Monthly Archives: February 2016

China: Where are China’s human rights lawyers?

February 29, 2016

(Activists from Amnesty International Thailand hold banners with pictures of human right activists and lawyers who are now in prison. August 6, 2015 [Chaiwat Subprasom/Reuters])

When Li Meng first told her father, a prosecutor and Communist party member in Guizhou province, that she wanted to study human rights law, he wasn’t pleased.

“He could not understand at the very beginning why I chose to do human rights – a thing that is very sensitive, and cannot earn money,” the 24-year-old explained.

But gradually, after she began her master’s degree, specialising in human rights, at Renmin University in Beijing, his opposition eased. She recently returned from a six-month internship at the European Court of Human Rights in France.

In many ways, her father was right to be concerned. From the thousands of students graduating from China’s law schools each year, only a few go on to practise human rights law.

Bosnia: ATTACK ON LAWYER Šejla Turković sentenced to three months in prison!

January 26, 2016

ATTACK ON LAWYER Šejla Turković sentenced to three months in prison!

Melika Murtezić, judge of the Municipal Court in Sarajevo, yesterday pronounced a sentence against Šejla Turkovic, wife of Zijad Turković, leader of criminal organization  (he was sentenced to 40 years in prison for multiple executions, international drug trafficking and theft of 2.5 million KM from the Sarajevo airport).

Serious threats

On grounds of the attack on lawyer Izet Baždarević, Šejla Turković was conditionally sentenced to three months in prison with a one-year probation period. The sentence will not be executed provided that she does not commit another criminal offense in the next 12 months. Also, under this sentence, Šejla Turković is obliged to pay 200 KM for court expenses, no later than 30 days from the day the judgement is rendered final. Šejla Turković is charged with jeopardizing the safety of lawyer Izet Baždarević from Sarajevo, because she made serious threats against him outside the courtroom number 4 in the Court building on 23 September 2011. On that occasion, Turković approached Baždarević and shouted at him saying that he was a criminal and accusing him of instructing a witness to testify against her husband. Šejla Turković’s threats that she would get revenge on him and kill him together with his family, as referred to in the indictment against her, were taken seriously by Baždarević who was left with a feeling of fear and personal jeopardy. In the reasoning of the judgment, judge Murtezić pointed out that the prosecution proved the allegations from the indictment by means of material evidence and examination of witnesses. – See more at:

Lesotho: harassment and intimidation of lawyers

February 25, 2016

The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concerns about the harassment and intimidation of lawyers Haae Phoofolo, Christopher Lephuthing, Koili Ndebele, Khotso Nthontho and Tumisang Mosotho in Lesotho.

Haae Phoofolo, Christopher Lephuthing, Koili Ndebele, Khotso Nthontho and Tumisang Mosotho are lawyers representing 23 soldiers accused of plotting a mutiny with ex-army chief Maaparankoe Mahao (who was killed on 25 June 2015).

It has come to our attention that the lawyers are being subjected to harassment and intimidation both inside and outside of the courtroom. Members of the Lesotho Defence Forces have reportedly: denied the lawyers access to their client; threatened the lawyers with physical harm; and carried assault weapons openly in the courtroom. In addition, the lawyers report that they have been followed by members of the Special Forces.

Moreover, reports indicate that the lawyers have recently learned they are on a ‘hit list’, which was published on social media at the end of October 2015. Its authorship is currently unknown. However, two people who were on a similar ‘hit list’ last year were killed shortly after its publication.

Honduras: human rights violations faced by lawyers and members of the judiciary

February 25, 2016

The Law Society of Upper Canada is deeply concerned about the ongoing human rights violations faced by lawyers and judges in Honduras.

The 2016 Day of the Endangered Lawyer was dedicated to lawyers in Honduras. Reports indicate that between 2010 and 2015, 86 legal professionals were murdered. According to the Basic Report on the Human Rights Lawyers under Continuing Threat in Honduras, the vast majority of these murders do not result in prosecution.

The Law Society reminds the government of Honduras of Articles16, 17 and 23 of the United Nations’ Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers. Article 16 states:

Governments shall ensure that lawyers (a) are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference; (b) are able to travel and to consult with their clients freely both within their own country and abroad; and (c) shall not suffer, or be threatened with, prosecution or administrative, economic or other sanctions for any action taken in accordance with recognized professional duties, standards and ethics.

China: conviction of human rights lawyer Shu Xiangxin

February 25, 2016

The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concerns about the conviction of human rights lawyer Shu Xiangxin in China.

Shu Xiangxin is a prominent human rights lawyer in Shandong province. He often defends clients who are involved in politically sensitive cases.

The Law Society voices its concern as a result of reports that Shu Xiangxin was arrested on the 2 January 2016. On 4 January 2016, Shu Xiangxin reported to his lawyers that he had been severely beaten and handcuffed to a staircase for seven hours.

Shu Xiangxin’s lawyers attest to visible injuries on his wrists and face. Moreover, medical examinations conducted from 6-8 January 2016 describe the deterioration of his physical health while in pre-trial detention: he reportedly suffers from tinnitus, thrombosis, muscle atrophy, and an effusion on his brain. Furthermore, observers at his trial on 8 January 2016 report that Shu Xiangxin was unable to walk without assistance.

China: Ontario lawyers urge Ottawa to raise issue of jailed Chinese colleagues with Beijing

February 26, 2016

 Chinese policemen wear pollution masks as they stand guard near the Beijing No. 2 People’s Intermediate Court where human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang was sentenced in Beijing, China, Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015.

(Chinese policemen wear pollution masks as they stand guard near the Beijing No. 2 People’s Intermediate Court where human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang was sentenced in Beijing, China, Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015.
Photo Credit: Mark Schiefelbein)

Canada’s largest law society is urging the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to raise the issue of alleged government reprisals against Chinese human rights lawyers at the highest levels in Beijing.

The Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) is sounding the alarm over the fate of two prominent Chinese human rights lawyers: Shu Xiangxin from Shandong province and Wang Qiushi from Heilongjiang.

Shu was arrested on the Jan. 2, 2016. Two days later, Shu reported to his lawyers that he had been severely beaten and handcuffed to a staircase for seven hours, said a statement by the LSUC on Friday. Shu, who ofthen represented clients involved in politically sensitive cases, was found guilty of defamation and sentenced to a six month jail term. His licence to practise law was also revoked.

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Lawyer Jean Kisumbule Muteba shot dead

February 27, 2016


Lawyers for Lawyers is shocked by the death of lawyer Jean Kisumbule Muteba. On Saturday 20 February, Jean Kisumbule Muteba was shot outside his home in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. Maitre Kisumbule Muteba was registered at the Bar Association of Kinshasa / Gombe.

The motive and the circumstances of the crime are still unknown. We support the call of the President and the Supervisory Board of the Bar Association of Kinshasa / Gombe to the authorities, to investigate the case thoroughly and prosecute the perpetrators of this murder.

L4L is concerned about the safety of lawyers in the DRC. In June 2015, a group of Dutch lawyers went to Kinshasa on the occasion of the founding of the ‘Défense pour la Défense’, a collective of lawyers and human rights defenders that aims to improve the precarious security situation of their target audience. We ask the authorities, in accordance with Articles 16 and 17 of the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, to protect our colleagues so that they can safely and freely exercise their profession.

DRC Lawyer Jean Kisumbule Muteba shot dead

RDC Maitre Jean Kisumbule Muteba a tué

Click to access Courrier-SEM-KABILA.pdf

Argentina: Argentina prosecutor’s death classified as homicide

February 26, 2016


Former Argentine lawyer and federal prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, was the victim of murder according to a Criminal Appeals Court Prosecutor Ricardo Sáenz. The declaration is thefirst time [IBT report] a judicial authority has suggested the death as a homicide since the mysterious tragedy. Sáenz recommended that the case be handed to federal authorities and investigated as a murder. The prosecutor wrote that he agreed with the assassination theory[infobae report, in Spanish] that Nisman’s family presented in a complaint to the appeals court in Buenos Aires and that all the evidence points to Nisman’s death as a murder, not a suicide [Reuters report]. Judge and Nisman’s former wife, Sandra Arroyo Salgado, also maintains that the case be handed over to federal authorities in order to fulfill their role as the country’s institution for investigating the suspicious death of a public servant. The court will evaluate Sáenz’s findings on March 18.

Nisman was found dead [JURIST report] in January 2015. He had been appointed to lead the investigation of the 1994 bombing of the Argentinian Mutual Association, a terrorist attack that left 85 dead and injured 300 others. The prosecutor claimed that the then-current administration negotiated with the Iranian government to cover up Iran’s involvement in exchange for oil to ease Argentina’s energy deficit; he was found dead a day before he was scheduled to testify about his accusation. Days after his death had been ruled a suicide, former Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said that she was “sure” that the death was not a suicide[JURIST report]. In March an Argentinian appeals court dismissed the charges against Fernandez for conspiring to insulate Iranian officials’ from prosecution over their alleged participation in the 1994 bombing. An appeals court in 1994 ruled that a signed agreement that permitted Argentinian authorities to question Iranian suspects over the 1994 bombing under Interpol arrests warrants, only in Tehran, was unconstitutional.

Prosecutor Confirms: Alberto Nisman Was Murdered

China: Anger as Christian lawyer paraded on Chinese state TV for ‘confession’

February 26, 2016

Zhang Kai, 36, appears on state-controlled TV in China to issue a 'confession. Zhang was was taken into secret detention in August 2015 after opposing a Communist party cross removal campaign.

( Zhang Kai, 36, appears on state-controlled TV in China to issue a ‘confession. Zhang was was taken into secret detention in August 2015 after opposing a Communist party cross removal campaign. Photograph: Wenzhou TV)

Supporters of a prominent Christian lawyer who was taken into secret detention after opposing a Communist party cross-removal campaign are demanding his release after he became the latest Chinese human rights defender to be paraded on television for an alleged “confession”.

Zhang Kai, 36, was seized by security forces in August 2015 just hours before a planned meeting with the US ambassador-at-large for religious freedom at which he had intended to denounce a government crackdown on churches in Zhejiang province.

Activists believe the decision to arrest the Bible-carrying attorney was designed to silence Zhang’s outspoken criticism of what they have dubbed China’s “anti-cross” campaign. Church groups say the campaign has affected more than 1,200 places of worship since it began in 2013.


February 24, 2016

Η Πρόεδρος του Αρείου Πάγου, Βασιλική Θάνου, κατέθεσε μήνυση εναντίον μου. Με εγκαλεί για εξύβριση και δυσφήμηση για επικριτικό σχόλιό μου που αναρτήθηκε στο ιστολόγιό μου, με αφορμή την επιστολή που απέστειλε, με την ιδιότητά της ως Προέδρου του Αρείου Πάγου, στους Προέδρους ανωτάτων δικαστηρίων των χωρών της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης.

Η Πρόεδρος του Αρείου Πάγου συγχέει την άσκηση κριτικής που αποτελεί απόλυτο δικαίωμα κάθε πολίτη, ιδιαίτερα όταν αφορά δημόσια πρόσωπα, με την εξύβριση και τη δυσφήμηση. Θα επανέλθω αναλυτικά σε όσα μου καταλογίζει στη μήνυσή της. Περιορίζομαι να αναφέρω ότι ισχυρίζεται πως το περιεχόμενο του σχολίου μου ενείχε «μείωση του κύρους του αξιώματος, ήτοι αυτό της Προέδρου του Αρείου Πάγου, που η Πολιτεία μου ενεπιστεύθη και που δικαιούμαι να απολαμβάνω». Το αδίκημα της περιύβρισης αρχής έχει από το 1993 καταργηθεί και, προφανώς, το κύρος του δικού της αξιώματος και όλων των αξιωμάτων της ελληνικής πολιτείας δεν προστατεύεται από την έννομη τάξη.

(The President of the Greek Supreme Court sues Greek distinguished lawyer Mr. Stavros Tsakyrakis for defamation, after his blog post criticizing (including the opinion that after that she cannot occupy the seat of the highest Judge in the country) her letter addressed to the Presidents of all EU’s Courts, in which she included political views. This is his public declaration after learning he is being sued.  Thanks to human rights lawyer Electra Leda Koutra in Athens for this link and information.)