February 11, 2016
(Pavel Chikov, former head of Agora Human Rights Association. Moscow 2014. © 2014 Private)
A court order to close a leading rights group in Russia is a new low in the government’s vicious crackdown on independent groups. On February 10, 2016, the regional court of Tatarstan issued a ruling to dissolve the Agora Human Rights Association, upholding an administrative suit filed by the Justice Ministry. Agora will appeal to Russia’s Supreme Court.
Agora, a network of lawyers and activists, is widely known for defending civil and political activists across the country. Agora’s lawyers have represented victims of political prosecution in numerous high profile court cases, including the case against the feminist punk group Pussy Riot; the criminal prosecution of Russia’s leading opposition politician,Alexei Navalny; and the recent infamous “terrorism” case against a Ukrainian filmmaker from Crimea, Oleg Sentsov, and his alleged accomplice, the Crimean activist Olexander Kolchenko.
February 17, 2016
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has learned that the police brutally attacked members of a peaceful protest conducted by labor unions in front of the Presidential Palace on 30 October 2015. As a result of the attack, two of the Jakarta Legal Aid (LBH) Lawyers, 24 laborers and one university student were arrested and charged. They have been named as suspects and their cases will be submitted to the public prosecutor.
On 30 October 2015, various labor unions led by the All-Indonesia Workers Union Confederation (KSPSI) conducted a peaceful protest. They demanded cancelation of Government Regulation (PP) No. 78 of 2015 on wages. The protesters stated that PP 78 does not take into consideration the basic cost of living (KHL) survey of 84 basic commodities and the needs of laborers.
Prior to holding their public protest, the protesters had submitted a written permit to the police as regulated by Law No 9 of 1999 on freedom of expression in public. In general, the public protest was very peaceful. There was no violence and no destruction of public facilities by the laborers.
Two legal aid lawyers, Mr. Tigor Gempita Hutapea and Mr. Obed Sakti Luitnan, also attended the protest, to document the protest and to provide legal assistance for the protesters.
March 1, 2016
Le Cong Dinh is a prominent Vietnamese attorney who defended several bloggers and free-expression activists and was close to several of the dissidents who formed a pro-democracy movement in 2006 known as Bloc 8406. Critical of bauxite mining in the central highlands, Le Cong Dinh was arrested by Vietnamese authorities on June 13, 2009. Convicted in 2010 with a ‘plot to overthrow the government,’ he served three years of a five year prison sentence in prison, before going on probation. After finishing his probation earlier this month he talked to Hoa Li, a reporter with RFA’s Vietnamese Service.
RFA: first of all, we would like to congratulate you on finishing your probation and becoming a free citizen again. Can you tell us what difficulties you had during your three-year probation?
Le Cong Dinh: I had many difficulties, especially with travel. They limited my travels to the commune area. I could not visit my friends who were sick. They [the authorities] think that such visits were not legitimate reasons to travel. I could not see anybody for the past three years.