Daily Archives: 28/07/2016

IBA: Lawyers under attack: Message from the IBA President

July 28, 2016

Shakespeare is often quoted by those seeking to undermine lawyers: ‘The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers’, says Dick the Butcher in Henry VI, Part II. But this rebel was in fact recognising that, in order to carry out his rebellion, the lawyers and judges who defend the rule of law and order in society would have to be eliminated. Today, authoritarian regimes are unfortunately following that same game plan.

Lawyers are under attack in multiple countries whose leaders wish to impose their own version of law. In Malaysia, the government seeks to adopt amendments to the Legal Profession Act 1976 that would effectively impose government control over the Bar by, among other things, appointing government representatives to sit on the Bar Council, and empowering the minister in charge of legal affairs to determine the electoral rules and regulations of the Bar. Government members of the Bar Council would be required to report on Bar Council meetings, which would make it impossible for Council members to speak confidentially. It would inevitably limit the Council’s ability to speak out or take action against the Government when necessary. Other proposed amendments would create unmanageable and unnecessary quorum requirements and other measures designed to restrain the Bar Council’s ability to protect the rule of law and the independence of lawyers.
In Turkey, following the unsuccessful coup attempt, President Erdogan quickly removed more than 2,500 judges from their positions, as well as substantial numbers of prosecutors, and many of them have been arrested and detained.

http://www.ibanet.org/Article/Detail.aspx?ArticleUid=3EAEFA19-1368-42FE-8C3E-DC1DE19DDD0E

China: Chinese lawyers group investigates member for questioning Communist Party policy

July 28, 2016

What China's crackdown on lawyers says about authorities' fear of burgeoning rights defence movement

A Shenzhen-based lawyer has been investigated by the city’s lawyers association for “making inappropriate comments” about the Communist Party’s major policies.

According to a Shenzhen Lawyers Association document posted online, Li Guobin, a copyright lawyer and partner at the Shenzhen-based Rongguan Law Firm, was under investigation for comments he made on his Sina Weibo microblog. Li confirmed on Thursday that an investigation was under way.

Li has been outspoken on Weibo, questioning the official response to floods in Hebei and making sarcastic remarks about Foreign Minister Wang Yi. It was unclear which comments triggered the investigation.

“We received complaints that Li Guobin made inappropriate comments about the party’s major policies,” the notice said.

“The case was transferred from Shenzhen’s judiciary to our association.”

Under discipline rules amended in October, party members can be expelled for inappropriate comments about the party’s key policies, for vilifying party leaders or for distorting party history.

The rule applies only to party members and Li declined to say if he was a member.

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/1995730/chinese-lawyers-group-investigates-member-questioning

Thailand: Postponed hearing of prosecution order against lawyer Sirikan Case status : Pending investigation advised by prosecutor

July 28, 2016

IMG_2016-07-27 11:51:37

On 27 July 2016, 09:30, Ms. Sirikan Charoensiri (aka. Lawyer June) reported herself to a public prosecutor at the Office of Prosecutor of Dusit District in Bangkok to hear if the prosecutor has made a prosecution or non-prosecution order in the case that she was charged of concealing evidence and refusing to comply with an order of competent official, offences under Section 142 (imprisonment not exceeding three years) and Section 368 (imprisonment not exceeding one month) of the Criminal Code, respectively. The prosecutor postponed the hearing of prosecution order due to ongoing investigation.

The prosecutor advised that the case file has been sent to the police for further investigation after Ms. Sirikan submitted a letter of petition dated 12 May 2016 which requested for more witnesses to be investigated. According to the prosecutor, he has ordered the police to call two witnesses for investigation, despite Sirikan’s request to summon five witnesses including members of the New Democracy Movement (NDM), her clients, Ms. Charoensiri herself, Ms. Yaowalak Anuphan, the Head of the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) and the inquiry official who had received the case reported by her for accusing that the police had committed malfeasance. The prosecutor set 31 August 2016 as the timeframe within which police should return the case file and witnesses’ statements to the prosecutor office.

Therefore, the prosecutor scheduled that Sirikan is to report herself again on 29 September 2016, 9:30 am, at the Office of Prosecutor of Dusit District in Bangkok. This is the second postponement of hearing of the prosecution order. In case of ordering a prosecution order to indict Sirikan to court, the prosecutor will need an approval from the Office of the Attorney General. In case of ordering a non-prosecution order, the prosecutor will need an approval from the Royal Thai Police.

Postponed hearing of prosecution order against lawyer Sirikan Case status : Pending investigation advised by prosecutor

Kenya: “High time to end police impunity” – UN experts raise alarm at on-going pattern of extrajudicial killings in Kenya

July 28, 2016

Homepage of OHCHR

A group of United Nations human rights experts* today expressed deep concern about the on-going pattern of extrajudicial executions in Kenya. They urged the Government to put an end to police violence and ensure accountability for the perpetrators.

The experts’ call comes as four police officers are charged with the murder of human rights lawyer Willie Kimani, his client Josephat Mwenda, and their driver, Joseph Muiruri, in the latest high-profile case in a long list of enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings in Kenya.

“The recent murder of a well-known lawyer and human rights defender is having a dramatic and detrimental impact on civil society, especially on those active in the field of human rights,” the experts noted. “It is urgent for the Government of Kenya to address the apparent structural and systemic motives behind police brutality.”

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights documented a pattern of widespread and systematic human rights violations which include extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, as well as arbitrary arrests, extortion, arbitrary detention and torture, in a 2015 preliminary report about alleged human rights violations by police and other security agencies in relation to counter-terrorism measures.

“The murder of Mr. Kimani, who was renowned for his work with the International Justice Mission, which fights police abuse of power, among many other rights violations, is a dramatic loss for the human rights community in Kenya. This heinous human rights violation should prompt the authorities to take concrete measures to put an end to police impunity,” the experts underscored, stressing that this should include, but not be limited to, providing adequate support and capacity to the Independent Police Oversight Authority.

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=20316&LangID=E

Tanzania: Police Break Up Lawyers’ Protest March in Arusha

July 27, 2016

Heavily armed police stopped a demonstration by lawyers based here who were protesting against the arrest of their colleague in Loliondo Shilinde Ngalula as the Tanganyika Law Society (TLS) joined the fray to condemn the security operation in Ngorongoro.

Lawyers from all corners of Arusha clad in their black gowns had converged at the High Court premises in the city and started marching to the regional police commander’s office to protest but police stepped in and stopped them.

The situation nearly degenerated into a confrontation between them and members of the crack Field Force Unit (FFU) who ordered the former to stop marching lest they face the full wrath of law.

“This is a procession and not an ordinary march. We cannot allow that,” shouted the commander of the anti-riot unit at the site as he gave them ultimatum to risk arrest or pick their representatives to forward their grievances to relevant authorities.

The police leader warned the lawyers, mostly advocates, that they had been tasked to stop the march and ordered them not to proceed and instead to turn back to the Court buildings.

The lawyers retreated, thus defusing what could have been an explosive situation. The lawyers chose to immediately pick a few of their representatives to see the RPC to express their anger over the arrest and detention of Mr. Shilinde who is the officer in charge of the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) in Arusha.

The drama at the High Court premises in Arusha began earlier in the day when the lawyers condemned the continued intimidation of advocate Shilinde who remains detained at the Loliondo police station on alleged community incitement and espionage.

http://allafrica.com/stories/201607270699.html

http://www.thecitizen.co.tz/News/Police-break-up-lawyers–protest-march-in-Arusha-/1840340-3317864-3tkow1z/index.html

http://www.idhae.org/observatoire-fr-page4.1.tz072216.htm (FRANCAIS)

Egypt: La petizione su Change.org: “Liberate Ahmed Abdallah, consulente legale della famiglia Regeni”

26/07/16

AHMED ABDALLAH

Ahmed Abdallah è il presidente della Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedom (ECRF), un’organizzazione che si occupa di assistenza legale verso tutti i detenuti per reati di opinione e di associazione in Egitto. È in carcere dal 25 aprile scorso con l’accusa di aver cospirato contro il presidente egiziano Al-Sisi e di voler rovesciare le istituzioni del Paese.

Dal novembre 2013, infatti, Al Sisi, salito al potere con un colpo di Stato nel luglio di quello stesso anno, ha promulgato centinaia di leggi che mirano a colpire qualsiasi forma di opposizione sociale e politica al proprio dominio interno. Molte di queste leggi prevedono che qualsiasi critica rivolta al governo e al Presidente venga immediatamente considerata come un tentativo di sovversione delle istituzioni statali: le persone accusate di tale reato possono essere trattenute in stato di fermo di polizia per un periodo lungo fino a due anni.

Per Ahmed, prelevato nella notte tra il 24 ed il 25 aprile 2016 nella sua abitazione, questo significa vedersi prolungare arbitrariamente il proprio periodo di detenzione ogni 15/20 giorni senza che alcuna prova concreta venga esibita nei suoi confronti e senza che si possa celebrare un regolare processo.

http://www.huffingtonpost.it/2016/07/26/petizione-liberazione-consulente-regeni-ahmed-abdallah_n_11196818.html?utm_hp_ref=italy&ir=Italy#

http://messaggeroveneto.gelocal.it/udine/cronaca/2016/07/27/news/regeni-resta-in-carcere-il-consulente-della-famiglia-1.13878534

http://www.ansamed.info/ansamed/en/news/sections/generalnews/2016/07/27/cairo-court-nixes-release-of-regeni-family-adviser_6fd016e7-9eec-49d2-a98d-a4e3ef0d7c15.html (ENGLISH)

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/204399/Egypt/Politics-/Human-rights-activist-Ahmed-Abdallah-arrested-Egyp.aspx (ENGLISH)

http://alznazeen.net/ (ARABIC)