Daily Archives: 19/03/2017

Rebels with a cause: Africa’s whistleblowers need urgent protection

March 10, 2017

John Githongo, former Kenyan investigative journalist

A group of activists, lawyers and artists have launched a platform to help citizen watchdogs in often dangerous situations

In many African countries, the secretive and self-serving deeds of political and business elites have come to light thanks only to whistleblowers.

In Kenya, former journalist John Githongo exposed fraudulent military equipment deals and other swindles in a series of explosive exposures; Abdullahi Hussein secretly filmed human rights atrocities in Ethiopia; Jean-Jacques Lumumba, a Congolese banker, shed light on serious financial embezzlement involving the ruling Kabila family.

Not just in Africa but worldwide, citizens are becoming aware of the dark and oppressive political, economic and financial powers being exercised over their daily lives. Thanks to the revelations of whistleblowers, we can better fight back.

But as the source of this information, whistleblowers are often the first victims of their own disclosures. High-security prisons, forced exile, endless legal proceedings, death threats and other reprisals turn these defenders of the public interest into public enemies.




Iran : Rassemblement de solidarité pour le Nowrouz iranien

Image may contain: 3 people, close-up

Mardi, le 21 mars, 2017 à 12h

Avenue Franklin Roosevelt, 1050 Bruxelles, Belgique

A l’occasion du Nowrouz iranien et en l’honneur des nombreux prisonniers en Iran qu’Amnesty soutient, nous vous invitons à un rassemblement de solidarité devant l’ambassade de la République Islamique d’Iran ce mardi 21 mars.

Les autorités iraniennes détiennent impunément de nombreux prisonniers dont Ahmadreza Djalali, universitaire iranien actuellement en grève de la faim, Narges Mohammadi, défenseure iranienne des droits humains condamnée à 16 ans d’emprisonnement et Hamid Babaei, prisonnier d’opinion qui souffre de problèmes de santé très sérieux.

Malheureusement, les prisonniers en Iran soutenus par Amnesty sont nombreux et Ahmadreza, Narges et Hamid ne sont pas des cas isolés. Ce rassemblement de solidarité permet ainsi de réitérer notre soutien à Arash Sadeghi, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliff, Keywan Karim, Ali Shariati, …et tous les autres.

Aucun d’entre eux ne pourra célébrer Nowrouz avec ses amis et sa famille. En signe de solidarité, rassemblons-nous pour leur montrer notre soutien.

Nous vous attendons nombreux !

{{Rendez-vous devant l’ambassade de la République Islamique d’Iran : Avenue Franklin Roosevelt 15, 1050 Bruxelles}}

(https://www.facebook.com/events/1506489432694413/ Amnesty International Belgique francophone)



Tajikistan: Jailed Tajik Human Rights Lawyer’s Sentence Extended To 25 Years

March 16, 2017

Human rights lawyer Buzurgmehr Yorov

Judicial authorities in Tajikistan have sentenced prominent human rights lawyer Buzurgmehr Yorov, who is serving a 23-year prison sentence, to an additional two years behind bars.

Yorov’s lawyer, Mavluda Mamatqulova, told RFE/RL on March 16 that the Supreme Court found her client guilty of contempt of court and insulting a government official on March 15 and sentenced him the same day.

Yorov’s wife, Zarina Nabieva, told RFE/RL that her husband will appeal the ruling.

Yorov was sentenced to 23 years in prison in October, after the Dushanbe City Court found him guilty on charges of issuing public calls for the overthrow of the government and inciting social unrest.

At that trial, Yorov pleaded not guilty and called the case against him politically motivated.

He then read out verses by the 11th century Persian poet Omar Khayyam about fools, which led to the charges of contempt of court and insulting a government official.

Yorov was a lawyer for 13 members and leaders of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT), which President Emomali Rahmon’s government labeled a terrorist organization and outlawed in 2015.



India: Threats, slurs, insults: It’s a hard life for lawyers defending terror suspects

March 19, 2017


Advocate R Mahadevan has relatives who won’t talk to him any more. They don’t understand why he represents ‘people who hate their country’.

“I tried explaining the importance of a defence lawyer, but now I have just come to accept these things,” Mahadevan says.

He is currently representing suspects in the Bangalore serial blasts case, when nine bombs exploded in the city in 2008, killing 2 and injuring 20.

It’s not easy arguing for the damned. Threats of violence and death are common. Some lawyers find notes stuck on their cars, detailing the whereabouts of their children.

And then there are the attacks from within their circle — friends distance themselves; neighbours ask, why do you do it? At a family wedding, a relative may start an argument; during a festive gathering, suddenly the focus shifts to you.

“At a friend’s son’s wedding, I was asked by a relative, ‘Why did you undo the hard work done by the police?’ It was disturbing to think that even people who know me think of my work like this.”

In Lucknow, Mohammad Shoaib was beaten up in a courthouse, by other lawyers, for defending Aftab Alam Ansari, accused in the 2007 Lucknow court blast case. Charges against him were later withdrawn. “I had evidence that Ansari was at a doctor’s office on the day of the blast,” Shoaib says


Belgium: La chambre du conseil décide de placer l’avocat Olivier Martins sous surveillance électronique

le 17 mars, 2017

La chambre du conseil décide de placer l'avocat Olivier Martins sous surveillance électronique

Me Michel Bouchat et Jean-Philippe Mayence, les avocats de Me Olivier Martins, ont plaidé sa remise en liberté devant la chambre du conseil ce vendredi. Selon eux, aucun élément du dossier ne justifie la détention préventive. La chambre du conseil a finalement décidé de le maintenir en détention, “mais sous la modalité de la surveillance électronique“, a indiqué le parquet dans un communiqué ce vendredi soir. “Le parquet doit examiner l’ordonnance et fera savoir lundi s’il interjette appel ou non de la décision“, a précisé Ine Van Wymersch, substitut du procureur du roi du parquet de Bruxelles. D’ici lundi, Olivier Martins reste en prison.

Les avocats d’Olivier Martins n’ont pas souhaité commenter la décision de la chambre du conseil.

De quoi est soupçonné Olivier Martins?

Olivier Martins a été arrêté mardi car il est soupçonné d’avoir été impliqué dans la tentative d’évasion de la prison de Saint-Gilles de Mohamed Benabdelhak, survenue le 13 avril 2014. Il a été inculpé du chef de membre d’une organisation criminelle et placé sous mandat d’arrêt. Benabdelhak était incarcéré à la prison de Saint-Gilles depuis janvier 2014 et attendait son extradition vers la France dans le cadre d’un dossier de trafic de stupéfiants.








Turkey: Detention Warrants Issued For 23 Purged Judges, Prosecutors

March 18, 2017

Detention warrants were issued for 23 dismissed judges and prosecutors in İzmir as part of an investigation into the Gülen movement and a failed coup attempt on July 15.

Out of the 23 jurists for whom detention warrants were issued, 20 had been taken into custody as of Saturday noon by police in İzmir after raids on a number of locations.

On Friday, Turkey’s Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) dismissed 202 judges and prosecutors over their links to the faith-based Gülen movement, which Turkish authorities accuse of being behind the failed coup attempt in July last of year.

Although the Gülen movement strongly denies having any role in the putsch, the government accuses it of having masterminded the foiled coup. Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, called for an international investigation into the coup attempt, but President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

In the currently ongoing post-coup purge, over 135,000 people, including thousands within the military, have been purged due to their real or alleged connection to the Gülen movement, according to a statement by the labor minister on Jan. 10. As of March 1, 93,248 people were being held without charge, with an additional 46,274 in pre-trial detention.

According to tally by turkeypurge.com, a total of 4,272 judges and prosecutors were purged over alleged coup involvement or terrorist links.