On March 30, the CCBE is organising, in
conjunction with ProtectDefenders.eu,
a workshop entitled “How to improve
the protection of threatened lawyers
worldwide? Practical tools from the EU
Human Rights Defenders mechanism”.
The objective of the workshop is to
present the online platform for the
protection of lawyers/human rights
defenders and its added value, and to
share information about the different
types of support which are available
for threatened lawyers (emergency
helpline, financial assistance, training,
temporary relocation…). The target
audience is the CCBE network “Defence
of the Defenders” i.e. the Bars and Law
Societies and International/European
lawyers’ organisations active in the
support of endangered lawyers. Human
Rights NGOs active in the support of
human rights defenders are also invited
For more information or to register,
please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Daily Archives: 03/03/2017
CCBE: How to improve the protection of threatened lawyers worldwide? Practical tools from the EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism
On March 30, the CCBE is organising, in
March 2, 2017
Following the sweeping “709” crackdown on dozens of rights lawyers and activists in July 2015, at least three lawyers remain in detention without having been tried: Xie Yang, Li Heping, and Wang Quanzhang. Lawyer Jiang Tianyong disappeared in November 2016 and is being held on suspicion of “leaking state secrets.” Details of abuse and mistreatment of detainees have come to light in recent months, including an account of torture of Xie Yang that he provided to his lawyers in late 2016. This week, several family members of detained lawyers have issued an open letter to foreign political leaders detailing mistreatment of their loved ones in prison, including those who have since been released. China Change has translated the letter:
The majority of the lawyers and citizens targeted in the 709 arrests were placed in secret detention facilities known as “residential surveillance in a designated place” for six months, during which time they were tortured. Following is a summary of the four main categories of torture they were subjected to.
1) Forced consumption of drugs. Whether the internees were in good health or not, they were all made to take medication. The most common were drugs, so was it claimed, to treat high blood pressure. Other common drugs included tranquilizers or barbiturates of various sorts, as well as antipsychotic drugs. […]
2) Marathon interrogation sessions and sleep deprivation. Wearying interrogation sessions became practically mandatory for 709 detainees. They were regularly called in for questioning and prevented from sleeping. […]
3) Beatings, leg torture, and water dungeons. Being slugged was a daily occurrence. Worse was torture of the legs applied by guards. The prisoner, sitting on the ground, would have their legs forced onto a metal bar elevated about a foot off the ground. Another bar would be dropped across their thighs, and then someone would sit on top of it. If the victim still didn’t confess, another helper would add weight, causing excruciating pain. […]
4) Threats to the lives, or freedom, of family members. The lives and freedom of prisoners’ wives and sons have been threatened. One of the prisoner’s son was taken into custody by public security officials, who threatened to formally arrest him if the prisoner didn’t confess; on other occasions, the father and brother of prisoners were arrested and held as long as the prisoner refused to confess. […] [Source]
The letter also provides details about the abuse suffered by Xie Yang, who was charged in January with “inciting subversion,” but has not yet been tried:
March 1, 2017
They said they wanted to cut off his head and tear his heart out of his chest.
The car Alfred Lahai Brownell was traveling in was stopped by a roadblock and surrounded by 150 men wielding guns and machetes, “all kinds of weapons,” Brownell remembers. The men were members of a security force allegedly hired by palm oil company Golden Veroleum Liberia. They were drunk, had lit a fire and were dancing around the vehicle, breaking into it and slashing its tires.
“I prayed to God,” Brownell says, reliving the nightmare that occurred in his native Liberia in 2014.
Brownell and about 100 other attorneys and environmental advocates who are partners of the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (ELAW) came to Eugene for the nonprofit’s annual meeting shortly before this week’s University of Oregon’s March 2-5 Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC).
This year, ELAW communications director Maggie Keenan says a key focus of the gathering is “defending the defenders.”
While the group has always supported its international array of attorneys, scientists and advocates, Keenan says there has been an uptick in attacks on ELAW partners around the world, and ELAW is working to improve the personal, digital and organizational security of its grassroots environmental lawyers.
From Africa to Mexico to the Philippines, ELAW and other environmental attorneys have been assaulted, arrested and murdered.