Daily Archives: 13/12/2016

India: Lawyer’s murder: bring all accused to book, says daughter

December 13, 2016

A year has passed since the bodies of artist Hema Upadhyay and her lawyer Haresh Bhambhani were found dumped in a nullah in Kandivli, but the wounds are still fresh for Bhambhani’s family as they struggle to get their lives back on track. Speaking to DNA, Bhambhani’s daughter Anita has said there would be no closure for the family until one of the main accused, Vidyadhar Rajbhar, was tracked down and punished.

Anita has demanded the death penalty for Hema’s husband Chintan Upadhyay, another noted contemporary artist, saying that he was responsible for the “irreparable loss” she was still finding tough to come to terms with.

Speaking to DNA a year after the gruesome murder came to light, Anita rubbished claims by the some of the accused that her father was murdered only because he had accompanied Hema on the fateful day. “If my father was collateral damage, then how were two coffins found in Vidyadhar’s workshop? The police, in fact, have been the ones to tell us that the plan was hatched for both of them. In a conversation that Vidyadhar had with Hema before the murder, in which she was told about Chintan’s clips, she had specifically told Vidyadhar that she would be accompanied by her lawyer, so why would they agree to meet, if they wanted to only murder Hema? They instead said bring your lawyer also,” Anita said.

According to Anita, her father was killed as he was representing Hema in court, and because the needle of suspicion would have pointed directly at Chintan if Hema alone were to have disappeared. Anita also claimed, “Pradeep Rajbhar, an accused in the case, has said in his statement before a magistrate that Vidyadhar had sent photographs of Hema and my father’s bodies through WhatsApp to Chintan. This nails Chintan’s role in the case.”






OIAD: El OIAD inicia una campaña para alertar sobre la situación de abogados en riesgo



El Observatorio Internacional de Abogados en Riesgo (OIAD), con motivo de la celebración, el 10 de diciembre, del Día Mundial de los Derechos Humanos, ha puesto en marcha una campaña para sensibilizar a los abogados y a la opinión pública sobre la situación de abogados y abogadas cuya vida, libertad o práctica profesional están amenazadas debido al ejercicio legítimo de su profesión.

Todos los días, del 1 al 10 de diciembre, el OIAD publicará la imagen de un abogado amenazado que, además de la diversidad de los tipos de amenaza, ilustra también la universalidad de la misma.

El Observatorio Internacional de Abogados en Riesgo (OIAD) está formado por el Consejo General de la Abogacía Española, el Conseil National des Barreaux (Francia), el Colegio de Abogados de París y el Consiglio Nazionale Forense (Italia).

El Observatorio apela a los abogados y ciudadanos para que participan en la defensa del estado de derecho y las libertades fundamentales en todo el mundo, mediante la difusión de estas imágenes e informaciones.

La movilización de la sociedad civil es esencial para que estos abogados no queden en el olvido y que las instituciones o individuos responsables de la persecución sepan que sus ataques no quedarán en la indiferencia y la impunidad. Los abogados son a menudo la última línea de defensa de aquellos cuyos derechos son violados y libertades reprimidas. No los deje solos.


UIA: Activity Report – Protection of Lawyers – 2015/2016

December 8, 2016

Logo UIA

Threats, intimidation and harassment against lawyers engaged in the defence of human rights and sensitive cases, including those that are judicial in nature; the identification of lawyers with their clients or with their clients’ cases; the wrongful exploitation of professional licence delivery or renewal systems; attacks on the freedom of expression of lawyers and the independence of bars – these are some of the situations that the Protection of Lawyers’ Team has been followed closely in 2015-2016 across the world.

Please see below the 2015-2016 Activity Report .


http://www.uianet.org/fr/content/rapport-dactivit%C3%A9s-d%C3%A9fense-de-la-d%C3%A9fense-20152016 (FRANCAIS)

http://www.uianet.org/es/content/informe-de-actividades-defensa-de-la-d%C3%A9fensa-20152 (ESPANOL)

China: The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the sentencing of human rights lawyer Xia Lin in China

December 12, 2016

The Law Society of Upper Canada

The Law Society of Upper Canada* expresses grave concern about the sentencing of human rights lawyer Xia Lin in China.

Xia Lin is a prominent human rights lawyer whose clients include Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, fellow human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang, and human rights defender Guo Yushan. On September 22, 2016, Xia Lin was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

In November 2014, Xia Lin was detained by Beijing police. He was charged with fraudulently obtaining 10 million yuan – later reduced to 4.8 million yuan. Xia Lin’s trial commenced in June 2016. It is our understanding that the charges against Xia Lin were based on allegations that he had coerced individuals to lend him money to pay off gambling debts. Xia Lin pleaded not guilty to the charges and the individuals he is alleged to have borrowed money from have not filed criminal or civil suits against him.

The Law Society is deeply concerned about Xia Lin’s case. Reports indicate that since July 2015, approximately 250 Chinese human rights lawyers and activists have been questioned, detained or charged. We believe strongly that lawyers should be able to exercise their legitimate duties without fear for their lives, for their liberty and for their security.

The Law Society of Upper Canada urges the government of the People’s Republic of China to comply with China’s obligations under international human rights laws, including the United Nations’ Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.



http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503405&langtype=1036 (FRANCAIS)




Egypt: Joint Letter – The silencing of Egypt’s civil society: the EU must uphold its policy commitments

December 12, 2016

Front Line Defenders

On 12 December 2016, 16 international organisations signed a joint letter addressed to EU authorities (Mr. Donald Tusk, President of the European Council; the EU Member State Ministers of Foreign Affairs; and Ms. Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission), regarding the silencing of Egypt’s civil society.

We, the 16 undersigned civil society organisations, urge you to take immediate measures to address Egypt’s escalating repression and silencing of civil society organizations, including prominent Egyptian human rights defenders (HRDs). In particular, your presence in Cairo for the 20 December EU-Arab League ministerial-level dialogue provides a key opportunity to raise these concerns at a high level with Egypt.

The new law on civic associations (NGOs), drafted without consultation of independent civil society, adopted by Egypt’s Parliament and referred to the Presidency on 29 November 2016 for ratification. This law thoroughly violates the constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of association and Egypt’s many international legal commitments to uphold it. UNSR Mr. Maina Kiai warned that the bill “aims to destroy Egypt’s foundation for peaceful, civic engagement at its very roots. If it becomes law, it would devastate civil society not only in the short term, but possibly for generations to come.”

This coincides with the imposition of unconstitutional travel bans on five HRDs in November 2016, including WHRDs Ms. Azza Soliman, founder of the Center for Egyptian Women’s Legal Aid (CEWLA) and Dr. Aida Seif al-Dawla, founder of Al-Nadim Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence. Ms Soliman’s personal bank account and that of her law firm, Lawyers for Justice and Peace, have been frozen. Ms Soliman was arrested from her home on December 7 and taken for interrogation in the ongoing investigation into the foreign funding of local NGOs, known as Case no. 173/2011; this was the first arrest warrant executed against an NGO leader in Egypt.