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.
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.
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.
(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.
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.
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.
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.