November 17, 2015
(A delegation from Hong Kong prepares material on the human rights situations in Hong Kong and China for the United Nations Committee Against Torture report in Geneva, Switzerland, Nov. 16, 2015.)
The lawyer and relatives of a rights activist from the southern province of Guangdong who died in police custody earlier this month said on Tuesday his body shows multiple signs of severe physical assault.
The report comes as Chinese officials were questioned at the United Nations by officials reviewing Beijing’s record on torture.
Zhang Liumao was reported dead by authorities in the Guangzhou No. 3 Detention Center in the early hours of Nov. 4, prompting suspicions from his family that he was tortured.
November 18, 2015
(Guo Feixiong in a file photo.)
The wife of a Chinese rights lawyer who has been inmovement-restricted solitary confinement with no fresh air or exercise for more than two years has hit out at his inhumane treatment as Beijing’s torture record is reviewed by the United Nations.
U.S.-based Zhang Qing, wife of jailed Chinese rights lawyer and activist Yang Maodong, better known by his pseudonym Guo Feixiong, said he has been held in Tianhe detention center in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou with no space to move around since August 2013.
“One of the biggest issues is that they have locked Guo Feixiong up for [more than] two years in a very small and confined space, where he hasn’t been able to move around,” Zhang told RFA in a recent interview.
November 18, 2015
UN rights experts pressed senior Chinese officials on Tuesday about persistent allegations that torture is rife in their police stations and prisons, especially of political prisoners, and about deaths in custody.
China said it was working to combat torture but that it had not been eliminated.
The United Nations Committee against Torture’s regular examination of Beijing’s record came after what the group Human Rights in China says has been “a year of massive crackdowns on rights activists and lawyers” on the mainland.
Chinese government officials told the 10 independent experts that their country was working to eliminate torture, including through better training of police and prison guards, and audio and video recordings of interrogations.
November 19, 2015
On Tuesday, November 17, senior Chinese officials faced questions from a U.N. Committee Against Torture panel on the continued use of torture to extract confessions from pre-trial criminal detainees. Beijing has claimed that criminal justice reforms since 2009 have helped to curb the practice, but recent reports from rights groups suggest that the systematic use of torture continues, and has been used to interrogate and deter legal advocacy amid a renewed crackdown on lawyers and activists. At Reuters, Stephanie Nebehay reports on opening statements made by the Chinese delegation in Geneva:
Chinese government officials told the 10 independent experts that their country was working to eliminate torture including through better training of police and prison guards, and audio and video recordings of interrogations.
“Our efforts have produced major progress in our combat against torture,” Wu Hailong, China’s ambassador who heads its delegation of 39 senior officials, told the UN body, which is also reviewing the records of Hong Kong and Macao.
Illegally obtained evidence and forced self-incrimination of detainees are banned, Wu said, “thus preventing interrogation through torture”. He conceded that there was “still a long and arduous path ahead before elimination of torture”. […] [Source]
November 18, 2015
Tajik authorities have begun a campaign against lawyers representing political opposition. With multiple cases of independent attorneys being imprisoned, many in Tajikistan worry that Dushanbe is starting a countrywide hunt.
On September 29, the Tajik Ministry of Internal Affairs officials arrested the official lawyer of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT), Buzurmehr Yerov. Just one day before his arrest Yerov had voiced concerns over the use of torture against the party he represented. He had also created a committee to protect the rights of those party members that were arrested in September.
Not 24 hours later, Yerov was arrested, allegedly for forgery of car documents. A day later, new charges were added: publicly calling for violence and religious hatred. The latter charges could result in a life sentence for Yerov.
– See more at: http://www.silkroadreporters.com/2015/11/18/tajikistan-declares-open-season-on-independent-lawyers/#sthash.JNCTdzmZ.dpuf
September 8, 2015
(Crime scene investigators examine the vehicle of slain trial court Judge Jude Erwin Alaba at the court compound in Barangay Suklayin, Baler, Aurora September 1. )
An Australian law professor on Monday said the “Philippines is a very dangerous place for lawyers” following the death of a Baler Regional Trial Court (RTC) judge.
In a letter sent to Philstar.com, Gill Boehringer, former dean of Macquarie University School of Law in Sydney, Australia, urged the government to act on protecting the lawyers under threat.
“Lawyers are not the most admired profession, but without them the rule of law would not survive. It is often the lawyers who are most concerned to protect the rights of others without thought for their own safety who are the victims of murderous attacks,”
Boehringer cited that Baler RTC Judge Erwin Alba, shot dead last September 1, was the 24th judge murdered in the Philippines since 1999.