Daily Archives: 29/11/2016

Cuba: Human rights lawyers under threat in Cuba

November 21, 2016

Members of Cubalex, a Havana-based organization of human rights lawyers, have been subjected to months of harassment and intimidation by the Cuban authorities for their work.

Progressively since September, Cuban authorities have intimidated members of Cubalex (Legal Information Center), a non-government organization, not recognized by the Cuban authorities, which provides free legal and human rights advice in Havana, the capital.

On 23 September, according to its director, Laritza Diversent, authorities searched Cubalex’s centre of operation without warrant, confiscated a number of laptops and documents, and forced at least one woman to undress. The provincial prosecutor in Havana provided notice to Cubalex that it was under a tax investigation.

According to Cubalex, since then, state prosecutors have summoned at least two members of the organization for questioning. Cubalex stated that the interviews, which reportedly lasted up to one hour and 45 minutes, were filmed, leading members to believe that the authorities were seeking information to criminalize activities of the organization.

According to Cubalex, authorities have also questioned people who received advice and information from their centre.

Cubalex’s director reported that she has been stopped and questioned a number of times at the airport during her recent trips. She believes her home, which provides a base for Cubalex’s activities, is under surveillance. One of Cubalex’s members, Julio Ferrer Tamayo, reported being strip searched and detained during the search of Cubalex on 23 September and remains in custody.






Egypt: BHRC calls on Egypt to reverse travel bans imposed on Azza Soliman, Malek Adly and other human rights defenders

November 29, 2016

In a formal statement of concern published today, the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales has called on the Egyptian government to lift travel bans and asset-freezing orders imposed on human rights activists Azza Soliman, Malek Adly and others.

BHRC’s statement follows news that Ms. Soliman (a prominent women’s rights lawyer and co-founder of the Center for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance) has been banned from leaving Egypt, despite the lack of any formal legal process or prior notification, or reasons given for the ban. On 21 November, Ms. Soliman was informed that her personal assets and those of her law firm had also been frozen by the government, again without any prior notification or summoning for investigation.

These restrictions form part of an ongoing campaign by the Egyptian government to harass, intimidate and undermine the work of human rights defenders. Other lawyers and activists targeted include:

  • Malek Adly, a human rights lawyer and director of Lawyers Network at the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR), banned from travelling abroad with no notice or reasons given.  Mr. Adly was released on 25 August 2016, having been held in solitary confinement for 115 days in contravention of international law.
  • Aida Seif El Dawla, co-founder of the Nadeem Centre for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence, who was stopped as she prepared to board a flight to Tunisia to attend a conference for NGOs on victims of violence.
  • Gamal Eid, director of the Arab Network for Human Rights Information, Mohammed Zaree, Cairo office director of the Cairo Institution for Human Rights, and Ahmed Ragheb, founder of the National Community for Human Rights and Law, who have been subjected to freezes on their personal assets and those of the organisations they work for.


The Philippines: Police still facing blank wall on killing of Kerwin’s lawyer

November 26, 2016

The killing of Kerwin Espinosa’s lawyer last August 22, 2016 in this city is still a mystery and investigators are still facing a blank wall on the incident.

Tacloban City , Leyte Map (Courtesy of Google Maps)

Tacloban City Police Office Acting City Director Sr.Supt. Rolando Bade told Manila Bulletin that after more than two months after the killing of Atty. Rogelio Bato Jr., 48, they are still conducting a follow up investigation into the brutal killing of the lawyer.

Bato, who just came from a court hearing, was driving his service vehicle when ambushed at a busy area in Sitio Lumbang, Brgy. Calanipawan by unidentified men on board a pickup truck and a motorcycle. Killed in the same incident was a 17-year-old girl who was with him in the vehicle.

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), Leyte chapter through its President Patrick Santos condemned the ambush slaying of the lawyer.

Other colleagues of Atty.Bato, who also denounced the ambush, said they believe it was a case of extrajudicial killing as he has no known enemy.

Police still facing blank wall on killing of Kerwin’s lawyer

China: The disappearance of lawyer Jiang Tianyong for over 6 days│A statement by the Chinese Lawyers and their families

November 29, 2016

The renowned human rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong could not be contacted after he told his wife Jin Bianling, at around 22h on 21 November, 2016, that he had bought the D940 train ticket to return to Beijing West Station from Changsha South Station. By the night of 27 November, Jiang has disappeared for more than 6 days.

It is reported that Jiang went to Changsha to visit Professor Chen Guiqiu, wife of lawyer Xie Yang who has been arrested and detained. During that time, he also went to the Changsha Detention Centre with Chen and the two defence lawyers of Xie’s to follow up on the issues of Xie’s right to meet with his lawyers.

Lawyer Jiang has been a veteran defender of human rights on the front line since he practised law. He has handled and taken part in various famous human rights defense cases and actions, and as a result he got his license unlawfully revoked by the authorities. In view of his past experiences being enforced disappeared which led to his hearing impairment in the left ear and the torture that broke 8 of his ribs, we are deeply worried and are rendering the case our paramount concern. We urge that.

1. We urge respective public security bureau to immediately launch an investigation into the case of Jiang’s disappearance.

On 23 November, the representative of Jiang’s family went to the lawyer’s native town to report his disappearance to the Tongbai Road police station under the Zhengzhou public security bureau. But but the police officers refused to take up the case claiming that it was not under their jurisdiction. Since Jiang had travelled between Hunan and Beijing and by taking trains, the case should have involved 2 geographical locations and 3 administrations. We hence urge all relevant authorities to inquire into the case of Jiang’s missing.

2. If relevant authorities have taken mandatory measures against lawyer Jiang, we demand that the case-handling organ should immediately notify his family in writing as the law provides, and ensure his basic right of access to defence lawyers.

Considering the fact that Jiang went to Changsha to visit lawyer Xie Yang’s family and Xie is a defendant in 709 crackdown, we strongly suspected that Jiang’s disappearance is a result of the administrative detention or the mandatory criminal measures imposed by on him by the authorities. But even if this is the case, we still urge that lawyer Jiang’s family should be immediately notified so as to avoid unnecessary anxieties of the part of the family and the society.

3. We will definitely not accept it at all if lawyer Jiang is put under administrative detention or criminal measures simply because he went to visit the family members of his fellow counterpart or that he had accompanied them to enquire on the matter of right to meet defense counsel, and we will demand for his immediate release.

27th November, 2016
Co-signed by 56 lawyers and 4 709 families

Jin Bianling, wife of Jiang Tianyong
Chen Guiqiu, 709 family
Li Wenzu, 709 family
Wang Qiaoling, 709 family
Yuan shan shan, 709 family

Cai Ying
Ceng Yi
Chang Boyang
Chen Jiangang
Chen Jinhua
Chen Jinxue
Chen Yixuan
Ding Jiaxi
Ding Xikui
Dong Qianyong
Fu Ailing
Ge Wenxiu
Ji Zhongjiu
Jiang Yuanmin
Li Baiguang
Li Fangping
Li Jinxing
Li Jinglin
Li Weida
Li Yongheng
Li Yuhan
Liang Xiaojun
Lin Qilei
Liu Shihui
Liu Shuqing
Liu Wei
Liu Zhengqing
Lu Tingge
Luo Qian
Lu Fangzhi
Ma Lianshun
Meng Meng
Qu Yuan
Ren Quanniu
Shu Xiangxin
Sui Muqing
Tan Chenshou
Tan Yongpei
Tang Jitian
Teng Biao
Tong Chaoping
Wang Qingpeng
Wang Qiushi
Wang Zhenjiang
Wen Haibo
Wen Donghai
Wu Kuiming
Xu Hongwei
Yu Quan
Yu Wensheng
Zhang Hai
Zhang Lei
Zhang Zhongshi
Zheng Enchong
Zhong Jinhua
Zou Lihui
Lin Liguo
Wang Lei
Xie Liusheng

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


China: Fears Grow Over Fate of ‘Disappeared’ Chinese Rights Lawyer

November 28, 2016

Rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong, who went missing on Nov. 21, 2016, after meeting relatives of jailed lawyers, in an undated photo.

Fears are growing for the safety of top Chinese human rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong, who went missing, believed detained, last week.

Jiang, 45, has been incommunicado since he traveled to Hunan’s provincial capital Changsha a week ago to meet with relatives of lawyers detained in last year’s nationwide crackdown.

U.S.-based legal scholar Teng Biao said Jiang is in poor health with very high blood pressure, as well as being at risk of torture.

“We are extremely worried and concerned about the possibility that he could suffer torture or other forms of inhumane treatment [at the hands of the authorities],” Teng told RFA.

“I think the authorities have likely got him under surveillance … I’m certain he has been kidnapped by them; that’s without doubt,” he said.

“The government is always using these kinds of underhand mafia tactics on lawyers and rights activists,” he said.

More than 60 lawyers have issued a statement calling on the authorities to investigate Jiang’s “disappearance” after he failed to make the D940 express train from Shandong back to Beijing on Nov. 21.




China Must Release Jiang Tianyong, Liu Feiyue & Huang Qi, Honor Commitment Made at UN to Protect Rights

Colombia: 2014 Caravana of Lawyers Delegation – Cali/Valle del Cauca Report | Report

June 16, 2015

2014 Caravana of Lawyers Delegation – Cali/Valle del Cauca Report, International Colombia Caravana, June 2015. Report of the Fourth International Colombia Caravana investigation of dangers faced by lawyers and other human rights defenders in Cali and the department of Valle del Cauca area including murder, unlawful detention and suppression of dissent and labour rights activism. LRWC director Heather Neun was part of the Cali delegation.

Colombia: 2014 Caravana of Lawyers Delegation – Cali/Valle del Cauca Report | Report