In addition, he was forced to spend 15 months away from his work and family,” stated Makhubu’s letter of demand prepared by his lawyers.
Makhubu wants R3,65 million from government, claiming R2,35 million for malicious arrest, prosecution and detention, R500,000 for defamation of character, legal costs and R800,000 for emotional trauma, shock and discomfort.
October 22, 2015
(China’s President Xi Jinping and Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron shake hands at the end of a joint press conference in 10 Downing Street, in central London, Britain, October 21, 2015.)
Human rights groups have criticized the U.K. government for “selling out” to China on human rights issues by welcoming President Xi Jinping and clinching a $30 billion economic deal, without bringing up China’s crackdown on ethnic and religions minorities, including Christians.
“If the U.K. is going to totally ignore the ever-worsening rights situation that we have at the moment in China, then that will cause a fundamental conflict with its principles as a democratic country,” U.S.-based Chinese legal scholar Teng Biao said, according to Radio Free Asia.
October 22, 2015
Blind activist Chen Guangcheng, who left China in 2012, believes human rights have not improved under Communist Party leader Xi Jinping, but he remains optimistic about China‘s future.
London (dpa) – Chen Guangcheng suffered years of imprisonment, house arrest, harassment and other abuses in his village before he made a dramatic escape to Beijing in 2012 and sparked a diplomatic incident that ended with him leaving China for the United States.
The self-styled “barefoot lawyer,” who is blind, began his activism by promoting the rights of disabled people before coming to international attention thanks to his support for victims of forced abortions and other abuses under China‘s draconian one-child family planning policy.
Chen believes Chinese authorities are still tracking him and harassing his family in the United States and other countries he visits as he works to expose China‘s ongoing human rights abuses.
October 22, 2015
On behalf of the Lawyers for Lawyers Foundation, Fair Trial Watch and Lawyers Rights Watch Canada we express our grave concern over the investigation faced by our colleague Atty. Tahir Elçi, a prominent human rights lawyer and the president of the Diyarbakir Bar Association.
On 20 October 2015, Mr. Elçi was arrested by the anti-terror police in the offices of the Diyarbakir Bar Association and brought to Istanbul to be interrogated by the Bakirköy Public Prosecutor. We understand first that the prosecutor has started an investigation of Mr. Elçi for allegedly ‘making propaganda for or promoting a terrorist organization’ and second, that he was arrested on the grounds that his whereabouts were not known and that a summons to testify before the prosecutor could not be issued. We reject the legitimacy of both the basis of the investigation and the grounds for the arrest and associated restrictions. With respect to the arrest, as we understand it, Mr. Elçi had stated on 19 October 2015 that he was willing to come to the police station voluntarily to make a statement. As he did not receive a summons, he waited at his office at the Diyarbakir Bar Association for the police, together with a group of lawyers and politicians.
After Mr. Elçi was questioned, the prosecutor requested the court to impose pre-trial detention. The court ordered Mr. Elçi’s release. However, his release is pending completion of the investigation, which is ongoing, and restrictions have been imposed: Mr. Elçi is not allowed to leave the country and is placed under judicial supervision.