Daily Archives: 04/04/2017

Egypt: Doaa Mostafa Ahmed Hassan: ‘NGO and defenders in Egypt are under severe threat’

March 20, 2017

“I am working in an increasingly restricted space: NGOs and human rights defenders in Egypt are generally coming under severe threat due to an investigation into their funding sources. A number of key human rights defenders and organisations are under threat of closure, and subject to travels bans, asset freezes and heavy prison sentences. My work as a human rights lawyer researching, documenting and defending those whose rights has been disrupted since the moment of my arrest, and I am regarded as a thorn in the side of the regime. There have been attempts to silence me on more than one occasion. I have even been detained in the Supreme State Security Prosecution Headquarters, one of the top investigating bodies in the country, where officers took me into a  room to pressure me to cease my work and intimidated me to drop the work I am doing in the defence of human rights.

I work for an organisation whose directors are targets of the regime. Our director and co-founder, Mohamed Lotfy, was subjected in 2015 to a travel ban due to his human rights activities. He was informed of the ban after trying to fly to Germany, where he was invited to give a speech to parliament about the human rights situation in the country, at the same time that the Egyptian President was meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel. Our other co-founder, Ahmed Abdallah, was arrested from his home on 25 April 2016 and is facing charges under the counter-terrorism law for his human rights activities…”

“As a female lawyer, who comes into contact regularly with security officers, I am regularly sexually harassed by them through verbal insults. But this has not deterred me in my job, and going on a weekly and sometimes daily basis to police stations and prosecution offices to defend my clients. Also my 9-year marriage has recently ended because of the constant fear we live in. My husband could no longer take the fact that our home could be stormed by police at any point to arrest me, or anyone of my family as a means of pressuring me to stop the work I am doing. My husband asked me to switch careers even, and I found myself torn between my heart which loves this man, and my heart and mind that loves the work I do. I experienced the heartbreak of my two children, who I adore, moving in to live with their father for their own safety. But I truly believe that as long as a heavy price has been paid, there will be compensation.”

Doaa Mostafa Ahmed Hassan is a lawyer and the director of the criminal justice programme in the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms. Due to the situation in the country and the threats and criminalisation she faced because of her work, Doaa left Egypt with the support of ProtectDefenders.eu, and is currently participating in a fellowship programme with the accompaniment and collaboration of York University.


Kazakhstan: Lawyers now face trial for defending client

April 3, 2017

f18 Logo

The two lawyers for a Jehovah’s Witness now on trial in Astana are themselves under criminal investigation. The KNB secret police investigator accuses them of “revealing information from a pre-trial investigation” by appealing to President Nazarbayev for the case against their client to be halted.

Kazakhstan’s National Security Committee (KNB) secret police has opened a criminal case against two lawyers defending a Jehovah’s Witness on trial for exercising freedom of religion and belief. Vitaly Kuznetsov and Natalya Kononenko are facing criminal investigation seeking to punish them for appealing to Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev for the charges against their client to be dropped. Charges were brought against the lawyers even before the trial they were working on began in the capital Astana.

The KNB secret police accuses Kuznetsov and Kononenko of “revealing information from a pre-trial investigation” under Criminal Code Article 423. Kuznetsov described the accusation to Forum 18 as “absurd”. An Astana-based legal specialist told Forum 18 the accusation was “bizarre” (see below).

Astana Prosecutor’s Office handed the case to Asilzhan Gabdykaparov of the General Prosecutor’s Office, it told Forum 18 on 3 April. His telephone went unanswered the same day.

KNB Major Medet Duskaziyev – who initiated the criminal cases against Jehovah’s Witnesses Teymur Akhmedov and Asaf Guliyev, as well as the two lawyers Kuznetsov and Kononenko – refused to answer any of Forum 18’s questions on 30 March.



OIAD: Communiqué de l’OIAD : La répression s’intensifie contre les avocats turcs

le 4 avril, 2017

L’Observatoire International des Avocats en danger (OIAD) s’alarme de l’intensification de la répression menée par les autorités turques à l’encontre des avocats.

Communiqué de l'OIAD : La répression s’intensifie contre les avocats turcs

Au cours de la semaine du 20 mars 2017, le Ministère Public turc a émis des mandats d’arrêt à l’encontre de plus de 80 avocats intervenant en défense de leurs clients accusés d’appartenir au mouvement Güleniste, lui-même désigné comme l’instigateur de la tentative de coup d’Etat de juillet 2016.

Parmi les 80 avocats visés par ces mandats d’arrêt, 38 ont d’ores et déjà été arrêtés et placés en détention au cours des jours suivants à travers toute la Turquie. D’après les informations dont dispose l’OIAD, ce sont donc 362 avocats qui sont à ce jour en détention en Turquie et 967 qui font l’objet de poursuites judiciaires. Parmi eux, on dénombre notamment les Présidents et anciens Présidents d’une dizaine de Barreaux de Turquie.

Depuis l’échec du coup d’Etat du 15 juillet 2016, le Gouvernement turc mène une purge sans précédent au sein de l’appareil d’Etat mais aussi au sein du système universitaire et judiciaire et contre les journalistes. Plus de 41 000 personnes ont ainsi été arrêtées au cours de ces 6 derniers mois et ce sont près de 135 000 personnes qui ont été suspendues ou démises de leur fonction.

Au-delà de ces arrestations arbitraires et de la torture pratiquée en détention selon de nombreux témoignages, et au-delà de ces poursuites menées sur le seul fondement de l’assimilation de l’avocat à la cause de son client – le pouvoir turc s’efforce par ailleurs d’affaiblir durablement l’indépendance de la profession par des mesures législatives inquiétantes.

Par un décret exécutif adopté le 22 novembre 2016, le Gouvernement a ordonné la fermeture de 370 organisations de la société civile turque, sous prétexte de leurs liens présumés avec des organisations terroristes. Parmi elles, de nombreuses organisations majeures d’avocats, œuvrant notamment dans le domaine des droits de l’Homme.


http://stockholmcf.org/international-bar-organization-condemns-govt-repression-of-lawyers-in-turkey/ (ENGLISH)

https://turkeypurge.com/international-bar-organization-condemns-govt-repression-of-lawyers-in-turkey (ENGLISH)

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China: China’s extraordinary response to the 11-nation letter on the torture of human rights lawyers

April 4, 2017

chinese lawyers

When on March 1 Chinese media launched a sudden and all-out smear campaign claiming that the torture of human rights lawyer Xie Yang (谢阳) was a fabrication, and that Western media coverage of it was “fake news,” many of us wondered what this outburst was all about. A UN Human Rights Council meeting? The German Chancellor’s planned visit?

Now we know. On February 27, diplomatic missions in Beijing from 11 countries wrote a letter, expressing their “growing concern over recent claims of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in cases concerning detained human rights lawyers and other human rights defenders.” The letter also urged China to abandon the practice of secret detention known as “residential surveillance at a designated location” (RSDL).

The 11 countries are: Australia, Canada, Japan, Switzerland, and seven European Union member nations: Belgium, the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Looking back, one has to marvel at China’s response.

The smear campaign: A lightning-fast mass production

On March 1, two days after the 11-country letter was delivered, the smear campaign began. Global Times (《环球时报》) led the charge with the article “The Truth about ‘Xie Yang Torture’: It’s a Fabrication Catering to Western Media”. It was quickly reposted by other print media and on major news portals such as Sina, Tencent, Netease, China National Radio, China.com, etc.

Lawyer Jiang Tianyong, who was disappeared on November 21 last year and subsequently placed under RSDL, was shown on camera “admitting” that he was involved in the fabrication of Xie Yang’s claim to have been tortured, and that Xie Yang’s defense lawyer (Chen Jiangang) supplied further embellishments.



http://www.hrichina.org/chs/xin-wen-gong-zuo/sheng-ming/mei-zhong-feng-hui-zhong-guo-te-se-de-ren-quan-shang-hai-zhong-mei-ren?utm_source=HRIC%20Updates&utm_campaign=4e92ccd196-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_04_04&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b537d30fde-4e92ccd196-259223637 (CHINESE)


mars 2017

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Parce qu’ils s’engagent à défendre les droits de leurs clients et parce qu’ils constituent souvent l’ultime rempart lorsque les droits de l’Homme ou les libertés fondamentales sont violés ou menacés, plusieurs centaines d’avocats sont chaque année victimes de détention arbitraire, de persécution, parfois de meurtre. C’est pour lutter contre ces drames qui sont aussi des coups portés à l’Etat de droit que l’Observatoire international des avocats en danger a vu le jour.

(Photo) Lancement de l’OIAD au CNB en décembre 2016 : Richard Sédillot, vice-président de la Commission des affaires européennes et internationales du CNB, Fatimata Mbaye, Pré- sidente d’honneur de l’OIAD, Françoise Mathe, Présidente de la Commission Libertés et droits de l’Homme du CNB et le Bâtonnier Philippe-Henri Dutheil, Président de la Commission des Affaires européennes et internationales du CNB.]

L’Observatoire international des avocats en danger renait de ses cendres. Après une première phase d’existence entre 2008 et 2011, les activités de l’OIAD avaient pris fi n au terme du fi nancement européen qui le soutenait. Le besoin urgent de solidarité au sein de la profession, les attaques toujours plus violentes contre la profession – en Turquie, en Chine, en Egypte et dans de nombreux autres pays encore – ont cependant conduit les partenaires de cet Observatoire à se réunir à nouveau pour poursuivre les travaux engagés et assurer la pérennité de cet outil au service des avocats dont la liberté, l’exercice professionnel ou la vie sont menacés en raison de l’exercice légitime de leur profession.

Click to access lettre1_17.pdf