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.
January 26, 2016
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).
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: http://www.avaz.ba/clanak/216464/attack-on-lawyer-sejla-turkovic-sentenced-to-three-months-in-prison?url=clanak/216464/attack-on-lawyer-sejla-turkovic-sentenced-to-three-months-in-prison#sthash.mfEflqe1.dpuf
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.