Daily Archives: 29/03/2017

Turkey: International Association of Judges expresses concern for Turkey’s judiciary

March 28, 2017

The International Association of Judges (IAJ) has published an appeal regarding the situation of the judiciary in Turkey, citing a recent report by the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission that noted Turkey’s proposed constitutional changes were a big setback for democracy.

“The IAJ is concerned that the already oppressed judiciary will be turned into a totally depended instrument of power. The Venice Commission confirms the IAJ’s fears,” the appeal said, adding that the association had been following “the deterioration of the situation of the judiciary in Turkey since 2014.”

“After the attempted coup, it dismissed judges who had been put on a list long before the coup without giving reasons for the individual case and without proper procedure. In such a way since July 15, 2016, 24.4 percent of all judges (2,538 out of 10,382) and 24.3 percent of all prosecutors (1,121 out of 4,622) were dismissed, the majority of whom are in detention. The example of this destiny threatens those judges and prosecutors who remained in office or were recently appointed without sufficient experience. It is more than doubtful that a judiciary in this situation can be [described] as independent,” the association said.

Referring to the Venice Commission report, the IAJ said the commission concluded that the amendments “would place the independence of the judiciary at serious jeopardy” because of the “determining influence of the president on the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), which is the main self-governing body, overseeing the appointment, promotion, transfer, disciplining and dismissal of judges and prosecutors.”


http://www.aeud.org/2017/03/le-glas-de-la-democratie-ne-cesse-de-sonner-en-turquie/#.WNzNALA3ZjU.facebook (FRANCAIS)

The Philippines: Immediately Investigate and Remedy Arrest and Detention of Senator de Lima | Letter

March 29, 2017

Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC) is a committee of lawyers and other human rights defenders who promote human rights and the rule of law internationally through advocacy, legal research and education. LRWC also campaigns for lawyers and other human rights defenders in danger because of their advocacy. LRWC has Special Consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

LRWC joins the International Commission of Jurists, the Global Commission on Drug Policy, Amnesty International, Filipino human rights defenders, environmental advocates, people’s organizations, and international rights groups in denouncing the arrest and ongoing detention of Senator Leila De Lima.

Senator De Lima has been a vocal and high-profile critic of your government’s “war on drugs” which has resulted in thousands of extrajudicial executions and other human rights violations, of mostly poor, defenceless victims. The arrest and ongoing detention of Senator De Lima appears to be a blatant attempt by the Philippine government to silence criticism of the “war on drugs” and divert attention away from serious human rights violations that continue to result.


On 23 February, the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court in Metro Manila issued a warrant for the arrest of Senator Leila de Lima. De Lima faces three criminal charges under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act which penalises the “sale, trading, administration, delivery, distribution and transportation of illegal drugs.” The charges are based, in part, on accusations by inmates of New Bilibid Prison. However, employees of both the Bureau of Corrections and the Philippine National Police have stated that Department of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre authorized the provision of material benefits to the inmates – including televisions, cell phones, internet access and air conditioning units – after they provided testimony against de Lima.

If found guilty, de Lima faces a sentence of 12 years to life in prison. De Lima denies all the charges against her, and has maintained that she is a victim of political persecution.



Belgium: Un ancien policier accusé d’assassinat n’en démord pas: “Je veux Me Martins”

le 28 mars, 2017

Stephan Picron, ancien policier, est accusé d’assassinat aux assises de Bruxelles.

Ce devait être le procès de l’année. Trois hommes qui comparaissent pour l’assassinat de Robert Dupuis, un riche plombier, abattu devant chez lui à Etterbeek, en 2011. Parmi les accusés, un tireur, Mousa Touili, en aveux, un commanditaire présumé qui nie, David Dupuis, qui n’est autre que le fils de la victime. Et le troisième, suspecté d’être l’exécutant, Stephan Picron, ex-policier, qui affirme son innocence. Et qui, du fait de l’actualité, se retrouve sans avocat, et a obtenu la suspension du procès d’assises.

La DH a été sollicitée par Stephan Picron et a accepté, à la condition que les faits qui l’ont mené devant la cour d’assises ne soient pas évoqués.

Cet homme de 48 ans est libre depuis 2012. Mardi, il y a deux semaines, il se rend aux assises de Bruxelles et n’y voit pas son avocat. “La stagiaire de Me Martins est là, et me dit que son patron est malade. Bon. On apprendra tous, l’après-midi, qu’il était en fait privé de liberté”, souffle Stephan Picron. D’emblée, se pose le problème de sa défense. Stephan Picron encourt la réclusion criminelle à perpétuité et se retrouve du jour au lendemain sans avocat pour le défendre.

Me Sven Mary , proche de Me Martins et qui a défendu Stephan Picron au tout début de l’enquête, se propose pour prendre la suite. Mais la mission est trop compliquée. Il y a 18 cartons à lire, soit des milliers de pages, et le laps de temps – une semaine – est trop court pour un avocat à l’agenda fort chargé. “Me Mary est un grand avocat, je l’estime beaucoup. Mais j’ai construit mon dossier avec Me Martins.”



Saudi Arabia: Free Imprisoned Human Rights Lawyer Waleed Abu Al-Khair Immediately!

March 29, 2017

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#WaleedWednesday should be with together with his family & not be in prison #FreeWaleed immediately

(Marco Tombesi Facebook)

Turkey: Lawyer Representing Dissident Politician Akşener Detained Over Coup Involvement

March 29, 2017

Nuri Polat, a lawyer representing Meral Akşener, a former deputy and candidate for leadership of the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), has been detained by police over alleged links to the Gülen movement.

At least 370 lawyers have been jailed, while 967 others have been investigated either over alleged involvement in a coup attempt on July 15, or having links to the Gülen movement, which the government accuses of masterminding the attempted coup.

The data was compiled by Turkey Purge editors based on reports released by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency and the @Av_EvrenSEL Twitter account, an initiative for the arrested Turkish lawyers, since the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

The Turkish government accuses the movement of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016. The movement denies the accusations.

Akşener has been waging a campaign against incumbent MHP Chairman Devlet Bahçeli, who is an open ally of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Akşener, on the other hand, opposes the changes to the constitution that will be voted in the referendum on April 16.


Tunisia: The Italian Advocacy supports democracy and development in Tunisia by reopening the Hotel Imperial in Sousse (18-21 May, 2017)

March 29, 2017

Displaying Sousse (Tunisie) 18-21 2017 may.jpg

President Consiglio Nazionale Forense Andrea Mascherin, Councilman Francesco Caia (coord. of Human rights and Relations within Mediterranean countries, Adv. Abdelaziz Essid (Member of National Bar Association of Tunisia and Winner of Peace Nobel Prize 2015), President of National Bar Association of Tunisia Ameur Meherzi, Tunisian Ambassador in Italy Moez Sinaoui and Councilor of CSM Paola Balducci.

Initiative promoted by CNF and National Bar Association of Tunisia

The Consiglio Nazionale Forense together with the Tunisian National Bar Association and other Institutional and political Italian advocacies (together with friends and families) are organizing an International Conference which will take place at Hotel Imperial in Sousse from 18th to 21st of May 2017 (Tunisia). The Conference will focus on Democracy and Peace, by underlining the relationship between citizen security and respect for democracy and human rights.

The main aim of the Conference is to reopen the Imperial Hotel in Sousse where, on 26 June 2015, 39 tourists have been killed on the beach in a terroristic attack.



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Pakistan: Terror attack on Quetta’s lawyers throws city into judicial crisis

March 28, 2017

Relatives mourn the dead outside Quetta hospital. PHOTO: AFP

Of the 280 practising lawyers in Quetta, 56 were killed and 92 were injured in a blast at Civil Hospital last year. With courts completely closed for the following three months and lawyers boycotting in protest until very recently, people saw no choice but to head to jirgas to resolve their issues.

Quetta weeps again

weeps againAbdul Hafiz is one such person. His young son Jalal remained in jail for four months because his lawyer was killed in the explosion and courts stopped working. “A fellow villager tried to illegally build a shop on our land and my son got into a fight with him. In such cases, court grants bail in the second or third hearing but my son languished in jail for so long because he didn’t have any legal aid,” Hafiz shares.

After hiring a new lawyer, the helpless father says, he got his son out of the jail and registered his case with a jirga to get swift justice.

Jirgas are seen as an easy source of justice as they require no money and the matter is resolved in a month or two. Headed by tribal elders and religious clerics, the jirgas base their decisions on consensus in the light of Islamic laws and local traditions. One of these is Balochistan Aman Jirga, which is made up of Pashtun, Baloch, Hazara and Punjabi elders in Quetta. It is currently working on 500 major and minor cases.


China/Australia: Detained UTS lecturer wants government help to leave China

March 29, 2017

A lawyer for detained University of Technology academic Chongyi Feng has called for the Australian government’s help to get him out of China.

Dr Feng, an associate professor in Chinese studies at the University of Technology Sydney, was on his way back to Australia after completing field work in China when he was stopped by internal security agents from Tianjin — where his Chinese passport is registered.

After Dr Feng was asked to take a lie-detector test, he tried to leave the country but was prevented from boarding flights to Australia. He has been interrogated by the same Chinese internal security agents, his lawyers have said.

Dr Feng was interrogated again yesterday for a number of hours, friends who talked to him said, but he can leave his hotel and make phone calls. He has been warned to co-operate with internal security officers and told not to talk to the media.

Now, in a phone interview with the Chinese language Voice of America network, his lawyer Jinxue Chen suggested only the Australia government or his employers, UTS, could help get the professor out of the country.

“There are actions the Australian government and Mr Feng’s work unit can take, and there are actions we, as Chinese lawyers, cannot take,” he told Voice of America.





http://salsa4.salsalabs.com/o/50943/p/dia/action4/common/public/?action_KEY=21586 (**URGENT, PLEASE SIGN!)

http://www.sbs.com.au/yourlanguage/vietnamese/vi/content/concern-mounts-sydney-academic-stopped-leaving-china?language=vi (VIETNAMESE)

Turkey: Professor Istar Gozaydin’s 100th day of incarceration displays deteriorating conditions for freedom of speech in Turkey

March 28, 2017

Scholars at Risk - Protecting scholars and the freedom to think, question and share ideas

Thursday March 30th marks the 100th day of imprisonment of Professor Istar Gozaydin, lately Chair of the Department of Sociology at Turkey’s Gediz University. Dr Gozaydin is an especially prominent observer of government policy and of the state’s religious affairs directorate (Diyanet). Her lengthy detention and the charges filed against her on March 17th reflect an extreme case in a developing pattern of infringement of freedom in Turkey.

A founder of Turkey’s branch of the Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly in the 1990’s, Dr Gozaydin has long pursued research and action within the public sphere. She was suspended from her academic duties at Gediz University for re-tweeting an admonition against the death penalty several days after the coup attempt failed in Turkey on July 15-16, 2016. Just one week following the coup attempt, the university was shuttered by Turkey’s Higher Education Council. According to Clare Robinson, Advocacy Director of the Scholars at Risk Network, Gozaydin is one among 5,913 personnel recently dismissed from the higher education system by government order. Robinson further notes that “these closures and dismissals are only the beginning. Scholars at Risk has verified at least 607 detentions of, or warrants issued for, higher education personnel and at least 148 prosecutions of scholars, students, and other higher education personnel.”

Dr Gozaydin is charged with membership in the Gülen religious and social movement, which the government of Turkey refers to as a terrorist organization that it has taken to be the source of the 2016 coup attempt.


China: Alert: Trial & Verdict Announcements in 4 Cases at End of March

March 28, 2017

China Must Free Human Rights Activists & Lawyers

(Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders, March 28, 2017) – Four Chinese human rights defenders face court hearings on March 30-31 as authorities continue the country’s political persecution against human rights activists and lawyers. The cases include the long-delayed verdicts for Guangdong activists Su Changlan (苏昌兰) and Chen Qitang (陈启棠), detained during the crackdown on mainland supporters of Occupy Central pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong; the delayed trial of Sichuan activist Chen Yunfei (陈云飞), arrested for commemorating victims of the Tiananmen Massacre; and the appeal hearing for human rights lawyer Xia Lin (夏霖), sentenced to 12 years in prison last September.

CHRD reiterates its call for the Chinese government to immediately and unconditionally release Su Changlan, Chen Qitang, Chen Yunfei and Xia Lin, and all other human rights defenders who have been arbitrarily detained or jailed in reprisal for promoting and protecting human rights. The Chinese government should take further steps to compensate such individuals in compliance with its treaty obligation under the Convention against Torture. The concerned international community should hold the Chinese government accountable for breaking its own pledges to uphold international human rights standards.

See below for details of updates on these cases:

On March 31, the Foshan City Intermediate People’s Court will announce verdicts against the two Guangdong-based activists. Both were tried on charges of “inciting subversion of state power” on successive days nearly a year ago—Su on April 21, 2016, and Chen the following day. The court will announce Su’s verdict at 9 AM and then issue its verdict in Chen’s case.


Statement of the Hong Kong Bar Association

The Upcoming Trial of Four Chinese Citizens and Lawyers/Activists

  1. The Hong Kong Bar Association (HKBA) refers to the statement initiated by the China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group and the Taiwan Support China Human Rights Lawyers Network, and co-signed by a number of international legal organizations, including the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales, the Institut des droits de l’homme des avocats europeens, the International Commission of Jurists, and the Union Internationale des Avocats, in relation to the trials of four Chinese citizens and lawyers/legal activists for alleged offences ranging from “subverting state power”, “inciting subversion of state power” to “disruption of court order” that are said to commence in the near future.
  1. Although the HKBA is not in a position to co-sign the above statement, the HKBA considers and observes that, in accordance with the relevant Mainland Chinese laws and international human rights obligations and norms subscribed by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) (including the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment), the said four Chinese citizens and lawyers/legal activists are entitled to the following:
  • Not to be tortured or cruelly or inhumanly treated during detention pending trial, whether for the purpose of obtaining a confession or information, or of punishment, or of oppression.
  • Presumed innocent unless and until found guilty by the court after trial.
  • Representation by a lawyer of the accused’s own choice during trial. • Adequate facilities and unimpeded access to the materials constituting the case of the prosecution for the proper preparation of the trial, including visits by the accused’s lawyer to take instructions and give confidential legal advice without monitoring.
  • An open trial before a duly and lawfully constituted court conducted in accordance with the Law of the PRC on Criminal Procedure whereby both the prosecution and the defence are afforded fair and full opportunities to present their respective cases.
  • A reasoned judgment that addresses all elements of the alleged offences charged and all points of contention during the trial.
  1. The HKBA trusts that the Central Authorities of the PRC and the Mainland Chinese prosecutors and judges responsible for the conduct of these upcoming trials are fully aware of the above entitlements and will ensure their full and proper implementation, irrespective of who the accused are, what the crimes they are accused of, and the circumstances underlying their accusation and trial.

Dated 31 March 2017


Click to access 20170331%20-%20StatementHKBA20170321%20%28E%29.pdf