Daily Archives: 19/05/2017

USA: DOJ Threatens Immigration Rights Lawyers, Demands They Drop Their Clients

May 19, 2017

If you can’t beat ’em, bully them with cease and desist letters and trumped up disciplinary accusations. That’s apparently the new motto down at the DOJ, where the government is lashing out at the immigration rights attorneys who stymied the administration’s efforts to implement their travel ban. And it’s not just non-profit groups — though those are the first lawyers getting hit — the clever, if diabolical, argument Justice has cooked up could be launched to shut down Biglaw attorneys working pro bono matters next. They may have stumbled out of the gate, but this Justice Department came to play hardball, folks.

In a piece posted this morning over at The Nation, Rachel Tiven discusses the plight of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP), a non-profit group that offers assistance to people facing deportation hearings. After volunteering their services to fight the Muslim travel ban, NWIRP received a stern cease and desist letter from DOJ directing them to close up their asylum advisory services and drop all their clients. As one might imagine, it’s not something the government can usually order defense attorneys to do, but the government found a loophole to exploit:

It’s a Kafkaesque system: The government won’t provide immigrant defendants with legal representation, and they are allowed to get help for free only if they find a lawyer who will commit up-front to a case that will stretch on for years. Otherwise, they’re not allowed to have any help at all, are required to submit complex legal documents with no assistance, and lawyers who try to help them will be sanctioned.

You’ve got to hand it to them, this is a pretty novel idea. Because too many unscrupulous immigration attorneys robbed their clients blind and then abandoned them, the government imposed regulations to keep the field honest. Unfortunately, those regulations can be twisted to shut out providers of free legal services.

NWIRP took the DOJ to court and won a reprieve on Wednesday, when Judge Richard A. Jones — for the record, yet another George W. Bush appointee who has sided against this administration on its immigration shenanigans — granted the TRO they requested to enjoin the DOJ. But as Tiven’s piece notes, if Sessions manages to ultimately prevail, the non-profits are just the beginning of the crackdown that would ensue:







Burma: Court Rejects New Arrest Warrant in U Ko Ni Murder Trial

May 19, 2017

The Rangoon Division High Court rejected a petition from a lawyer in the U Ko Ni murder trial requesting a new arrest warrant be issued in Naypyidaw for fugitive Aung Win Khaing on Friday.

Lawyer U Nay La—representing the family of the National League for Democracy’s (NLD) assassinated legal adviser U Ko Ni—presented the criminal revision to the divisional court on April 28.

Aung Win Khaing is suspected of involvement in the murder but remains at large. He was last seen in Naypyidaw, according to CCTV footage.

Prominent Muslim lawyer U Ko Ni was shot by gunman Kyi Lin outside Yangon International Airport on the afternoon of Jan. 29. Police have put forward four suspects: gunman 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 the court ruled against the move.

Last month at the divisional court, he 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.


Crimea: Emil Kurbedinov – 2017 Award Finalist Video

May 19, 2017

Emil Kurbedinov is a Crimean Tatar and human rights lawyer. Since the occupation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, Emil has been defending the persecuted Crimean Tatar minority, civil society activists and journalists. He also provides emergency response and documentation of rights violations during raids and searches of activists’ homes.

In January 2017, masked representatives from Crimea’s Centre for Counteracting Extremism detained Emil and took him to a local directorate of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) for interrogation. A district court found him guilty of “spreading propaganda for extremist organisations” and sentenced him to ten days in detention.

(Front Line Defenders Facebook)



le 18 mais, 2017

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A l’issue de sa réunion extraordinaire de ce jeudi 18 mai 2017, le Conseil de l’Ordre du Barreau de Kinshasa/Gombe me charge d’informer les Avocats en général et ceux du Barreau de Kinshasa/Gombe en particulier que le Confrère Gustave KINGOMA SANZADI, avocat au Barreau de Kinshasa/Gombe, a spectaculairement été enlevé le mardi 16 mai 2017, vers 21 heures, sur l’avenue de la justice, en diagonale du restaurant villa TRICANA dans la Commune de la Gombe par les éléments de la Police Nationale Congolaise, sur instigation de Monsieur Augustin MATATA PONYO MAPON, ancien Premier Ministre, au motif que le Confrère aurait effectué des retraits des sommes d’argent sur le compte d’une Fondation sans en avoir été autorisé.

Le Barreau de Kinshasa/Gombe dénonce et déplore cet enlèvement et la détention qui s’en est suivie, opérés en violation de toutes les règles de procédure.

Il est demandé à tous les avocats de rester attentifs et mobilisés pour des actions futures à mener en vue de faire respecter le droit et la loi.
Fait à Kinshasa, le 18 mai 2017

Le Bâtonnier,






Israel: Israeli human rights lawyer in detention without defence or trial, a victim of judicial abuse

May 18, 2017

Arbitrary detention in Israel

An Israeli human rights lawyer who for over seven years wrote to the United Nations requesting help for children and families damaged by Israeli judicial corruption is now himself a victim of illegal arrest and detention.

Zvi Zer’s impending trial in September this year will be a field day for public officials, including judges and social workers, who have been exposed by two bloggers and by Mr Zer.

On 27 February Israeli police carried out a wave of arrests of activists, some of whom were interrogated and subsequently detained, while others were put under house arrest and had limitations imposed on their use of the internet.

Of those who were detained, three were kept in detention – two bloggers and the human rights lawyer, Mr Zer, described in the Israeli mainstream media as “a cyber terror gang”. The initial flurry of media attention showed that, in the eyes of the elite, the prisoners were already guilty.

After 40 days of interrogations, 91 charges were lodged against the activists, who are accused of insulting public officials. Mr Zer faces 41 charges of conspiracy with the bloggers. The decision was made to hold the prisoners in detention until the end of proceedings – January 2018.


China: When Chinese Rights Activists Were Jailed, Their Wives Fought Back

May 18, 2017

Before her husband disappeared into detention, Chen Guiqiu did not ask him much about his risky work as a Chinese human rights lawyer. Before word crept out that he had been tortured, Ms. Chen trusted the police. Before she was told she could not leave China, she never expected she would make a perilous escape abroad.

Ms. Chen and her two daughters reached the United States in March after an overland journey to Thailand that almost ended in their deportation back to China. Her husband, Xie Yang, was tried and convicted this month of subversion and disrupting a court. But Ms. Chen said her escape was the culmination of a personal transformation that began after he was detained almost two years ago.

“It was because of all the pressure from all sides — from state security police, my employer — and slowly I lost commitment and hope,” Ms. Chen said in a telephone interview from her temporary home in Texas. “I was always being followed. I felt I was living without freedom.”

Ms. Chen’s evolution was part of a startling outcome of China’s crackdown on outspoken rights lawyers and advocates that began in July 2015 — the spouses who resisted. She and other wives of rights advocates held in China described their experiences to a congressional subcommittee in Washington on Thursday.