Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte should disavow his threat to target the lawyers of alleged drug dealers and reaffirm the right of criminal suspects to legal counsel and due process of law, Human Rights Watch said today.
“Duterte’s threats against lawyers and human rights defenders constitute a dangerous extension of his abusive ‘war on drugs’ that has already resulted in more than 5,000 killings,” said Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director. “The sinister lesson of Duterte’s first six months in office is that the groups and individuals he publicly identifies as legitimate targets in his drug war all too often end up dead, in high numbers.”
The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute(IBAHRI) strongly condemns the killing of prominent Muslim lawyer U Ko Ni in Myanmar on Sunday 29 January 2017, and has called on the country’s authorities to carry out a thorough and impartial investigation into the slaying of long-time legal adviser to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy (NLD).
IBAHRI Co-Chair Ambassador (ret.) Hans Corell said: ‘The killing of U Ko Ni is not only a tragic loss for Myanmar, but also a very dark day for its legal profession and the rule of law. The IBAHRI wholeheartedly denounces what appears to be a calculated act of murder. Myanmar’s authorities must ensure that the rule of law prevails by carrying out an investigation into his killing and holding a fair and public trial in an independent court, which guarantees that whoever is responsible for this crime is brought to justice. Attacks against the legal profession seriously jeopardise the rule of law and the right of access to justice for all in the country. Our thoughts are with the family, friends and colleagues of the honourable U Ko Ni.’
U Ko Ni was shot at close range in the head by a gunman as he was preparing to leave Yangon International Airport, having just returned from a government-organised visit to Indonesia. A taxi driver who tried to apprehend the gunman as he attempted to flee the scene was also shot, and later died in hospital. A number of other taxi drivers were successful in stopping and detaining the gunman until the police arrived.
IBA Executive Director Mark Ellis commented: ‘The premature death ofU Ko Ni has deprived Myanmar of a citizen who cared deeply about, and was committed to, advancing the rule of law and progressing human rights in his country. He was a founding senior member of the Independent Lawyers’ Association of Myanmar (ILAM), which the IBA supported in its establishment, and was instrumental in working towards bringing together different factions for a successful outcome. The ILAM will stand partly as his legacy as to what can be done when cooperation is paramount in an endeavour.’
U Ko Ni was known in Myanmar particularly for supporting constitutional reform and promoting religious harmony. He was outspoken in his criticism of the NLD for not fielding any Muslim candidates in the 2015 elections.
In a major relief to Senior Counsel Indira Jaising’s NGO, The Lawyer’s Collective, the Bombay High Court passed an interim order de-freezing their domestic accounts. Justice MS Sonak held that the Centre’s allegations of “mixing of foreign contribut…
According to data compiled by ‘Arrested Lawyers Initiative’, 301 lawyers are currently in jail and arrest warrants have been issued by courts about more than 100 lawyers in Turkey. Moreover, 702 lawyers are currently under legal investigation.
Turkish state under the rule of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and AKP government have conducted a relentless campaign against lawyers since failed coup attempt in July 15, 2016. Arrest and detention frenzy have targeted legal defenders beside of other professional across the country. Numbers of lawyers have been detained or arrested in 68 out of Turkey’s 81 provinces. All arrested lawyers have faced with the same accusations of allegedly belonging to a terror group and attempting to overthrow the government.
According to “Arrested Lawyers Initiative’, what is troubling more is the fact that the courts that issued detention warrants also ordered to freeze assets of lawyers, thwarting them from supporting their families.
Among the arrested lawyers there are many prominent figures well-known in Turkish legal circles. The list of arrested lawyers includes current or former presidents of bar associations in various provinces. Head of 10 local or regional bar associations are currently in jail. The names of the heads of Bar Associations are given as follows:
Cameroon’s military tribunal base in the nation’s capital Yaounde is set to begin trial of all recently arrested Anglophone activists.Fears are rife that the arrested intellects together with some detained and yet to be arrested Anglophones might be charged with the newly promulgated and highly criticized 2014 anti-terrorism law. The anti-terrorism law No.2014/028 of 23 December 2014 on the suppression of acts of terrorism in Cameroon states partially that “whoever, acting alone as an accomplice or accessory, commits or threatens to commit an act likely to cause death, endanger physical integrity, cause body injury or material damage, destroy natural resource, the environment or cultural heritage with intent to…intimidate the public, provoke a situation of terror…disrupt the national functioning of public services…create widespread insecurity in the country, shall be punished with a death penalty…”
Those facing trial are;
• Lawyer Felix Agbor Balla – human rights activists and one of the lawyers leading talks with government during the last 3 months.
• Dr. Fontem Neba – University Professor and leader of the teacher’s union in higher education institutions. He had also been part of negotiations with government since October.
• Mr. Penn – staff of CCAST Bambili one of Cameroon’s most well-known secondary school facilities and presumed to be a member of the teachers’ union
• Mr. Bibixy Mancho – a popular radio show host who played an active part in the protests
• Justice Paul Ayah – Former parliamentarian and magistrate, is Deputy Attorney General in Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon.
• Justice Sokem Ngale Mborh – Attorney General for the South West Region.
Cameroon’s opposition leader Kah Walla, has appealed on the Cameroonian public to spread the news of the illegal arrest and prosecution to the world.She writes;
The Law Society of Upper Canada* expresses grave concern about the harassment of lawyer Electra Koutra in Greece.
Electra Koutra is a human rights lawyer who has experienced harassment as a result of her advocacy on behalf of several Syrian refugees.
It has come to our attention that on September 27, 2016, several Syrian refugees between the ages of 13 and 16 were on their way to a cultural centre to take part in a theatrical performance about their lives in Syria when they were intercepted by Greek police and taken into custody on suspicion that they were members of an armed group.
Electra Koutra represented the children and their parents as they attempted to report the incident and file a complaint. When precluded from doing so, she posted a statement on her Facebook page, disclosing that the children had been ill-treated by the police and that their attempt to lodge a complaint had been blocked. The Facebook post went viral and culminated in an order for a criminal pre-investigation into the incident.
Shortly thereafter, Electra Koutra experienced several acts of harassment. She and a colleague were served a court summons in which they were listed as “suspects” in the said case. When they demanded access to the case file, a right granted under Greek law to “suspects”, the summons was re-issued with Electra Koutra and her colleague described as “witnesses”. One day later, two men in civilian clothes – later identified as police officers – broke into her apartment. Electra Koutra reported the incident and requested that the Head of Prosecutors remove her home address from the case file in order to protect her family. Her request was denied. Instead, her request for family protection was added to the case file, resulting in her address being even more publicly available. Additionally, an internal document leaked to the press indicated that the police were increasing security measures to avoid a strike against the police itself in response to Electra Koutra’s report concerning the break-in into her home.