Daily Archives: 29/04/2017

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 http://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/1442

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.


http://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/1574 (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.


India: Munger lawyer’s killer arrested

April 29, 2017

With the arrest of P K Rajan alias Pagla Rajan, police on Friday claimed to have solved the sensational murder case of lawyer Jaldhar Yadav at his residence in village Heru Diara on the outskirts of the town on April 25.
Munger SP Ashish Bharti said Rajan confessed his involvement in the murder and revealed that the lawyer was killed because of love affair of his daughter with one Manohar Yadav of the same village. The lawyer and his family were against the relationship and they had settled the girl’s marriage somewhere else. That angered Manohar who hired Pagla Rajan to kill the lawyer to take revenge. Manohar had promised to pay Rs50,000 to Rajan for killing the lawyer. Manohar had also supplied the countrymade pistol to Rajan, the SP said.
He said Rajan told the police that Manohar and he fired one shot each at the lawyer. The pistol and one live cartridge were recovered from Rajan’s house.

The SP said Rajan has earned notoriety as a contract killer after he murdered one Subhash Yadav of village Parham, a neighbouring village of Heru Diara, in 2012.
However, Manohar is still at large. He is working for an NGO engaged in processing Aadhaar card applications. Rajan had gone to Hapur in Uttar Pradesh in search of a job. On demand of a photo identity card by the employer of a firm, he had come to his place and contacted Manohar for an Aadhaar card. As Manohar was aware of his criminal antecedents, he offered Rajan money for killing the lawyer, the police said.


Burma: Lawyer in U Ko Ni Murder Calls for Naypyidaw Arrest Warrant in Search for Fugitive

April 28, 2017

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The lawyer representing the family of the National League for Democracy’s (NLD) assassinated legal adviser U Ko Ni presented a criminal revision petition to the Rangoon Division High Court on Friday, requesting that the judge issue an arrest warrant in Naypyidaw for fugitive Aung Win Khaing.

The man is suspected of involvement in the case but remains at large: Naypyidaw is where he was last seen.

Prominent lawyer U Ko Ni was shot by gunman Kyi Lin outside Rangoon International Airport on the afternoon of Jan. 29. Police have put forward four suspects: Kyi Lin, and alleged co-conspirators Zeya Phyo, Aung Win Zaw and Aung Win Tun.

Lawyer U Nay La initially requested that the northern district court issue the warrant in Naypyidaw in March, but it ruled against the move. He also claimed that the district court has been handling the case “carelessly” and is “weak” in examining the case surrounding the fugitive in accordance with designated procedures.

On Friday’s plea at the High Court, U Nay La explained the purpose of his filing: the police order dated Feb. 15 calling for the arrest of Aung Win Khaing was sent to only six of the force’s stations—in Dawbon, Tharketa, Bahan, Mingalardon, Gyobinkaut and Meikhtila townships. The first warrant issued by the district court on Mar. 3—before the trial—only covered Aung Win Khaing’s home address in Rangoon’s Dawbon Township.


Turkey: Update on the arrests of lawyers

April 29, 2017

Kütahya'daki FETÖ operasyonunda 2 avukata tutuklama

1- 2 out of 7 lawyers who were taken into custody in Kutahya city last week, arrested today. >> http://m.sabah.com.tr/…/kutahyadaki-feto-operasyonunda-2-av…

2- 2 lawyers in Manisa city were taken into custody last week as well. They are still being held. >> http://aa.com.tr/…/manisa-merkezli-feto-operasyonund…/804434

3- 2 lawyers in Cankiri city were taken into custody. They are still being held too. The prosecution office stated that the operations against lawyers will be contined. >> http://www.cankirihabersitesi.com/haber/amp/1541

4- The up-to-date situation of lawyers in Turkey; 413 arrested, 10 in custody, more than 1000 are under investigation.


http://theglobepost.com/2017/04/26/disrobed-and-jailed-turkeys-judges-suffer-in-dark/ (ENGLISH)

http://www.haberturk.com/gundem/haber/1478031-kanser-hastasi-eski-bassavci-ibrahim-ethem-kuris-tahliye-edildi (Former chief public prosecutor of Ankara, Ibrahim Ethem Kuriş, was released yesterday, pending his trial.)