Daily Archives: 28/03/2017

The Philippines: #Free Leila (former human rights lawyer Leila de Lima, now imprisoned)

March 28, 2017

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FREE LEILA – Members of the #FreeLeilaMovement assembled in front of the Supreme Court in Padre Faura St., Ermita, Manila today (28 March 2017) to express their solidarity with Sen. Leila M. de Lima’s powerhouse legal team attending the 3rd session of the Oral Arguments of the High Court where they seek to nullify her arrest and detention for trumped-up charge of illegal drug trafficking. #OneForLeila #LabanLeila

(Leila de Lima Facebook)

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Cameroon: CONCERN GROWS OVER MILITARY TRIAL FOR DETAINED CAMEROON HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER

March 27, 2017

The arrest of human rights lawyer Nkongho Felix Agbor-Balla in the Republic of Cameroon has sparked growing concern in legal circles as reports indicate that he may face trial in a closed military court.
The Bar Council is the latest legal body to call on the country’s President to ensure that the lawyer has a fair trial, following news that his trial date has been pushed back for the third time.
Arrested on 17 January without warrant after organising peaceful protests in West Cameroon, Nkongho Felix Agbor-Balla has been denied communication to the outside world. His trial date has now been set for 7 April.Also see: BREAKING: Rigobert Song expected home on Saturday
See: Yaounde-Cameroon: Teachers Protest over unpaid Salaries
According to the latest reports, he faces charges including terrorism, rebellion, contempt of public authorities and attempting to incite civil war, some of which carry the death penalty on conviction.
In a letter to the President of the Republic of Cameroon, His Excellency Paul Biya, the Chairman of the Bar Andrew Langdon QC has warned that the use of military courts to try civilians in the name of counter-terrorism poses “a serious threat to the proper administration of justice.”
The Chairman highlighted the Government’s obligations under United Nations principles that military courts should not be used to try civilians, and that lawyers have the right to take part in public discussions and meetings without suffering professional restrictions.

http://kamervibs.blogspot.fr/2017/03/concern-grows-over-military-trialfor.html

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https://www.237online.com/article-30893-secr-eacute-tariat-d–039-etat-agrave–la-d-eacute-fense-apr-egrave-s-akere-muna-fon-echekiye-convoqu-eacute.html

Pakistan/Afghanistan: Why courts?

March 28, 2017

Why courts?

Attacks on courts in Pakistan and Afghanistan reflect similarities of modus operandi and targets

Two recent attackson a van carrying Judges in Peshawar and outside Tangi court amplify the objective of the terrorists to persistently hit one of the most important components of the Criminal Justice System (CJS). These incidents lead to a number of questions that need to be addressed. During the climax of militancy,the police primarily remained in the line of fire but gradually other practitioners of CJS including judges, lawyers, prosecutors and jail officers also became victims of terrorism.

Despite dismally low conviction rates, why are courts ideal targets? Actually, after long spell of militancy and large number of arrests of militants,the public expects higher conviction rates. And the extremists through their relentless attacks want to keep the courts under pressure.

The list of attacks is long. In February 2007, detonation by a suicide attacker in the court of senior civil judge Quetta robbed lives of 16 including the judge and 6 lawyers. Two terror attacks at Peshawar court within the time span of a month claimed lives of many in 2009. In March 2013, two bombers again targeted the judicial complex Peshawar andfour lives were lost. In March 2014, in a gun-and-bomb attack 11 people, including an additional district and sessions judge, were killed inside the District Courts Islamabad.

In March 2016, a suicide bomber detonated in front of Shabqadar court resulted into death of 10 persons. Jamaat-ur-Ahrar (JuA) claimed responsibility for the attack and pleaded the reason behind it was vengeance for the hanging of Mumtaz Qadri. In August 2016 a suicide bomber targeted lawyers gathered in a hospital in Quetta resulted in death of 70. Later in 2016, a Mardan court was attacked.

Attacks on courts in Afghanistan and Pakistan show similarities of modus operandi and in the selection of targets.

http://dailytimes.com.pk/opinion/28-Mar-17/why-courts

Cameroon: Concern grows for Cameroon human rights lawyer

March 27, 2017

CONCERN GROWS OVER MILITARY TRIAL

 FOR DETAINED CAMEROON HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER

The arrest of human rights lawyer Nkongho Felix Agbor-Balla in the Republic of Cameroon has sparked growing concern in legal circles as reports indicate that he may face trial in a closed military court.

The Bar Council is the latest legal body to call on the country’s President to ensure that the lawyer has a fair trial, following news that his trial date has been pushed back for the third time.

Arrested on 17 January without warrant after organising peaceful protests in West Cameroon, Nkongho Felix Agbor-Balla has been denied communication to the outside world. His trial date has now been set for 7 April.

According to the latest reports, he faces charges including terrorism, rebellion, contempt of public authorities and attempting to incite civil war, some of which carry the death penalty on conviction.

In a letter to the President of the Republic of Cameroon, His Excellency Paul Biya, the Chairman of the Bar Andrew Langdon QC has warned that the use of military courts to try civilians in the name of counter-terrorism poses “a serious threat to the proper administration of justice.”

The Chairman highlighted the Government’s obligations under United Nations principles that military courts should not be used to try civilians, and that lawyers have the right to take part in public discussions and meetings without suffering professional restrictions.

In an open letter, the Chairman has written: “We urge the Government of the Republic of Cameroon to comply with its obligations under international law and to ensure that any trial is conducted fairly and in accordance with due legal process.”

http://www.barcouncil.org.uk/media-centre/news-and-press-releases/2017/march/concern-grows-for-cameroon-human-rights-lawyer/

http://www.cameroon-info.net/article/cameroun-prosper-nkou-mvondo-larrestation-de-paul-ayah-abine-montre-que-cest-un-regime-285318.html (FRANCAIS)

China/Australia: Scholars at Risk Academic Freedom Monitor – Dr Feng Chongyi

March 24, 2017

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Date:
March 24, 2017
Type:
Travel Restrictions
Status:
Verified
New/Ongoing:
New Incident
Region/Sub-region: Country or Territory:
Institution:
University of Technology Sydney

On March 24, 2017, Chinese officials barred Professor Feng Chongyi, a Chinese national, from flying to Australia, where he is a permanent resident and is a scholar of China studies at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS). Sources suggest that he was prohibited from traveling outside the country based on national security allegations related to his human rights research.

Professor Feng, whose research focuses on China’s political economy and intellectual development, is a prominent scholar in mainland China and Australia, where he served as the head of UTS’s China studies department for 11 eleven years. He regularly writes for and is quoted in news publications, and has publicly criticized Chinese authorities’ treatment of dissidents, and their attempts to influence China’s overseas populations.

In March 2017, Professor Feng traveled to China to research conditions relating to human rights lawyers in the country, who reportedly suffered widespread repression starting in July 2015. Sources indicate that during his last week in the country, state security officers in Kunming visited Professor Feng and questioned him about his research and the individuals he had been meeting with. On the morning of March 24, while he made his way through a customs checkpoint at Guangzhou Airport, Professor Feng was reportedly barred from boarding his return flight to Australia. The next day, he made a second attempt to leave the country, and learned that he is being denied exit from China on allegations that he is a threat to state security.

http://monitoring.academicfreedom.info/reports/2017-03-24-university-technology-sydney

Late March 27, 2017 the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) issued the following statement:

UTS media update – Associate Professor Chongyi Feng

The University of Technology Sydney’s (UTS’) first and foremost concern is with the welfare of Associate Professor Chongyi Feng and our focus is on his quick return to Australia.

We have been in regular contact with Dr Feng, including as recently as this morning. He is well and in good spirits. We have continued to provide support to him and to his family here in Australia. We spoke with his daughter here this morning to offer our support to her.

Additionally, we have been in contact with the Chinese Consulate in Sydney to convey our concerns for Dr Feng and to request their assistance for a speedy resolution.

We are also in contact with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). We understand the Australian Government is taking the matter up although there are diplomatic constraints due to the fact that Professor Feng is not an Australian citizen and was travelling on his Chinese passport.

Dr Feng travels to China on a regular basis to undertake research, as is normal for China scholars. We hope this matter can be resolved soon so that he can continue his work.

UTS contact: Greg Welsh on details below

Greg Welsh
Deputy Director, Strategic Communication

University of Technology Sydney

Level 26, Building 1, 15 Broadway, Ultimo NSW 2007 (PO Box 123)
T +61 2 9514 1608 M +61 407 731 397 Egreg.welsh@uts.edu.au W uts.edu.au

http://newsroom.uts.edu.au/media-centre

http://www.ibtimes.com.au/australian-academic-barred-leaving-china-suspicion-harming-national-security-1548493

http://www.9news.com.au/national/2017/03/28/03/33/sydney-chinese-academic-stuck-in-china

http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/03/28/uts-academic-faces-more-questions-china

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/mar/27/chongyi-feng-australian-academic-banned-from-leaving-china-told-not-to-talk

http://supchina.com/2017/03/27/talking-human-rights-get-stuck-china/

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/editorials/rule-of-law-lacking-in-china/news-story/fd2d345c3d37b7369582afb12b0dbc8a?nk=6cccc47fd3d3cc1e185c148a8064a2da-1490674912

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/australian-government-faces-political-revolt-over-extradition-treaty-with-china/article34433353/

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2082532/trapped-australia-based-academic-fears-long-forced-stay

http://www.sinodaily.com/reports/Australia-based_professor_blocked_from_leaving_China_999.html

http://news.abs-cbn.com/overseas/03/28/17/australia-based-professor-blocked-from-leaving-china

http://www.smh.com.au/world/lawyers-for-uts-professor-feng-chongyi-demand-answers-from-chinese-authorities-20170328-gv8a0r.html

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/china-steps-up-university-influence-effort/news-story/5d09f3cc5d36e4d7295ae1d85543a023?nk=6cccc47fd3d3cc1e185c148a8064a2da-1490720299

http://www1.lehigh.edu/news/chinese-human-rights-lawyer-stresses-duty-resist

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/drive/uts-professor-chongyi-feng-detained-in-china/8390522