Daily Archives: 12/02/2016

China: China’s Human Rights Lawyers: Political Resistance and the Law

February 11, 2016

China's Human Rights Lawyers: Political Resistance and the Law

The detainment of over 200 human rights lawyers and legal activists in China in July 2015 garnered international headlines and sparked renewed attention on the status of rule of law in China. But what’s arguably more worrying for these ‘cause lawyers’ are the covert, methodological means with which the government has gradually limited their space for advocacy. In her book, China’s Human Rights Lawyers, Eva Pils draws on hundreds of interviews with rights (weiquan) lawyers in mainland China to explore the struggles of the Chinese legal profession under the country’s strict party-state control. The Diplomat’s Bochen Han interviews Pils, Reader in Transnational Law at King’s College London, about the intellectual, political and moral resources that China’s lawyers use to survive in an increasingly repressive environment.

The Diplomat: What gave rise to the rights movement and how was it connected to the possibility of top-down, controlled and incremental rule of law reform in China?

Pils: After Mao’s death, Deng Xiaoping’s promise of “Reform and Opening” was part of an effort to banish the ghosts of the Cultural Revolution, which had seen terrible lawlessness and devastation. The reconstruction of the legal system was a way of stabilizing governance. Law also served to reassure foreign investors – it created legally protected ways of trading, investing, and accumulating wealth.


Syria: “Their freedom is their right” campaign announces Razan Zaitouneh as the prisoner of the month in February

February 10, 2016

“Their freedom is their right” (“#حريتهم_حقهم”) is a campaign for defending the rights of prisoners of conscience launched by Maharat Foundation and the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) initiated on 04 May 2014. The campaign was also joined by the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), in addition to the members of the Arab Group in the IFEX network, who nominated Syrian human rights defender Razan Zaitouneh to be the campaign’s prisoner of the month during February 2016. See: http://bit.ly/1NZAv74

Razan Zaitouneh was born in 1977. She has been one of the most prominent lawyers and human rights activists defending political prisoners in Syria since 2001. She has played a key role in efforts to defend human rights for all people and protect independent groups and Syrian activists. Along with a number of other activists, Zaitouneh established the Violations Documentation Center (VDC) in Syria, and co-founded in April 2011 the Local Coordination Committees (LCCs), which co-ordinate the work of local committees in various cities and towns across Syria. She also established the Local Development and Small Projects Support Office, which assists non-governmental organizations in Eastern Ghouta, near Damascus.

At the beginning of the Syrian uprising, Zaitouneh was forced into hiding owing to her media activism, so as to convey the truth about what was happening on the ground to the various media outlets, especially the violations (detention, torture, killing, and harassment) committed against citizens.



Azerbaijan: Trial against Intigam Aliyev

February 10, 2016


On 26 January 2016, Intigam Aliyev’s case was heard before the Supreme Court in Baku. Aliyev could not attend his appeal hearing due to health problems, but his lawyer, Javad Javadov, attended the hearing and requested his client’s acquittal. The hearing was postponed until 24 February because of the need to evaluate additional documents.

Intigam Aliyev was convicted in April 2015 on trumped-up charges of “tax evasion”, “abuse of authority”, “illegal entrepreneurship”, and “misappropriation”. The Baku Court of Appeal upheld this verdict on July 21, 2015. His arrest and conviction appear to be related to his work. As a lawyer, he has submitted more than 200 applications to the European Court of Human Rights.

L4L has been campaigning for the release of Intigam Aliyev since his arrest in August 2014 and will continue to closely monitor his case.

Azerbaijan Trial against Intigam Aliyev