Daily Archives: 11 de May de 2017

Belarus: The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the administrative convictions of lawyers Leonid Sudalenko and Anatoly Poplavnyi in Belarus

May 10, 2017

The Law Society of Upper Canada

The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the administrative convictions of lawyers Leonid Sudalenko and Anatoly Poplavnyi in Belarus.

Leonid Sudalenko and Anatoly Poplavnyi are human rights lawyers based in Gomel, Belarus. Leonid Sudalenko is the head of the Gomel branch of Justice Initiative, a civil society association which provides legal support to victims of human rights violations. He monitors and documents human rights violations in the Gomel region, campaigns for the abolition of the death penalty in Belarus, and specializes in preparing complaints to the United Nations Human Rights Committee. Anatoly Poplavnyi is a member of the Gomel branch of the Human Rights Centre “Viasna”, an organization which promotes human rights and lends practical assistance to civic initiatives for the legal defence of citizens. It also conducts research into the state of civil society and legal defence in Belarus.

It has come to the Law Society’s attention that on March 17, 2017, Leonid Sudalenko and Anatoly Poplavnyi were convicted of “non-compliance with the legal requirements on the organization and conducting of mass events”. Leonid Sudalenko was given a warning, while Anatoly Poplavnyi was sentenced to ten days of administrative detention. The “mass event” in question was a peaceful demonstration that took place on February 19, 2017 in Gomel. It brought together approximately 4000 people for the purposes of protesting Presidential Decree No. 3 “On the prevention of dependency on social aid”, a law which, in violation of both the Belarusian Constitution and international human rights laws, sanctions Belarusian citizens who work less than 183 days per year by imposing a penalty in the form of a fee and/or administrative arrest. Leonid Sudalenko and Anatoly Poplavnyi were on hand to monitor the peaceful assembly and provide citizens with legal information.

On March 23, 2017, Anatoly Poplavnyi was found guilty of another charge of “non-compliance with the legal requirements on the organization and conducting of mass events”, this time in relation to his involvement in a demonstration (again against Presidential Decree No. 3) held in Rogachev on March 12, 2017. He was sentenced to five days of administrative detention.

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503789&langtype=1033

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503788

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503789&langtype=1036 (FRANCAIS)

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503788&langtype=1036 (FRANCAIS)

http://www.jurist.org/paperchase/2017/05/un-report-belarus-human-rights-situation-deteriorating.php

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China: The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the maltreatment of lawyer Li Chunfu in China

May 10, 2017

The Law Society of Upper Canada

The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the maltreatment of lawyer Li Chunfu in China.

Li Chunfu is one of the more than 300 human rights lawyers and advocates in China who, since July 2015, have been questioned, detained or charged by Chinese authorities as a result of their human rights work.

According to reports, Li Chunfu was taken into police custody on August 1, 2015 and formally charged with “subverting state power” on January 8, 2016. However, it is unclear why he was targeted. Human Rights Watch has speculated that his 2014 demonstration outside a Heilongjiang police bureau demanding access to his client and/or the fact that he is the brother of Li Heping, another prominent rights lawyer, may have been the cause.

Li Chunfu was released on bail on January 5, 2017 and returned home to Beijing on January 12, 2017. Reports indicate that throughout the entirety of his 17 months (more than 500 days) in detention, his lawyers were precluded from meeting with him and denied access to his case materials.

Reports further indicate that Li Chunfu’s mental health has been jeopardized as a result of his detention. It appears that the once tough, lively human rights lawyer is now fearful and paranoid. When he first arrived home, he was too afraid to enter; once he did, he was too afraid to leave. Soon after his abrupt release, a Beijing psychiatric hospital gave him a tentative diagnosis of schizophrenia. Family friends have also reported that he has displayed aggressive behaviour towards his wife.

Li Chunfu’s current condition raises concerns over the treatment and well-being of lawyers and others who have been or are being detained by Chinese authorities. The Chinese government has a long and well-documented history of torturing or otherwise abusing human rights lawyers and defenders held in custody. Beatings, prolonged sleep deprivation, indefinite isolation and threats to one’s family are common techniques employed by Chinese authorities, all of which can cause long-term physical and psychological harm.

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503790

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503790&langtype=1036

Colombia: The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the murder of lawyer Jhon Fredy Concha Valbuena and the attempted murder of lawyer Jorge Enrique Belalcázar Gutierrez in Colombia

May 10, 2017

The Law Society of Upper Canada

The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the murder of lawyer Jhon Fredy Concha Valbuena and the attempted murder of lawyer Jorge Enrique Belalcázar Gutierrez in Colombia.

It has come to the Law Society’s attention that on January 24, 2017, criminal lawyer Jhon Fredy Concha Valbuena was shot dead by sicarios (hired assassins) outside his home in the city of Cali. Reports indicate that at the time of his death, Jhon Fredy Concha Valbuena was representing three individuals accused of kidnapping twelve congressmen (eleven of whom later died) in 2002. The accused are members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (“FARC”), Colombia’s largest rebel group. Additionally, just prior to his death, Jhon Fredy Concha Valbuena had successfully defended and secured the freedom of a group of people accused of illegal mining in the Cauca River.

On February 1, 2017, criminal lawyer Jorge Enrique Belalcázar Gutierrez was shot in the shoulder by a sicario while driving his vehicle in the San Nicolás neighbourhood of the city of Cali. According to reports, Jorge Enrique Belalcázar Gutierrez had previously been denied protection by Colombia’s National Protection Unit.

The Law Society of Upper Canada is deeply concerned about the mounting violence against lawyers in Colombia and urges the Government of Colombia to comply with Colombia’s obligations under international human rights laws, including the United Nations’ Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503792&langtype=1033

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503792&langtype=1036 (FRANCAIS)

Kazakhstan: The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the arrest, conviction and detention of lawyer Talgat Ayanov in Kazakhstan

May 10, 2017

The Law Society of Upper Canada

The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the arrest, conviction and detention of lawyer Talgat Ayanov in Kazakhstan.

Talgat Ayanov is a lawyer and activist from Atyrau, Western Kazakhstan. He played a crucial role in organizing peaceful protests that took place last April and May in response to the November 2015 amendments to the Land Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan (the “Land Code”).

In April and May 2016, hundreds of citizens gathered to call for the abolition of the above-noted Land Code amendments. In early May 2016, Talgat Ayanov promoted and encouraged participation in a rally that was to occur on the 21st of that month. Consequently, on May 17, 2016, he was arrested and sentenced to 15 days of administrative detention for “organizing an unsanctioned assembly”.

On May 31, 2016, one day before the end date of his administrative detention, Talgat Ayanov was charged with the offence of “propaganda or public calls for seizure of power or retention of power or violent change of the constitutional order”. Later, on July 21, 2016, this charge was replaced with “institution of social discord”, “dissemination of knowingly false information” and “violation of the procedure of organization and holding of meetings, rallies, pickets, street processions and demonstrations”. Additionally, on June 3, 2016, he was remanded for two months to pre-trial detention; the pre-trial detention was subsequently extended on August 27, 2016.

Talgat Ayanov’s trial commenced on October 12, 2016. On November 28, 2016, he was convicted and sentenced to five years in a penal colony and prohibited from engaging in social activities for three years upon his release. The sentence was appealed on December 9, 2016, but upheld on January 20, 2017. It appears that Talgat Ayanov intends to further appeal to the Supreme Court.

On January 30, 2017, Talgat Ayanov’s family received notice that he would be transferred to the Penal Colony of Petropavlovsk in Northern Kazakhstan to serve his sentence. Initially, he was to serve his sentence in the penal colony located in Atyrau, his place of residence. Kazakhstani law mandates that convicts be incarcerated near their place of residence. The Penal Colony of Petropavlovsk is located 1,500 km from Atyrau. Thus, it would appear that Talgat Ayanov’s transfer is illegal and indefensible.

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503794

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503794&langtype=1036 (FRANCAIS)

Pakistan: The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the murder of lawyer Muhammad Jan Gigyani in Pakistan

May 10, 2017

The Law Society of Upper Canada

The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the murder of lawyer Muhammad Jan Gigyani in Pakistan.

Reports indicate that on March 4, 2017, Muhammad Jan Gigyani, a senior lawyer and a provincial council member of the secular Qaumi Watan Party (“QWP”), was murdered by two armed, unknown assailants in Shabqadar, a small town located near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. According to reports, he – accompanied by his nephew and two other lawyers – was driving to the local court when two gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire on his vehicle before fleeing. According to the local police, Muhammad Jan Gigyani was critically wounded and died on his way to the hospital. His nephew was also seriously injured; the two other lawyers were not physically injured.

Shortly thereafter, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (“JuA”), a banned militant group responsible for many of the recent militant attacks in Pakistan, claimed responsibility for the killing in a statement issued to local media.

Muhammad Jan Gigyani, a long-time advocate for the rights of the poorest members of society, was well respected by local people for speaking out on important issues and regularly worked on cases relating to labour and women’s rights. He was one of the lawyers that had survived the suicide bomb attack at the Shabqaddar courts on March 7, 2016. In honour of Muhammad Jan Gigyani, lawyers across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province boycotted courts and observed a day of mourning on March 6, 2017.

The Law Society of Upper Canada is deeply troubled by the murder of Muhammad Jan Gigyani.  We urge the Government of Pakistan to comply with Pakistan’s obligations under international human rights laws, including the United Nations’ Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503795&langtype=1033

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503795&langtype=1036 (FRANCAIS)

The Philippines: The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the murder of lawyer Mia Mascariñas-Green in the Philippines

May 10, 2017

The Law Society of Upper Canada

The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the murder of lawyer Mia Mascariñas-Green in the Philippines.

Mia Mascariñas-Green was a public interest lawyer who was known for her work and advocacy on behalf of women, children, farmers, fisherfolk and the environment. She often took on cases and represented clients pro bono.

According to reports, on February 15, 2017, Mia Mascariñas-Green was gunned down by four men on motorcycles while driving home with her three children and a nanny. Although her children and their nanny were unharmed, Mia Mascariñas-Green was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Police believe that the assassination is tied to Mia Mascariñas-Green’s legal work, as she was working on a contentious land dispute case at the time of her death.

The Law Society is deeply troubled by these reports. We strongly believe that lawyers should be able to carry out their professional duties and activities without fear for their lives, liberty and security.

The Law Society of Upper Canada urges the Government of the Philippines to comply with the Philippines’ obligations under international human rights laws, including the United Nations’ Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503796

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503796&langtype=1036 (FRANCAIS)

Crimea/Russia: The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the arrest and administrative conviction of lawyer Emil Kurbedinov in Crimea

May 10, 2017

The Law Society of Upper Canada

The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the arrest and administrative conviction of lawyer Emil Kurbedinov in Crimea.

Emil Kurbedinov is a vocal human rights lawyer based in Crimea. Since the occupation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, he has actively defended Crimean Tatars, journalists and civil society activists. He has also drawn attention to human rights violations in Crimea through the use of social media, participation in international conferences and reports to international human rights organizations.

Reports indicate that on the morning of January 26, 2017, Emil Kurbedinov was detained by a group of masked and armed representatives of Crimea’s Centre for Counteracting Extremism and taken to a local directorate of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) for interrogation. Following his arrest, Emil Kurbedinov’s office was searched and all electronic equipment seized. That same day, the Zheleznodorozhny district court of Simferopol found him guilty of “propagandizing for extremist organizations” and sentenced him to ten days of administrative detention.

The charge and conviction have been attributed to a social media post Emil Kurbedinov made on June 6, 2013. According to the court, the impugned post, a video recording of Hizb ut Tahrir  demonstrations which took place in Crimea in 2013, displayed “symbols of the terrorist organization ‘Hizb ut Tahrir’”. While Hizb ut Tahrir is not a prohibited organization under Ukrainian law, it was deemed a terrorist organization by the Russian Supreme Court in 2003.

The Law Society is troubled by Emil Kurbedinov’s situation and urges the Government of Russia to comply with Russia’s obligations under international human rights laws, including the United Nations’ Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503797

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503797&langtype=1036 (FRANCAIS)