Daily Archives: 23/05/2017

Egypt: Lawyer Khaled Ali detained overnight amid crackdown on political opposition figures

May 23, 2017

Prominent lawyer and founder of the Bread and Freedom Party Khaled Ali was questioned by Dokki prosecution on Tuesday and held overnight, pending further investigations into his use of “an indecent hand gesture” after court proceedings over the ceding of Tiran and Sanafir islands to Saudi Arabia, his lawyer told Mada Masr.

No formal charges have been brought against Ali at this point, and his lawyers say there is no legal basis for his detention.

A source who spoke to Mada Masr on condition of anonymity said the prosecution refused to present Ali with the evidence against him, and that he responded by using his right to remain silent throughout the investigation.

Ali is being held at Dokki police station and has been refused access to his lawyers, lawyer Sameh Samir said.

Ali’s detention comes amid a wave of over 30 arrests in recent weeks, targeting members of oppositional groups and parties.

http://www.madamasr.com/en/2017/05/23/news/u/lawyer-khaled-ali-detained-overnight-amid-crackdown-on-political-opposition-figures/

http://www.madamasr.com/en/2017/05/22/feature/politics/arrests-of-political-opposition-continues-former-presidential-candidate-khaled-ali-summoned-for-questioning/

http://www.egyptindependent.com/prominent-lawyer-khalid-ali-investigated-establishing-unauthorized-political-party/

http://www.euronews.com/2017/05/23/egypt-orders-detention-of-ex-presidential-candidate-lawyer

http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=83262

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-4534690/Prominent-Egypt-rights-lawyer-detained.html

http://www.nydailynews.com/newswires/news/world/presidential-candidate-egypt-ordered-detained-article-1.3189350

http://www.nasdaq.com/article/egypt-orders-detention-of-expresidential-candidate–lawyer-20170523-01054

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/269410/Egypt/Politics-/Prominent-Egyptian-rights-lawyer-Khaled-Ali-detain.aspx

http://www.firstpost.com/world/egypt-orders-detention-of-ex-presidential-candidate-lawyer-reuters-3474586.html

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/05/23/likely-presidential-candidate-in-egypt-ordered-detained.html

https://egyptianstreets.com/2017/05/23/rights-lawyer-and-former-presidential-candidate-khaled-ali-arrested-pending-investigations/

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-egypt-politics-idUSKBN18J2E8

https://www.zonebourse.com/actualite-bourse/Egypte-Arrestation-d-un-opposant-ancien-candidat-a-la-presidence–24474193/ (FRANCAIS)

http://apanews.net/index.php/fr/news/arrestation-dun-avocat-ancien-candidat-a-la-presidentielle-egyptienne (FRANCAIS)

Cameroon: CONTINUATION OF TRIAL OF LAWYER FELIX NKONGHO AGBOR BALLA et al MAY 24th

May 23, 2017

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JOIN US TOMORROW, May 24th 2017, at the military tribunal, to witness just another hearing of these gentlemen. We will be bringing info on whatever transpires therein to those who can’t make it, in real time. We continue to pray for their release as a key way-forward towards as we all search for peaceful and lasting solution of the ongoing crisis.
Meanwhile, Justice Ayah Paul Abine and about 15 others are at SED, yet to know what the future holds for them. You all will hear from us in real time.

(Ayah Ayah Facebook)

Cameroon: Conseil Supérieur de la Magistrature: Les sujets que vont aborder Paul Biya et les magistrats

le 16 mai, 2017

Outre les sujets liés à la crise anglophone, le conseil va tabler sur des cas particuliers de certains magistrats.

On le sait depuis quelques jours, le prochain Conseil Supérieur de la Magistrature (CSM) se tiendra se tiendra le 7 juin 2017 sur convocation de Paul Biya. Ledit conseil s’est réuni pour la dernière fois en décembre 2014. A l’époque, les travaux avaient débouché sur la mise en retraite de deux monuments de la magistrature au Cameroun : Alexis Dipanda Mouelle et Rissouk A Moulong. Le premier était jusque-là, premier président de la Cour Suprême tandis que le second était premier procureur général près ladite cour.

C’est dire que trois ans après, le prochain CSM est très attendu. L’Œil du Sahel du 15 mai 2017 croit savoir que Paul Biya et les magistrats membres de ce conseil, vont débattre de six sujets au total. Le premier est relatif au départ des magistrats francophones des zones anglophones. L’une des revendications portées par les avocats du Common law en début de la crise anglophone.

Le 2è point sur la table, pourrait-être, indique le journal, le cas du magistrat Paul Ayah Abine, détenu depuis plus de 100 jours au Secrétariat d’Etat à la Défense à Yaoundé dans le cadre de la crise anglophone. Notre confrère écrit qu’il « pourrait tout simplement être mis à la retraite. Le stratagème ici a essentiellement pour but de le reverser dans la catégorie du ‘‘citoyen ordinaire’’. Ainsi, il pourrait être jugé sans qu’on soit obligé d’observer la procédure complexe du privilège de juridiction ».

Le trihebdomadaire note que ce n’est pourtant pas la solution au problème, puisque de nombreux magistrats, anglophones et francophones sont solidaires de leur collègue.

http://www.cameroon-info.net/article/cameroun-conseil-superieur-de-la-magistrature-les-sujets-que-vont-aborder-paul-biya-et-288891.html

http://www.camer.be/60160/6:1/cameroun-conseil-superieur-de-la-magistrature-les-enjeux-de-la-reunion-du-07-juin-cameroon.html

http://www.camer.be/60232/6:1/cameroun-conseil-superieur-de-la-magistrature-vers-la-radiation-dayah-paul-abine-g-cameroon.html

Thailand/Egypt: BRAVEVITI: GRAFFITI ARTISTS, RIGHTS FIGHTERS IN BANGKOK THIS WEEK

May 22, 2017

A Bangkok lawyer, Khmer activist, Egyptian feminist and more will converge at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre this week as artists and human rights activists will come down in Bangkok for art, music and talks.

Following Amnesty International’s global campaign Brave launched earlier this week, Braveviti will be held in Bangkok this week featuring graffiti, music and presence of human rights defenders from in and out Thailand.

The opening event on Tuesday features those people who stand up for their rights who will sit down for panel discussion on Tuesday. They include the Finnish transgender activist Sakris Kupila, Phnom Penh’s land rights activist Tep Vanny, Egyptian feminist Azza Soliman and Bangkok attorney Sirikan “June” Charoensiri.

Other highlight includes the local graffiti artists Chun “CSM” Smith and Jecks who will paint their art on the walls and the works will be on showcase from Tuesday through May 28.

Amnesty International launched its Brave campaign worldwide on Tuesday calling for human rights defenders to be recognized and protected under a safer environment as the situation has worsened: 281 people killed last year for defending human rights, up from 156 in 2015.

The event will start at 4pm at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre. The city’s contemporary art venue is best reached by skywalk from BTS National Stadium.

http://www.khaosodenglish.com/life/arts/2017/05/22/braveviti-graffiti-artists-rights-fighters-bangkok-next-week/

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/killings-human-rights-activists-nearly-doubled-year-new-report-and-campaign

Turkey: Developments in the trial against human rights lawyer Levent Pişkin

May 19, 2017

OMCT LogoOMCT logo

URGENT APPEAL THE OBSERVATORY

New information

TUR 007 / 1116 / OBS 097.3

Judicial harassment

Turkey
May 19, 2017

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Turkey.

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by its trial observers about yesterday’s developments in the trial against Mr. Levent Pişkin, a human rights lawyer belonging to the Association of Lawyers for Freedom (Ozgurlukcu Hukukcular Dernegi – OHD), a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual and Intersexed (LGBTI) rights activist, and a member of the Justice Commission of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP)[1].

According to the information received, during the May-18 hearing which was monitored by an Observatory trial observation mission, the Heavy Penal Court in Bursa heard the case against Mr. Levent Pişkin on charges of “undermining the image of Turkey” and “support to a terrorist group” (Article 7 of the Anti-Terror Law – ATL and Article 314 of the Turkish Penal Code). The defendant is criminalised for fulfilling his duties as an attorney, in particular for being part of the lawyers team of HDP co-chair Mr. Selahattin Demirtaş (see background information).

During the May-18 hearing, the accusation upheld the argument of the investigators, who had considered during the pre-trial stage that a meeting between Mr. Demirtaş’ lawyers, where they had decided to share the costs of their dinner, was amounting to “financial support to terrorism”.

The accusation went on alleging that interviews given by Mr. Pişkin to international media, notably Der Spiegel, had contributed to “undermining the image of Turkey”.

In turn, Mr. Levent Pişkin’s lawyers demonstrated that the investigations against the defendant violated the principles of the due process and rule of law, in particular in terms of fairness and impartiality, relying on provisions of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) and on relevant case-law from the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). Several activists were present in the courtroom in a sign of support to Mr. Pişkin.

The next hearing was set for November 30, 2017. Mr. Pişkin remains free but under judicial supervision.

http://www.omct.org/human-rights-defenders/urgent-interventions/turkey/2017/05/d24350/

 

 

Hong Kong/China: The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the charges against law professor Benny Tai in China (Hong Kong)

May 19, 2017

The Law Society of Upper Canada

The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the charges against law professor Benny Tai in China (Hong Kong).

Benny Tai is an associate professor of law at the University of Hong Kong and was one of the panelists at the Law Society’s Asian and South Asian Heritage Month event in 2016. He received widespread media attention in January 2013 when he proposed the Occupy Central with Love and Peace campaign (“Occupy Central”). Occupy Central (also known as the “Umbrella Movement”) was a civil disobedience movement that took place in Hong Kong between September 28, 2014 and December 15, 2014. It called on protesters to block roads and paralyze the city’s financial district if the Chinese and local governments failed to implement universal suffrage for the 2017 Chief Executive and the 2020 Legislative Council elections in Hong Kong in accordance with “international standards”.

It has come to the Law Society’s attention that on March 27, 2017, Professor Tai and eight other activists were formally charged for their leadership roles in the Occupy Central protests. Professor Tai is facing the common law charges of “inciting others to create a public nuisance”, “inciting others to incite more people to create a public nuisance”, and “conspiring to create a public nuisance”. Each of these charges carries a maximum penalty of seven years in prison.

Professor Tai and others believe that political considerations may have played a role in the sudden decision to prosecute the leaders of Occupy Central, especially in light of the fact that the charges were brought just one day after the date of the Chief Executive election. Meanwhile, international watchdogs, such as Amnesty International and Freedom House, have condemned the prosecutions.

The Law Society is deeply concerned about Professor Tai’s situation and urges the Government of China to comply with China’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=2147503815&langtype=1033

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503815&langtype=1036 (FRANCAIS)

https://www.hongkongfp.com/2017/03/28/hong-kong-occupy-leader-benny-tai-willing-plea-guilty-police-crack-pro-democracy-figures/

http://www.thestandard.com.hk/section-news.php?id=182120

http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/politics/article/2082841/nine-occupy-protesters-facing-rarely-sought-charges-hong

Cameroon: The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the arrest and detention of Justice Paul Ayah Abine in Cameroon

May 19, 2017

The Law Society of Upper Canada

The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the arrest and detention of Justice Paul Ayah Abine in Cameroon.

It has come to the Law Society’s attention that on January 21, 2017, Justice Paul Ayah Abine, a sitting judge on the Supreme Court of Cameroon, was arrested at his home in the city Yaoundé by six heavily armed men from the Secretariat of State for Defence (“SED”). The men, who had no arrest warrant, threatened violence if the Justice attempted to resist. The Justice was also prevented from making or receiving any calls during his arrest. Subsequently, fellow judges at the Supreme Court have openly denounced the arrest of their colleague on the grounds that the arrest contravened various provisions of Cameroon’s Code of Criminal Procedure.

Reports indicate that Justice Paul Ayah Abine has continued to face procedural issues in the months that followed his arrest. For instance, authorities failed to promptly serve documents pertaining to the Justice’s case and relay the charges brought against him to his lawyers. Rather, it was only at the Justice’s first court appearance on March 16, 2017 that both he and his lawyers learned that he was facing charges of terrorism, secession, “rebellion against the State” and “propagation of false information”.

All of the habeas corpus applications that have been made before various courts (including the Supreme Court of Cameroon), seeking the immediate release of Justice Paul Ayah Abine from unlawful detention, have been denied. Consequently, the Justice, whose health is reportedly deteriorating, continues to be held in detention.

It is widely believed that the Justice’s arrest and ongoing pre-trial detention is connected to his advocacy for Anglophone rights in Cameroon. The Justice was a supporter of the now-defunct Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium (“CACSC”). The CACSC was outlawed by the government on January 17, 2017, which was also the date on which its President, lawyer Felix Agbor Balla, was arrested. The Law Society intervened on behalf of Felix Agbor Balla in February 2017.

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503814

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503814&langtype=1036 (FRANCAIS)

Turkey: The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the conviction of lawyer Muharrem Erbey in Turkey

May 19, 2017

The Law Society of Upper Canada

The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the conviction of lawyer Muharrem Erbey in Turkey.

Muharrem Erbey is a human rights lawyer, former Vice-President of the Human Rights Association (IHD) and former Chairperson of IHD Diyarbakır. The Law Society first intervened on his behalf in June 2014, after he was arrested and charged with “being a member of an illegal organization”. The organization in question is the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK), which is alleged to be the “urban branch” of the armed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

It has come to the Law Society’s attention that on March 28, 2017, Muharrem Erbey was convicted of the above-noted charge and sentenced to six years and three months in prison. He has since filed an appeal.

Human rights organizations believe that Muharrem Erbey’s conviction is linked to his activities as a high-profile human rights lawyer and is intended to criminalize peaceful dissent as well as Kurdish political and cultural expression.

The Law Society of Upper Canada urges the Government of Turkey to comply with Turkey’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=2147503817

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503817&langtype=1036 (FRANCAIS)

Egypt: The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the conviction of lawyer Mohamed Ramadan in Egypt

May 19, 2017

The Law Society of Upper Canada

The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the conviction of lawyer Mohamed Ramadan in Egypt.

Mohamed Ramadan is a human rights lawyer whose work includes the representation of human rights defenders, political prisoners and victims of police brutality. He is a former member of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (“ANHRI”). The ANHRI is a non-governmental organization devoted to promoting freedom of expression across the Middle East and North Africa. Based in Cairo, Egypt, the organization focuses on supporting free expression and assisting persons detained for expressing their personal views. It also advocates against censorship by Arab governments.

It has come to the Law Society’s attention that on April 12, 2017, Mohamed Ramadan was summarily found guilty of “insulting the president, misusing social media, and inciting violence”. Consequently, he was sentenced to ten years in prison, following which he is to be placed under house arrest and banned from using the internet for a five-year period. The conviction was rendered on the allegation that by creating Facebook pages which featured publications and sentiments with the potential to disrupt public order, Mohamed Ramadan incited terrorism, harmed national unity and social peace, and weakened the public’s trust in the ruling regime.

According to Mohamed Ramadan and his lawyers, the case against him has been fabricated by Egyptian authorities as a direct response to his work on behalf of victims of torture by the Egyptian police. Such an inference could be drawn from the fact that the evidence used against him in court consisted of posts published on fake Facebook profiles that had been created by a third party for the purposes of impersonating Mohamed Ramadan without his knowledge or consent. Moreover, all but one of the witnesses who testified against him were representatives of the Egyptian police force.

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503816

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503816&langtype=1036 (FRANCAIS)

Burma: The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the harassment of lawyer Robert Sann Aung in Myanmar

May 19, 2017

The Law Society of Upper Canada

The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the harassment of lawyer Robert Sann Aung in Myanmar.

Robert Sann Aung is a well-known human rights lawyer and activist in Myanmar. He is a former prisoner of conscience who has been imprisoned six times for his peaceful political and human rights activities. His defence of peaceful political activists, who were charged by the former military government, led the authorities to revoke his law licence in 1993. Since it was reinstated in 2012, Robert Sann Aung has continued to represent human rights defenders and activists charged in politically motivated cases, as well as victims of human rights violations and their family members. His clients have included human rights defenders, student activists, protestors of a contested copper mine and people whose lands have been confiscated by the military. He was a 2015 finalist for the prestigious Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders.

It has come to the Law Society’s attention that Robert Sann Aung has been receiving regular death threats, insulting messages and disturbing phone calls since the assassination of lawyer U Ko Ni on January 29, 2017. In one such phone call, he was threatened with: “Aren’t you afraid to die? You will be the next person who will be killed.” These messages and phone calls (some of which are from international numbers) mostly occur between the hours of 10 pm and 12 am, and frequently warn him not to reform Myanmar’s military-drafted 2008 Constitution. Robert Sann Aung is an advocate of constitutional reform and has previously made social media posts and given a media interview in which he discussed the issue.

In addition to receiving threatening phone calls and messages, Robert Sann Aung is being monitored by Myanmar’s security forces. According to him, as he was traveling back to Mandalay on December 19, 2016, he was approached by a man wearing civilian clothes in the airport in Bhamo Township, Kachin State. The man claimed to be from Military Intelligence, but gave no evidence to substantiate the claim. Since then, the man has waited for Robert Sann Aung at the airport and followed him until he boarded his connecting flight on four separate occasions. Robert Sann Aung further reports that people surveil his home and the local teashop he frequents at least twice a week.

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503819&langtype=1033

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503819&langtype=1036 (FRANCAIS)