Monthly Archives: July 2016

Egypt: Egyptian rights lawyer Malek Adly detained for another 15 days

July 31, 2016

Malek Adly

Human rights lawyer Malek Adly saw his detention renewed on Sunday for another 15 days pending further investigations on charges of attempting to overthrow the regime.

Adly’s defence team issued a statement announcing they had withdrawn from the Sunday session after failing to secure their earlier demand, presented on 18 July, that a new judge be appointed to the case due to “grave violations” of Adly’s rights by prosecutors.

According to the defence team, prosecution violations include “refusing to recognise Adly as a victim” of bad treatment in jail after being kept in solitary confinement since his arrest in an unequipped cell and denied a visit from his defence team.

Adly’s wife, Asmaa Ali, had released several statements about the poor conditions her husband is being subject to, including being kept in solitary confinement and not being allowed to leave his unlit, unventilated prison cell.

His health is deteriorating because his family have not been allowed to provide him with a bed or a mattress, and he has to sleep on the ground, Ali said.

The well-known lawyer was arrested in May in relation to his opposition to the government’s April decision to recognise two Egyptian-administered Red Sea islands as belonging to Saudi Arabia.

#FreeMalekAdly #Free_Malek_Adly

Egypt: Free Malek Adly, Now!

July 30, 2016

#FreeMalekAdly #‎Free_Malek_Adly‬

China: Conscience conquers all: wife of detained rights lawyer Li Heping says her respect has only grown deeper despite pain of separation

July 30, 2016

WANG QIAOLING is the wife of rights lawyer Li Heping, who was arrested a year ago in the so-called ‘709 crackdown’ on hundreds of human rights advocates. For the first six months she had no official word of his fate. Wang tells MIMI LAU how her faith comforted her family and how it has given her a deeper appreciation of Li’s quest for justice.

How did you make it through the past year?

Like anyone facing a traumatic event, I have walked from the initial confusion to facing the challenge upfront. After learning what really happened, I chose to face it head on rather than complain. My faith has lifted me through this year. Whether you face every day with tears or a smile, life must go on. I have been able to see God’s plan in the midst of it all and we shall not be defeated by circumstances.

I lived through the past year by seeking and relying on God alone, especially when I was given notice of the arrest six months after he went missing. My heart began to calm down and I told myself that not only must I stay positive, I would have to mobilise other lawyers’ wives to stay positive, too.

What are conditions like for you and your children?

My son is now 16 and has just completed Year 10. He was unable to join an international exchange programme because he was banned from leaving the country, like me. The same goes for my daughter who is only 61/2 – she was banned from applying for a passport and is prohibited from attending school. But I trust that God will prepare a way out for us amid our difficulties, and that we will overcome the challenge.

How do you plan to seek your husband’s release?

As a tiny human who has come up against the state, I can tell you that I have no means to get my husband out. Absolutely none. I studied law at university, and I know I can defend the basic rights of my husband and my family according to the law.

Turkey: 12 lawyers arrested in Turkey in post-coup shakedown

July 30, 2016

Twelve out of 20 earlier detained lawyers have been arrested in the Turkish city of Konya due to the involvement in the military coup attempt, Sabah newspaper reported July 30.

Other detained lawyers have been released after being examined by prosecutors.

Earlier, Turkey’s Interior Minister Efkan Ala said that the number of detainees over the military coup attempt has reached 18,000, and 9,677 of them are arrested.

On July 15 evening, Turkish authorities said a military coup attempt took place in the country. Meanwhile, a group of servicemen announced about transition of power to them.

However, the rebelling servicemen started to surrender July 16 and Turkish authorities said the coup attempt failed. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the death toll as a result of the military coup attempt stood at 246 people excluding the coup plotters and over 2,000 people were wounded.

Erdogan declared a three-month state of emergency in Turkey on July 20.

Yavuz Baydar: Tough times ahead for Turkey (FRANCAIS)


le 6 juillet, 2016

La répression visant les avocats a débuté le 9 juillet 2015, lorsque l’éminente avocate pékinoise Wang Yu a disparue. © 	@badiucao

Il faut que les autorités chinoises cessent de s’en prendre aux avocats spécialistes des droits humains et aux défenseurs des droits humains comme elles le font depuis bientôt un an dans le cadre d’une répression sans précédent, a déclaré Amnesty International.

En effet, au moins 248 avocats spécialistes des droits humains et défenseurs des droits humains ont été pris pour cible au cours de la vague de répression nationale qui a débuté le 9 juillet 2015. Un an plus tard, 18 sont toujours derrière les barreaux et, parmi eux, neuf sont inculpés de «subversion du pouvoir de l’État» et passibles de la réclusion à perpétuité.

«Les avocats spécialistes des droits humains ont subi les foudres de la machine de répression secrète des autorités chinoises. Il faut que les avocats détenus soient libérés et que le régime cesse de s’attaquer systématiquement aux personnes qui défendent les droits de la population chinoise, a déclaré Roseann Rife, directrice des recherches sur l’Asie de l’Est à Amnesty International. «Le président Xi Jinping a l’audace d’affirmer que l’État fait respecter la primauté du droit alors que c’est précisément pour cette raison que des avocats encourent la réclusion à perpétuité.» Les pouvoirs publics utilisent tout un arsenal de mesures répressives pour tenter de réduire les avocats au silence. La plupart des personnes arrêtées dans le cadre de la vague de répression actuelle ont été privées de représentant juridique et de contacts avec leur famille, ce qui constitue une violation manifeste de leurs droits.


Angola: Charges against Arão Bula Tempo dropped

July 24, 2016


On 11 July 2016, the Provincial Court of Cabinda dropped the charges against lawyer Arão Bula Tempo due to a lack of evidence. L4L welcomes this decision.

On 14 March 2015, Arão Bula Tempo was arrested in connection to his alleged involvement in the organization of a peaceful protest against human rights violations and bad governance in the Angolan province of Cabinda. He was caught on 22 October 2015, with the crimes of attempted “collaboration with foreigners to constrain the Angolan state” and rebellion.

Earlier this year, L4L called on the authorities to drop the charges against Arão Bula Tempo if they have been brought against him solely because of his human rights work and his exercise of his right to freedom of expression.

Arão Bula Tempo is a human rights lawyer and President of the Provincial Council of the Angolan Bar Association in Cabinda. Since 1998, he has been actively denouncing human rights violations committed by state agents, including arbitrary detention, torture and summary executions.

Angola Charges against Arão Bula Tempo dropped (PORTUGUESE) (FRENCH) (SPANISH)

China: The West kowtows to China through self-censorship

July 28, 2016

Teng Biao is a human rights lawyer and a visiting fellow at New York University’s U.S.-Asia Law Institute.

Two years ago, I was invited by the American Bar Association to prepare a manuscript for a book to be titled “Darkness Before Dawn.” This book was to describe the decade I spent engaged in human rights work in China and what those experiences tell us about the country’s politics, society and future. But the ABA soon rescinded the offer. The reason I was given? The group did not want to anger the Chinese government.

I don’t write this to pick on the ABA. There was nothing uncommon about this episode, but the details are useful in illustrating the corrosive influence of the Chinese Communist Party on the West. Far too many Western organizations and scholars working in China practice self-censorship — and for perfectly understandable reasons. If their conclusions on a sensitive political topic anger the regime, they won’t get a visa, and their work and funding will be jeopardized.

Whenever Chinese politics is mentioned, most think of the factional struggles among Communist Party leaders. But this is only part of the picture. The stories I’ve long sought to tell are otherwise: About activists given heavy prison sentences for forming opposition political parties. About human rights lawyers representing persecuted Christians, Falun Gong practitioners, Tibetans and Uighurs. About rights defenders whose activism helped end the labor camp system, the one-child policy and forced demolitions.

I am intimately familiar with this work, because I am one of their number. For my activism I’ve been banned from teaching, forced out of a job, disbarred from practicing law, jailed and tortured.

Iran: Iranian Human Rights Lawyer Quits after Years of State Harassment and Threats

July 14, 2016


“In this society, lawyers who bear witness to injustice and speak the truth get punished.”

Constant pressure and harassment by Iran’s Judiciary and security establishment have forced a human rights lawyer to leave her profession. Giti Pourfazel—who spent nearly 10 years representing political prisoners and their families, usually for free—has submitted her resignation to Iran’s Bar Association.

“I have paid my debt to society and reached a point where I don’t have the mental strength to carry on,” she told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran in an interview. “I had to quit and ask for retirement, but I have kept busy. I don’t practice law any more, but I’ve started to do some writing.”

“Most of the cases I took on were political ones,” said Pourfazel. “These individuals were being persecuted for their political beliefs. I would give interviews and talk about these cases and that’s how I got into all kinds of trouble that continue to this day. It got to a point where I couldn’t continue on that path any longer. I was really under a lot of pressure.”

“In this society, lawyers who bear witness to injustice and speak the truth get punished,” she added. “Why? Because they love their country.”


Iranian Human Rights Lawyer Quits after Years of State Harassment and Threats


Turkey: Turkey detains lawyers after failed coup

July 27, 2016


Since the attempted coup in Turkey on 15 July 2016, more than 60.000 people have been fired or suspended from their jobs, many of whom were also arrested. Among them are 2.745 judges. Now, lawyers are also targeted.

Prominent human rights lawyer and journalist Orhan Kemal Cengizand his wife Sibel Semira Hurtas were arrested on 21 July 2016 on Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, on their way to London to discuss the formation of the Tahir Elci Foundation. Mrs Hurtas was released the same day, mr Cengiz three days later. He is still subject to travel restrictions. It is unclear what the grounds for these measures are.

The same day it was reported that 11 lawyers were arrested in Izmir, and a warrant for the arrest of 14 other lawyers was issued. In this case it is also unclear why the lawyers were arrested. Through various sources we are informed that in Istanbul approximately 50 lawyers are held incommunicado, with no access to lawyers.

L4L President Phon van den Biesen: ‘Although we understand that the Turkish government must respond to the attempted coup, we are worried about their current actions. They seem to undermine the rule of law, which is an essential part in any democracy, even in a state of emergency.’

Turkey Turkey detains lawyers after failed coup

Egypt: Military regime will continue to hate any form of dissent: Mahienour El-Massry

May 10, 2016

Activist Mahienour El–Massry ordered back to prison.
(Photo courtesy of Free Mahienour)

Award winning lawyer and political activist Mahienour El-Massry wrote a letter from prison on Monday, criticising recent political events and demanding the fall of oppressive regimes.

A copy of the letter, published on the Free Mahienour official Facebook page, read: “We have been dreaming of a nation that accommodates our dreams.”

“And we realised the only way to enable this nation to thrive is to fight all those who consider themselves gods, convincing people that the nation will fall if they step down.”

Al-Massry spoke of “those who convince the people that their freedom is a conspiracy”.

Military regime will continue to hate any form of dissent: Mahienour El-Massry

(UPDATE: She will be released from jail soon, hopefully by August 9, 2016)