Monthly Archives: April 2017

Nepal: Nepal’s first female chief justice faces impeachment

April 30, 2017

Sushila Karki, Nepal's first female chief justice

Nepal’s first female chief justice has been suspended after the two largest parties in the ruling coalition filed an impeachment motion against her.

They accuse Sushila Karki of delivering biased verdicts and interfering in the executive’s jurisdiction.

At least 249 MPs signed the motion, well over the quarter required to open an impeachment investigation.

It comes after the Supreme Court overturned the government’s choice of chief of police.

‘Favours rather than merit’

Last month the court ruled in favour of a claim by Navaraj Silwal, the most senior officer in the ranks, that he had been unfairly bypassed in favour of a less senior colleague, Jaya Bahadur Chand.

A hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday 2 May on the government’s second choice of candidate, Prakash Aryal, local media report.

Nepal: Impeachment motion moved against Chief Justice Sushila Karki

Cameroon: Defense funds for Justice Paul Ayah – Please Contribute!

I first met Justice Paul Ayah Abine when he was the parliamentarian from Akwaya subdivision in Manyu, Cameroon. I became transfixed in his singular opposition to the President of Cameroon, Mr. Paul Biya on changing the constitution to become president for life.

Justice Paul Ayah Abine is in a fight of our life
The arbitrary, capricious and unjustifiable arrest and detention of Supreme Court Justice Paul Ayah Abine, is incontrovertible evidence of the incompatibility of the Common Law practices and the French imperial, neo-colonial system that prevails in Cameroon.
Even more shocking, is the conspiratorial silence of his colleagues in the Francophone Supreme Court Bench, who in Anglo-Saxon countries exert the ultimate power of sanctioning the legality of the acts of the executive branch.

As those who cherish the time-honored traditions of the Magna Carta and Habeas Corpus, we are appealing to you to DONATE  $5, $10, etc. to assist Justice Paul Ayah Abine’s family to continuously engage the lawyers who are working pro-bono.
Donations will be  delivered to his family, to pay for his food, medication, legal bills, and the cost of travel, room and board for empowered persons who will be advocating for his release in the courts of foreign leaders who have a significant influence on the Biya dictatorship which is detaining him in egregious conditions, where his health is rapidly deteriorating.

Turkey: Top judge, paralysed after cancer surgery, under arrest at hospital

April 30, 2017

Top judge, paralysed after cancer surgery, under arrest at hospital

A Supreme Court of Appeals member until he was dismissed as part of the government’s post-coup purge of public institutions, Mustafa Erdogan has been kept in a holding cell at a private hospital since Dec. 30, 2016.

In a letter to the newly-established solidarity platform Justice Held Hostage, his daughter Buket Erdogan said the top judge was denied right to “trial without arrest” although he was paralysed after a surgery on his brain.

“I am a second-grade law faculty student at Ankara University. … I want to tell you what we have been through since the July 15, 2016 [coup attempt],” she started her letter.

Buket said police raided their home on July 16 and that an arrest warrant was issued for her father a day after while all their properties were confiscated by the government.

She said her father refused to turn himself in to the police in the face of rights violations proliferated under post-coup emergency rules. To top it off, she added, her father has been suffering from a tumour on his brain.

“[Doctors] told that he must undergo a surgery right away. … Police came by immediately after he was hospitalized for surgery. While all I was thinking was my father’s health, police officers were discussing ways to arrest and take him to the police station in front of the intensive care unit,” Buket narrated.

[DETAILS] Turkish government dismisses 3,974 public servants

China: “My Name is Li Heping, and I Love Being a Lawyer”

August 21, 2016

Li Heping screen shot

This is a translation of an Ai Weiwei interview of lawyer Li Heping (李和平) in July 2010 (here, here, here, and here) that was released only recently. Beginning from his first involvement in “sensitive” cases around 2002, Li Heping went through the trajectory of his years as one of China’s earliest rights lawyers, including police brutality against him in 2007. Over the past decade or so, many early rights lawyers have withdrawn from the scene under duress, but Li Heping is one of the few who have persevered. He was arrested in July, 2015, as one of dozens of rights lawyers in what is known as the “709 Crackdown” of human rights lawyers and activists. After a year of secret detention with no access to legal counsel or to family, his case has recently been sent to prosecutors for indictment, but earlier this month, Chinese state media seemed to have already charged him with “using funds from a certain overseas NGO to engage in subversion of state power.” If the spectacle of the four show trials in early August is any indication, the entire 709 crackdown is spurred by unfounded fears and is a mockery of the rule of law.  – The Editors

My name is Li Heping (李和平), and I love being a lawyer. I’ve served as counsel in many cases that have met with success, and that feeling of accomplishment makes me really happy.

Starting in 2002 I started getting involved in cases that were deemed sensitive — for example, cases involving Article 105 of the Criminal Law, “subversion of state power.” The first case I took at that time was the “New Youth Study Group” (新青年学会) where the Procuratorate had charged Yang Zili (杨子立) and three others of “subverting state power.” The first time I defended them was when I came to understand issues associated with politics and prisoners of conscience, and I was really shocked. At first, I was really at a loss as to how to defend them. Back then I didn’t know much about politics, democracy, republicanism, constitutionalism — I only knew how to mount a defense from the perspective of criminal law and the criminal process. But I later found that this sort of criminal procedure defense is simply useless.

“My Name is Li Heping, and I Love Being a Lawyer”

The Anti-Torture Work of Lawyer Li Heping That Irked the Chinese Authorities

China: China ¦ Silenced, or sentenced in secret, human rights lawyers need support

April 28, 2017

Credit to @badiucao

Human rights lawyers taken as part of the ‘709 crackdown’ in China were denied full justice yet again this week. From ISHR’s perspective, these actions cross another red line. Calls from the United Nations for the lawyers’ unconditional release are missing, just when they should be amplifying the demands of defenders on the ground. 

Chinese human rights lawyers Li Heping and Xie Yang were arrested in a nationwide crackdown on rights lawyers and activists in July 2015, known as the ‘709 crackdown’. The Chinese government has escalated attacks on human rights defenders and lawyers and continues to ignore calls from the international community to release its grip on civil society.

Li Heping: sentenced in secret

The trial of Li Heping was conducted in secret on Tuesday, 25 April. Because the case involved ‘state secrets’, he was not allowed a lawyer of his choosing, and indeed had not met with his family since his detention began. Li was sentenced to three years in prison with a four-year suspension with deprivation of political rights; according to official announcements, he pleaded guilty and stated that he would not appeal the decision. The court ruling alleged that Li had used foreign media to smear State organs; had accepted foreign funds; and had intentionally ‘provoked dissatisfaction in society’.

Says Sarah M Brooks, Asia programme manager for ISHR, ‘This sham trial is not a joke, but it clearly shows the government does not take seriously its obligations. The UN’s top experts on torture called for an end to the crackdown and the misuse of state secret provisions. The Chinese government’s actions have been exactly the opposite’.

Syria: Razan Zaitouneh spends another birthday in captivity with her colleagues

April 29, 2017

On 29 April 2017, on the occasion of Syrian human rights defender Razan Zaitouneh’s birthday, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights reiterates calls for her immediate release. She is spending it in captivity for the fourth time since her abduction in 2013, along with her three colleagues, her husband Wael Hamada, Samira Khalil and Nazem Hamadi.

On 9 December 2013, the four human rights defenders – collectively known as the “Douma Four” – were abducted by a group of armed men who raided the offices of the Violations Documentation Centre (VDC) in Douma, near Damascus. There has been no news of their whereabouts in the past three and a half years but they are presumed to be held by armed groups in control of the area. The family is concerned for Zaitouneh’s health and well-being given the absence of any information.

Zaitouneh has been one of the most prominent lawyers and human rights activists defending political prisoners in Syria since 2001. She has played a key role in efforts to defend human rights for all people and protect independent groups and Syrian activists. Along with a number of other activists, Zaitouneh established the Violations Documentation Center (VDC) in Syria, and co-founded in April 2011 the Local Coordination Committees (LCCs), which co-ordinate the work of local committees in various cities and towns across Syria.

Zaitouneh was one of three finalists for the 2016 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders, and was awarded the 2011 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought and the 2011 Anna Politkovskaya Award of Reach All Women in War (RAW in WAR) among other accolades, for her human rights work.

On 9 December 2016, on the third anniversary of the disappearance of Zaitouneh and her colleagues, 56 human rights organisations called for their immediate release. For further information see

On 29 April 2016, on the occasion of Zaitouneh’s birthday last year, 31 human rights organisations called for the immediate release of Zaitouneh and her colleagues. (ARABIC)

USA/Germany: Exhibit on Jewish attorneys in Nazi Germany opens at Louisiana Supreme Court Museum

April 28, 2017

The exhibit “Lawyers Without Rights: Jewish Lawyers in Germany under the Third Reich” opens on April 28 at the Louisiana Supreme Court Museum on Royal Street.

The exhibit tells the story of how Jewish attorneys and judges were persecuted in Germany when Adolf Hitler came to power in the 1930s. It has been shown in more than 40 cities in the United States.

“It’s a very compelling exhibit that has been exhibited throughout Europe and also throughout much of the United States, but this is the first time it has ever been brought to Louisiana,” Mark Cunningham, an attorney at Jones Day who brought the exhibit to Louisiana, said.

The exhibit started in 1998 as the brainchild of a lawyer in Israel who knew there was a list in Berlin of lawyers whose licenses to practice had been revoked by the Nazis. The regional bar in Berlin provided the list, researched individual stories and helped compose the exhibit. Axel Filges of the Berlin Bar took over the exhibit and many local bar associations added to it.