Daily Archives: 11/08/2016

Saudi Arabia: LRWC Calls on Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion to Use His Influence to Ensure the Release of Waleed Abu al-Khair and Raif Badawi | Letter

July 29, 2016

Saudi Arabia: LRWC Calls on Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion to Use His Influence to Ensure the Release of Waleed Abu al-Khair and Raif Badawi | Letter

Dear Minister Dion;

Re: Release of Waleed Abu al-Khair and Raif Badawi from arbitrary detention in Saudi Arabia

Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC) is writing to request a reply to our 27 June 2016 letter and to repeat the request made by that letter—that you use your influence to ensure that Saudi Arabia immediately and unconditionally release Waleed Abu al-Khair and Raif Badawi from prison. LRWC would like to know what actions your office is taking to ensure compliance by Saudi Arabia with its international law duties in respect to these cases.

Recent reports indicate that Saudi Arabia is taking extraordinary measure to suppress reports of its grave violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. In response to threats by Saudi Arabia to withdraw UN funding, the 20 April 2016 UN Secretary-General’s Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict was amended (on 24 June 2016) to remove a reference identifying the Saudi Arabia-led military coalition in Yemen as a party that kills and maims children and engages in attacks on schools and/or hospitals. Alarmingly, an Ottawa newspaper (The Hills Times on 27 July 2016) gave Saudi Arabia a platform to advertise false claims that “[Canada and Saudi Arabia] share the same values”, and that Saudi Arabia is recognized as “complying with a high standard of human rights regulation”. Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Canada was further quoted as saying that he “always listen[s] to [Stéphane Dion]” and “really admire[s] him”. LRWC is concerned that Saudi Arabia has exerted behind the scenes influence to prevent UN bodies from considering or acting on complaints about the wrongful convictions and arbitrary imprisonment of Waleed Abu al-Khair and Raif Badawi.

These developments raise the concern that Saudi Arabia may directly or indirectly, caution or persuade you or your office to forbear from any communications that acknowledge human rights abuses by Saudi Arabia including in the cases of Waleed Abu al-Khair and Raif Badawi or otherwise.

Saudi Arabia: LRWC Calls on Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion to Use His Influence to Ensure the Release of Waleed Abu al-Khair and Raif Badawi | Letter

China: Guangdong Rights Lawyers Chen Jinxue Taken Away by Police for over 12 hours

August 11, 2016

China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group / 中國維權律師關注組 (Facebook)

(August 12, 2016: update by the China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group: “Lawyer Chen has been released upon the 24 hours deadline for summons but we are still trying to understand if he is completely free.”)

China: China’s Anti-Western Show Trials

August 10, 2016

Chinese authorities turned last week’s show trials of four legal activists into a multimedia sensation, with forced confessions airing nightly on prime-time news and propaganda videos online. Beyond vilifying the four men, who advocated for dissidents and religious minorities, the trials had a broader purpose: to paint the United States as China’s enemy.

The courtroom drama was highly choreographed, with four trials over four days, each lasting a few hours. The accused, who couldn’t use their own lawyers or have family in the courtroom, were arrested during last year’s sweep of nearly 300 lawyers and legal activists. When they surfaced in a courtroom in the port city of Tianjin after more than 12 months incommunicado, they denounced themselves, praised their jailers and condemned overseas influences for leading them astray.

“We must see clearly the ugly faces of those hostile foreign forces, and those within the country with ulterior motives,” declared defendant Zhai Yanmin. Mr. Zhai was affiliated with the Fengrui law firm, which represented artist Ai Weiwei, members of the Falun Gong religious sect and parents of children poisoned by tainted baby formula.

“Don’t be hoodwinked by the rhetoric they parade about ‘democracy,’ ‘human rights’ and the ‘public good,’ ” Mr. Zhai warned the public, echoing official talking points. He was convicted of subversion and given a suspended three-year sentence.

China’s Communists may no longer be Marxists, but under Xi Jinping they take their Leninism seriously. This is a tragedy for the victims of state abuse, growing numbers of whom languish in prison for speaking up—as do lawyers who dare to defend them. It’s also dangerous. As in Russia and Iran today, official propaganda that paints America as a villain can incite nationalist passions that erupt in unpredictable ways—and not always peacefully in the rest of the world.






#Freethelawyers #709crackdown #WangYu #ZhouShifeng

Kenya: Court rules APs abducted and killed lawyer Willie Kimani, two people

August 11, 2016

Lawyer Willie Kimani, who was abducted and

The High Court has recommended that lawyer Willie Kimani, who was brutally murdered and his body dumped in a river, be recognised as a champion of justice.

In his judgment Thursday, Justice Luka Kimaru observed that the lawyer, his client Josphat Mwenda and their taxi driver Joseph Muiruri were abducted by police on June 23 while leaving the Mavoko Law Courts and detained in an ungazetted police cell, where they were tortured and then brutally murdered.

He said the cause of the trio’s deaths was a complaint made by Mr Mwenda to the Independent Policing Oversight Authority.

Mr Mwenda claimed that he had been assaulted by an Administration Police (AP) officer, who was now pressurising him to withdraw the complaint.

The judge noted that investigations into the assault were hampered and obstructed by AP officers who were out to defeat justice.

As a consequence, Justice Kimaru said, the officers filed trumped-up charges of drug trafficking and six traffic offences against Mr Mwenda, whom they charged at the Mavoko Law Courts, where he was defended by Mr Kimani.

He said Mr Kimani, as a human rights lawyer and defender of justice, relentlessly defended Mr Mwenda until the two met their death.

The court ruled that because of the ineptitude of the police, the three were not rescued even after their families reported them missing to the police.

“Lawyers, judges and magistrates must be protected by police in the course of duty which involves protecting [the] rights of Kenyans provided under the Bill of rights in the Constitution,” the judge ruled.


#IamWillie #JusticeforWillie

Pakistan: Law Society of Kenya Statement

August 11, 2016






Pakistan: Law Society of England and Wales condemns the killing and injury of lawyers in Pakistan

August 10, 2016

Law Society president Robert Bourns said:

‘I was shocked and saddened to hear of the death of Bilal Anwar Kasi, former president of the Balochistan Bar Association, and the killing and injury of so many members of the legal profession in Quetta, Pakistan, yesterday. On behalf of the Law Society of England and Wales, we extend our deepest sympathies to the families, friends and colleagues of these lawyers.

‘The Law Society of England and Wales strongly condemns any attacks or threats to members of the legal profession for carrying out their professional duties. The independence of the justice system and the legal profession is integral to upholding the rule of law.’



Pakistan: Quetta: 14 injured in roadside blast near a hospital in Pakistan

August 11, 2016

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At least 14 people were injured when a roadside bomb targeting a judge, exploded near a hospital in Quetta in Pakistan’s restive southwestern Balochistan province, days after a deadly attack killed 74 people, mostly lawyers. Fourteen people were injured in the blast when a vehicle belonging to the Anti-Terrorism Force (ATF) accompanying Justice Zahoor Shahwani’s vehicle was hit at Quetta’s Zarghon Road.

Balochistan Home minister Sarfaraz Bugti said the judge escaped the attack but one of the security vehicles escorting him was damaged,” Balochistan Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti said. The bomb was planted along the side of the road and exploded as the Anti-Terrorism Force (ATF) vehicle passed by.

According to rescue officials, ten civilians and four security officials were injured, with two in critical condition, in the blast near Al Khair Hospital in Balochistan’s provincial capital. The blast also shattered windows of nearby buildings, the Dawn reported. Police spokesman Shahzada Farhat said police officers and passers-by were wounded.