Daily Archives: 25/02/2017

Russia: The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the ongoing harassment of lawyer Bakhrom Khamroev in Russia

February 24, 2017

The Law Society of Upper Canada

The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the ongoing harassment of lawyer Bakhrom Khamroev in Russia.

Bakhrom Khamroev is a human rights lawyer and the head of Erdam, an organization that works to protect Central Asian migrant workers in Russia. He is known for representing persecuted Uzbekistani political refugees.

It has recently come to the Law Society’s attention that on September 29, 2016, 20 armed officers from the Federal Security Service (“FSB”) conducted an eight-hour raid on Bakhrom Khamroev’s home in Moscow, confiscating various documents and technical equipment. He was detained and taken to FSB headquarters where he was questioned about his political viewpoints and his knowledge of two Uzbekistanis who had been charged with terrorism for their alleged involvement in the Islamic political organization “Hizb ut-Tahrir”. He was told he was now a witness in the case against the two Uzbekistanis. Bakhrom Khamroev had previously represented these two individuals on a separate matter. He was later released, but warned that he would be summoned for further questioning.

According to reports, Bakhrom Khamroev has been targeted in the past for his human rights work. Prior to the abovementioned incident, he had been convicted and sentenced to 1.5 years imprisonment on fabricated drug possession charges. He was later released on parole. Additionally, Bakhrom Khamroev has been attacked by both unknown assailants and FSB officers on five separate occasions. While criminal investigations were opened by the Russian authorities for some of the attacks, no suspects were ever identified or brought to justice.

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503528&langtype=1033

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503528&langtype=1036 (FRANCAIS)

Dominican Republic: The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the harassment of lawyer Noemi Mendez in the Dominican Republic

February 24, 2017

The Law Society of Upper Canada

The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the harassment of lawyer Noemi Mendez in the Dominican Republic.

Noemi Mendez is a prominent human rights lawyer known for her advocacy on behalf of migrant workers and Dominicans of Haitian descent. She has represented several individuals affected by the September 2013 judgment of the Constitutional Court which arbitrarily and retroactively deprived generations of people born and raised in the Dominican Republic of their Dominican nationality.

Upon the release of the aforementioned judgment, a number of human rights lawyers who criticized the decision were subjected to threats and other acts of intimidation. The situation has not improved since — human rights lawyers working to overturn the ruling are regularly targeted through smear campaigns, harassment on social media, criminalisation and violent attacks.

According to reports, on December 12, 2016, Noemi Mendez arrived at work to find that the glass entrance door of her office in San Pedro de Macorís had been broken. No valuables appeared to have been taken and nothing seemed to be missing. That said, this damage to her property does not appear to be an isolated incident, as her car had been vandalized just a month prior.

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503539&langtype=1033

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503539&langtype=1036 (FRANCAIS)

Kenya: The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the harassment of lawyer Simon Lilan in Kenya

February 24, 2017

The Law Society of Upper Canada

The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the harassment of lawyer Simon Lilan in Kenya.

It has come to the Law Society’s attention that Kenyan lawyer Simon Lilan received death threats and experienced other forms of harassment as a result of his advocacy on behalf of the late Kenyan politician Mark Too.

According to reports, on the belief that his client Mark Too had been assassinated, Simon Lilan sought and obtained an injunction to halt Mr. Too’s burial until Mr. Too’s body had been examined by independent pathologists. When the injunction was subsequently revoked, Simon Lilan threatened to seek new orders to have the body exhumed. For “[his] stand on the death of Mr. Too”, he reportedly received death threats from “powerful people [who] want to finish [him]”.[1]

The harassment appears to have been so severe and the threat to his safety so tangible that Simon Lilan felt compelled to go into hiding on January 9, 2017. When he came out of hiding on January 20, 2017, he explained that he went into hiding after being followed by two vehicles whose “occupants were not up to any good” and after receiving calls from senior politicians who wanted him to drop the case. The police reportedly did nothing when he turned to them for protection. Relatedly, when his office was burgled on January 17, 2017, the local police stated that their preliminary investigations showed no signs of a break-in. [2]

While in hiding, Simon Lilan sought asylum from foreign embassies and civil rights organizations. His safety and security continue to be at risk.

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503540&langtype=1033

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503540&langtype=1036 (FRANCAIS)

Turkey: The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the detention of Dr. İştar Gözaydın in Turkey

February 24, 2017

The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the detention of Dr. İştar Gözaydın in Turkey.

Dr. İştar Gözaydın is a professor of law and politics and founder of the human rights NGO the Helsinki Citizens Assembly. She is known for her positions against capital punishment and mob violence in Turkey.

The Law Society recently learned that Dr. İştar Gözaydın was taken into custody on December 20, 2016, and formally arrested on suspicion of “being a member of an armed terror organization” on December 28, 2016. The charge is based on the alleged testimony of a secret witness and an intelligence report. Reports indicate that she is currently being detained at Şakran Prison in İzmir Province.

During her first days in detention, Dr. İştar Gözaydın was denied proper access to her lawyer. Although her lawyer was eventually permitted to see her, he has been barred from accessing the investigation file on her case. Additionally, to date, her husband has been refused permission to visit her.

While the investigation into Dr. İştar Gözaydın is based on allegations that she is connected to terrorist organizations, human rights groups believe that her detention is a form of retaliation for her human rights activities. As such, Dr. İştar Gözaydın’s detention is arbitrary and constitutes harassment.

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

Article 16 of the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers states:

http://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/public-statement—the-law-society-of-upper-canada-expresses-grave-concern-about-the-detention-of-dr-itar-gozaydn-in-turkey-614723014.html

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503530&langtype=1036 (FRANCAIS)

Turkey: The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the arrests and detentions of lawyers Seher Acay, Fevzi Adsiz, Ziya Baği and Mahmut Bingöl in Turkey

February 24, 2017

The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the arrests and detentions of lawyers Seher Acay, Fevzi Adsiz, Ziya Baği and Mahmut Bingöl in Turkey.

Seher Acay, Fevzi Adsiz, Ziya Baği and Mahmut Bingöl are all human rights lawyers and members of the Human Rights Association (“IHD”), a Turkish human rights non-governmental organization. They are also members of the Mesopotamia Lawyers Association (“MHD”), which was shut down pursuant to an emergency decree by the Turkish government on November 24, 2016.

The Law Society recently learned that on November 21, 2016, these four lawyers were arrested and taken to Mardin Police Headquarters pursuant to an arbitrary order issued by Public Prosecutor Vural Eker and that the four lawyers remain in detention. During their first five days in detention, they had no access to their lawyers. From thereon, their access to their lawyers was severely limited by the police. In addition, it is reported that the lawyers are being held with five other people in a cell designed for two people and that they have been denied medical check-ups.

According to most recent reports, the police have not yet taken the statements of the four detained lawyers or filed formal charges against them. There is speculation in the local press that their arrests and detentions may be linked to their activities as counsel for the city of Mardin, whose mayor was accused of being linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (the “PKK”) and consequently taken into custody on November 21, 2016.

The Law Society is concerned that the arrests and detentions of lawyers Seher Acay, Fevzi Adsiz, Ziya Baği and Mahmut Bingöl are tied to their human rights work.

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

http://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/public-statement—the-law-society-of-upper-canada-expresses-grave-concern-about-the-arrests-and-detentions-of-lawyers-seher-acay-fevzi-adsiz-ziya-bai-and-mahmut-bingol-in-turkey-614723614.html

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503532 (FRANCAIS)

Nigeria: Murderer of human rights lawyer sentenced to death by hanging

February 24, 2017

Seun Oladapo who murdered a human rights lawyer and social commentator, Kunle Fadipe was on Friday sentenced to death by hanging.

Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye of an Ikeja High Court found Oladapo guilty in all the five counts bordering on murder, armed robbery, assault, possession of dangerous weapons.

Oladapo who stood in the dock with the aid of crutches, was expressionless as the judge declared that he is to die by hanging.

“I hereby find the defendant guilty of all the counts, as the prosecution has proved beyond doubt its case against the defendant.

“The knife with which the murder was carried out is one of the most vicious and dangerous looking knives I have ever seen,” the Judge said.

The sad incident which led to the death of Barrister Fadipe happened on the 3rd of July 2014, when the deceased came back from work around 10pm at his Harmony Estate Duplex, Fagba.

http://tribuneonlineng.com/court-sentences-murderer-human-rights-lawyer-death-hanging/

http://thenationonlineng.net/killer-lawyer-fadipe-sentenced-death/

China: Sustaining attention to human rights violations in China

February 24, 2017

Human Rights Watch

Joint NGO letter to Permanent Representatives of Member and Observer States of the UN Human Rights Council

After another year marked by enforced disappearances, denial of due process, and continued efforts to suppress human rights, we call on your delegation to join with other States to take collective, coordinated action at the 34th session of the UN Human Rights Council to hold China accountable for its human rights record.

One year ago today, the High Commissioner released a statement calling on China to address a wide range of human rights violations. The concerns he raised were echoed by many States at the March 2016 Human Rights Council, including through a strong cross-regional statement delivered on behalf of twelve States.  These States reiterated the High Commissioner’s call for China to uphold its own laws and international commitments, and urged China to release lawyers and other human rights defenders detained for their human rights work.

Human rights defenders, their families, and other activists were encouraged by the strong message of international solidarity sent by the joint statement. The Chinese government, however, seems to have ignored it entirely.  In March 2016, States at the Council raised concerns about the following trends; a year later, the reality on the ground remains unchanged, and in some cases has worsened.

https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/02/24/sustaining-attention-human-rights-violations-china

http://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/public-statement—the-law-society-of-upper-canada-expresses-grave-concern-about-the-detention-of-lawyer-jiang-tianyong-in-china-614723084.html

http://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/public-statement—the-law-society-of-upper-canada-expresses-deep-concern-about-the-licence-suspension-of-lawyer-li-jinxing-in-china-614722754.html