Daily Archives: 12/03/2016

China: Chinese Attorneys, Relatives Demand Public Inquiry Into Lawyers’ Detentions

March 11, 2016


(The defense attorney for jailed rights lawyer Li Heping discovered he was relieved of duty when he visited his client in detention, Feb. 18, 2016.)

The relatives and defense lawyers of 19 human rights lawyers currently facing subversion charges have written to China’s parliament, the National People’s Congress (NPC), calling for an independent inquiry into breaches of legal process in the handling of their cases.

“The relevant authorities have brought charges such as ‘incitement to subvert state power’ against them in situations where there has been no breach of the law,” the letter, signed by more than 140 lawyers and relatives, said.

“They have prevented them from seeing lawyers and not allowed them to communicate with lawyers or family members,” it said.

“For this reason, we call on the NPC to set up an independent inquiry into the July 9 crackdown, and take immediate measures to correct these injustices and to prevent the trampling of the constitution and [Chinese] law,” it said.

At least 317 lawyers, law firm staff, human right activists and family members have been detained, questioned, summoned or forbidden to leave the country since police began a nationwide operation targeting the legal profession on the night of July 9, 2015, according to figures compiled by a Hong Kong-based rights group.


Thailand: Thailand: 12 Years Bring No Answers Reopen Case of ‘Disappeared’ Lawyer Somchai Neelapaijit

March 10, 2016

A sketch of Somchai Neelapaijit.

The Thai government should reopen the investigation of the enforced disappearance and presumed murder of a prominent Muslim human rights lawyer, Human Rights Watch said today. The lawyer, Somchai Neelapaijit, was abducted in Bangkok 12 years ago. The government should make publicly available its information on Somchai’s fate and demonstrate its commitment to bringing those responsible for this heinous crime to justice.

“The Thai authorities’ failure to treat Somchai’s ‘disappearance’ as a likely abduction and murder undermines their credibility,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “Because Thailand doesn’t recognize enforced disappearance as a crime, the authorities have avoided inquiring too closely into those who actually ordered Somchai’s abduction and know what happened to him.”

Somchai had been the chairman of Thailand’s Muslim Lawyers Association and vice-chairman of the Human Rights Committee of the Law Society of Thailand. On March 12, 2004, five alleged policemen pulled him from his car in Bangkok. He has not been seen since.


Thailand 12 years since disappearance Somchai Neelapaijit