Monthly Archives: December 2016

China: Amid China’s Crackdown On Human Rights Lawyers, One Woman Fights On For The Future

December 31, 2016

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The year 2016 ends in China amid an unprecedented crackdown on human rights attorneys. But the Communist Party’s intimidation tactics sometimes have the opposite effect.


Turkey: Arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Dr. Istar Gozaydin

December 30, 2016

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TUR 009 / 1216 / OBS 111

Arbitrary detention /

Denial of access to lawyers /

Judicial harassment


December 30, 2016

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Turkey.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Dr. İştar Gözaydın, professor of law and politics and founder of the human rights NGO the Helsinki Citizens Assembly. She was also the Head of Department of Sociology at Gediz University, Izmir Province, until she was relieved of her functions on July 21, 2016, when the University was closed down under the State of Emergency[1].

According to the information received, on December 28, 2016, Dr. İştar Gözaydın was formally arrested on suspicion of “being a member of an armed terror organisation” on the basis of alleged testimonies from a secret witness and an intelligence report. Dr. İştar Gözaydın had been taken into custody from her house on December 20, 2016 at 6 am by the police of Financial and Organised Crimes Department of the Directorate General of Security with an arrest warrant issued by İzmir Prosecutor, and was brought on the same day to İstanbul by plane. She was detained at the remand centre of the police until December 28, when she was returned to Izmir by plane.

She has since been detained at Şakran prison, İzmir Province. Her arbitrary detention and judicial harassment are part of the FETÖ/PDY (Fethullahist Terror Organisation/ Parallel State Structure) Investigation launched in 2015 by İzmir Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office and Organised Crime Bureau Prosecutor’s Office into Gediz University, targeting several academics, following July’s failed coup. The investigation is based on allegations that these academics are either members, or connected to terrorist organisations.

Furthermore, Dr. İştar Gözaydın was denied proper access to her lawyer during the first days of her detention. Indeed, although her lawyer was able to meet her on the second day of her detention, he was not able to access the investigation file, as it was restricted. In addition, the police took her statement only on the fifth day of her detention. Furthermore, to date her husband has been unable to visit her while in detention. (TURKISH) (TURKISH)

India: Bastar Police Continue Their Vendetta Against Women Human Rights Defenders

December 30, 2016


Clearly rattled by the mounting body of evidence of blatant violations of the rule of law and Constitutional rights under the cover of anti-Maoist operations, the Bastar police has launched a no-holds-barred attempt to silence all those who are calling them to account.

Advocate Shalini Gera and her colleagues of JagLAG who were in Jagdalpur in connection with a case of false encounter of a young Adivasi boy (1), were confronted on the night of 27 December by a police team which entered the dharamshala where they were staying and accused them of trying to exchange demonetised notes on behalf of the Maoists. Despite the fact that they were following up on an order by the Chhattisgarh HC for exhumation and a second post-mortem in the case and their accommodation had been arranged by the office of the Divisional Commissioner, Adv Shalini and her colleagues were ordered to come to the police station for interrogation. Attempts were also made to forcibly search their rooms and belongings. When asked to produce a warrant, the SI in charge of the team became even more aggressive and abusive. It took a personal call from the Divisional Commissioner to the SI to force the police to back off.

A day later when she was back at her office in Bilaspur,Adv Shalini received a call on her mobile from the SP Bastar, Shri RN Dash. Shri Dash was calling from a private number which was later identified as belonging to one Farukh Ali, a member of AGNI, a vigilante group that enjoys the patronage of the Bastar police.

Vietnam: Vietnam Extends Detention for Human Rights Attorney

December 28, 2016

Nguyen Van Dai displays his face after he was beaten by masked assailants in Nghe An province, Dec. 6, 2015.

Vietnamese authorities extended human rights attorney and activist Nguyen Van Dai’s time in prison until April, marking the third time the government has added time to his detention, RFA’s Vietnamese Service has learned.

Dai’s lawyer Ha Huy Son posted the government document extending his prison time on Facebook, but told RFA he has little information beyond that.

“I rely on the Supreme Prosecutorate. Whenever they give me the permit I will be able to meet Dai,” he said. “They are following the Bill on Legal Prosecution of Vietnam.”

Dai, 46, was taken into custody last December after leaving his Hanoi home to meet with European Union representatives who were researching human rights issues in the country.

Plainclothes officers stopped Dai before he got to the meeting and took him back to his home, where a police camera faces the front door and authorities monitor everyone who comes and goes. They confiscated three computers and USB sticks and later charged Dai with “conducting propaganda against the state” under Vietnam’s Article 88.

Human rights groups claim Article 88 is used to imprison peaceful activists in the one-party communist nation.

The arrest came soon after masked assailants beat him and other activists in what he said at the time was a reprisal for his work educating the Vietnamese people on human rights.

India: AIADMK cadres assault suspended MP Sasikala Pushpa’s husband in Chennai

December 29, 2016

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AIADMK cadres on Thuesday attacked and injured the husband of expelled MP Sasikala Pushpa, who was accused of trying to create a law-and-order problem ahead of tomorrow’s General Council meeting to elect a new General Secretary. While initial reports suggested that the attacked man, who was seen bleeding profusely, was Pushpa’s lawyer, police later clarified he was her husband Lingeswara Thilagan, who has been detained for interrogation. Police said no other person was injured.

AIADMK supporters rained blows on Thilagan, who had stayed put there despite being asked to leave, resulting in bleeding injuries on his nose. He was rescued by police who removed him from the vicinity for first aid, even as angry men and women were seen swearing at him.

AIADMK workers started gathering at the party headquarters following information that Pushpa, earlier expelled by Jayalalithaa for anti-party activities, could come there ahead of tomorrow’s General Council, possibly to seek an invitation to attend it. It was felt that she could even try to contest for the top post.

China: Rights Website Founder Formally Arrested For Subversion in China’s Hubei

December 28, 2016

Civil Rights and Livelihood Watch website founder Liu Feiyue is shown in an undated photo.

Authorities in the central Chinese province of Hubei have formally arrested Liu Feiyue, the founder of a rights website, on subversion charges, fellow activists and relatives told RFA on Wednesday.

Liu Feiyue, who founded the Civil Rights and Livelihood Watch website, was detained on Nov. 17 under criminal investigation for “incitement to subvert state power,” by police in Hubei’s Suizhou city and placed under formal arrest on Dec. 23.

His wife confirmed the news when contacted by RFA on Wednesday, but declined to comment further.

“They haven’t told us anything for certain; they just told us to wait,” she said.

Meanwhile, detained rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong has been denied permission to see his attorney by authorities in the central province of Hunan following his detention last month on suspicion of fraud and “illegal possession of state secrets.”

According to Jiang’s defense lawyer Chen Jinxue, the case is being handled by state security police in Hunan’s provincial capital, Changsha.

Jiang, who has been incommunicado since Nov. 21 during a trip to Hunan’s provincial capital Changsha, is currently under “coercive measures,” which allow for a suspect to be held in secret for up to six months where national security-related crimes are claimed by police.

He is being investigated for “fraudulent use of identification,” “illegal possession of state secrets,” and “illegally providing state secrets.” (FRANCAIS)

Roots and Prospects of Xi’s Cultural Policy


Turkey: How a Top International Judge Was Trampled by Turkey’s Purge

December 29, 2016

Photos of Aydin Akay and his family at their home in Turkey.

Aydin Akay is confined to a prison cell that holds four beds and six men.

In September, Mr. Akay, 66 years old, a judge and internationally known defense attorney, was taken from his three-story island home to Block C of Turkey’s maximum-security Sincan Prison outside Ankara, where he is held as a terror suspect.

The grounds for his arrest show how far the government has gone in its voracious hunt for traitors after the summer’s failed coup: Mr. Akay downloaded a message app available from Google Play and Apple’s App Store.

Turkey’s intelligence service believes he and hundreds of other detainees used the app to hide membership in a secretive Turkish religious group, led by U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blames for the failed overthrow.

About 40,000 people have been arrested. The first wave swept up mostly military personnel and civil servants who allegedly participated in the coup attempt or had ties to Mr. Gulen. Mr. Gulen denies any involvement.

Turkey: OHP Statement

December 28, 2016

On December 13, 2016, 210 members and administrators of Democratic Party of Peoples were detained in Urfa. Three of them are mayors, and nine are lawyers who are members of the Urfa Bar Association. Names of detained lawyers are Özkan Gören, Bülent Özışık, Velat İzol, Cemo Tüysüz, Gülay Koca, Serdar Gökhan, Mevlüt Güneş, Aslan Veysanoğlu and Sait Dağ. Furthermore Urfa is a border town; therefore, there are human rights activists who work on immigrants among the detained group.
In the last period, there has been no incident in Urfa that would require collective detention.
On 19-20 December 2016, the people who were detained met Veysi Eski and Bülent Aşa who are members of the İstanbul Law Society with special permission from the public prosecutor. In their interviews with their lawyers, the suspects declared:
The reasons for their detention, the charges against them and their rights have not been explained to detained suspects neither at the time of capture nor after detention.
While female suspects were taken to the police station, the others were taken to closed sports hall. Currently, about 300 people are kept in the closed sports hall together with the previously detained suspects. About 300 people in custody have used only one toilet in closed sports hall and these people are not able to take shower in the toilet.
The suspects are not routinely taken to the health checkup. Every 5 days the medical doctor comes to the sports hall. The doctor has not examined the suspects, he rather has asked to the suspects behind the barriers weather they have any health problems. Then he left the sports hall. Consequently there is no health check for the suspects.
The suspects were able to have an interview with their lawyers after 5 days of detention. The interviews were result of a special permission from the prosecutor’s office. In that sense, they also have been detained from the right to speak to a lawyer for 5 days before any interview took place. During the interviews, the police were present and the interviews were monitored by the police.

Article 91 of the Criminal Procedure Code states that the detention period can not exceed 24 hours from the moment of capture, and that it be extended by up to only 3 more days in obligatory cases. However, with the Decree Law No. 667 of 23 July 2016, which was published on the grounds of the state of emergency, the maximum length of detention has been increased to 30 days for people tried in the scope of the Anti-Terror Law (TMK). This issue leads to the deprivation of the freedom for arbitrary people.
Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) states that everyone arrested or detained shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release pending trial. HDP members and administrators have been kept under surveillance for 10 days arbitrarily without any justification. In that sense, Article 5 of the Convention is violated and persons are deprived of their liberty. Moreover, these people are not aware of accusation they are charged with.
Article 149 of the Criminal Procedure Code states that suspects or accused persons may benefit from the support of one or more lawyers at every stage of the investigation and prosecution. In the Decree Law No. 668, it is stated that; the right of the suspects tried in the scope of the Atni- Terör Law to meet with the lawyer may be restricted for 5 days, if there is a decision of the public prosecutor. With the Decree No. 676 dated October 29, 2016, this period has decreased to 1 day. However, in practice, the suspects have been still prevented from contacting the lawyer for 5 days and so the law has been violated. Moreover, people who were held in Urfa were also able to see their lawyers 5 days after receiving the special permission from the prosecutor’s office.
It is a violation of rights that the detained people can not access a lawyer for 5 days and can not be examined by the doctor. Conditions such as not being able to access the lawyer and not being examined by a doctor are also serious concerns in terms of torture and ill treatment. People in custody need to talk to the doctor in such a way that the police will not hear and preferably not see them. But there is not any healthy and close communication with doctor regarding the suspects in Urfa. The lawyers were also interviewed in police custody.
In Article 17 of the Turkish Constitution, torture and ill treatment are prohibited and in Article 94 of the Turkish Penal Code, torture and ill treatment are counted as crimes. Article 3 of the ECHR also prohibits torture and ill treatment. It is torture and ill treatment that all about 300 suspects are forced to use the same toilet, take a shower in the toilet, remain in the sports hall with arbitrary reasons for 10 days. The suspects are deprived of the right to sleep under appropriate conditions supplied by adequate nutrition and clean air and.
According to Article 1 of the 1987 European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment:
“The Committee shall, by means of visits, examine the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty with a view to strengthening, if necessary, the protection of such persons from torture and from inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
In accordance with the said Convention, we demand urgent visit to Urfa and negotiation with the suspects who declare that they have been tortured.

(source Facebook)

India: Indian Association of People’s Lawyers Statement on December 25, 2016 arrests

December 26, 2016

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The Indian Association of People’s Lawyers (affiliated to the IAPL – Indian Association of People’s Lawyers) condemns the arrest of Telangana Democratic Forum advocates, democrats and journalists by the Chhattisgarh police on 25th December, 2016 at Dummagudam village of Bhadrachalam District of Telangana. Among those arrested include Ravi Balla (42) and Prabhakar Chikkudu (48), both Advocates of the Hyderabad High Court and active members of IAPL. They were planning to visit Chhattisgarh to enquire into complaints of human rights violations suffered by adivasis villagers of Chhattisgarh at the hands of security forces.

The other activists and journalist arrested include Durga Prasad (36) of Hyderabad, R. Laxmaiyya (45), secretary of Adiwasi Tudem Dubba, Khammam, journalists B. Prabhakar Rao (52) and Rajendra Prasad (28) from Hyderabad and Mohammad Nazim (27), research scholar Osmania University. As per a statement by N Narayandeo, general secretary of Civil Liberties Committee, Telangana the seven had left Hyderabad on December 24 and were detained on December 25 in Telangana. Telangana police later handed over the team members to Chhattisgarh police. All of them have been charged under Sections 8(1), 8(2), 8(3) and 8(5) of the draconian Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, 2005 (CSPSA). They have been produced in Sukma court on 26th December and have been now sent to Sukma jail.

The Chhattisgarh government, in collusion with the neighboring State governments, has once again arrested Human Rights activists and lawyers, especially those who have time been instrumental in exposing the numerous fake encounters and violations by the administration. The Indian Association of Peoples’ Lawyers calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Ravi BallaPrabhakar Chikkudu and the other five activists and journalists jailed.

(source IAPL – Indian Association of People’s Lawyers Facebook)

Pakistan: Teen killed over old dispute

December 25, 2016

Unidentified gunmen shot at and killed a lawyer at his office yesterday, a private yesterday.

The gunmen stormed into the office of Habibullah on Shalimar Link Road and fired a volley of bulltest at him, killing him on the spot, the channel reported.

Police reached the crime scene and collected forensic evidence. According to them, they were investing the matter and a search for the killers was underway.