Daily Archives: 10/02/2016


February 9, 2016

Last month the Azerbaijani government, plagued by domestic protests, a troubled relationship with the EU  and an ongoing border dispute with Armenia woke up to another problem – Amal Clooney.

Fresh from defending Al-Jazeera journalists in Egypt, the international human rights lawyer announced that she is taking on the case of jailed journalist Khadija Ismayilova. Ismayilova has been in prison for over a year on what she claims are trumped-up charges.

Essentially a mouthpiece for the government, the Azerbaijani media responded to the news of Clooney’s latest job with fury. Attacks by agencies AzerNews and Haqqin.az ran the gauntlet from mysogynist to xenophobic – accusing Clooney both of harbouring anti-Turkic sentiment (in 2015 Clooney lost a case against a Turkish politician about Amenian-genocide denial) and of trying to achieve the same heights of fame as her husband (George Clooney). One article wrote simply, ‘We would like to note that Amal Clooney is an ethnic Armenian’ (Clooney is Lebanese-British).

The source of this vitriol is more likely to be the concern that, once again, Azerbaijan’s human rights record will be under the international spotlight. Although the government enjoys the perks of being European — hosting theEuropean Games and competing in the European Song Content – it does not want the burdens of democracy, civil rights or the European Court of Human Rights. Clooney’s fame and reputation mean that wherever she steps, the media follows – and in this case, her attention violates what seems to be a founding principle for post-Soviet nations – the right to harangue and persecute critics without recourse.


India: Enraged over colleague’s murder, lawyers turn violent

February 10, 2016

Enraged over a colleague’s murder, lawyers on Wednesday torched two buses, stoned passers-by and attacked police as well as media personnel here.

They also set fire to a police booth after which security personnel were deployed near the high court complex. The lawyers also targeted a hoarding of Uttar Pradesh’s ruling Samajwadi Party.

Earlier, the lawyers practising at the Allahabad High Court’s Lucknow bench struck work following the Tuesday murder of lawyer Shrawan Kumar Sharma. His body was found dumped in a drain near his house.

Uttar Pradesh Accredited Journalists Association president Hemant Tiwari later met Director General of Police Jawed Ahmed and sought action against those who attacked journalists and photographers covering the violence.