Daily Archives: 17/06/2017

Cameroon/Pakistan/LRWC: Oral Statement: Human Rights situations that require the Council’s attention | Oral Statement to the 35th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

June 16, 2017

Oral Statement to the 35th Session of the UN Human Rights Council from Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), NGO in special consultative status

Pakistan and Cameroon: Systematic failure to ensure protection of lawyers and defenders

Mr. President:

Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada is gravely concerned about situations in Pakistan and Cameroon requiring the Council’s attention due to systematic failure to ensure protection of lawyers and human rights defenders.

In Pakistan, hundreds of jurists, court officials and defenders have been attacked and summarily executed by armed non-state individuals or mobs over the past decade including dozens killed in the past year alone. Pakistan has failed to exercise its duty to investigate and remedy these attacks and has failed to provide effective protective measures.[1]

In Cameroon, dozens of civilians, including jurists, academics, journalists and other defenders are being taken before a military tribunal in violation of international human rights law. Denied fair trial rights, they face capital charges for exercising rights to freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly and political participation.[2]

For defenders in both Pakistan and Cameroon, there has been no access to effective remedies for these violations. Also, within existing mechanisms of the UN human rights system there appears to be no means by which victims or their advocates can obtain recommendations for protective or remedial measures[3] on an urgent basis.

http://www.lrwc.org/oral-statement-human-rights-situations-that-require-the-councils-attention-oral-statement-to-the-35th-session-of-the-un-human-rights-council/

Burma: No justice for slain Myanmar lawyer Ko Ni

June 17, 2017

This photograph taken on November 10, 2013 shows Muslim lawyer Ko Ni delivering a public address on amending Myanmar's 2008 constitution, as senior National League for Democracy (NLD) party patron Tin Oo (R) listens, in Yangon.   Thousands of mourners gathered on January 30, 2017 to bury Ko Ni, a top Muslim lawyer and adviser to Aung San Suu Kyi, who was gunned down outside Yangon airport in what the ruling party called a political assassination. / AFP PHOTO / Hong Sar

Contributor Bertil Lintner knew intimately the ruling National League for Democracy’s top legal advisor and his plan to enact a more democratic constitution

Four months since Ko Ni, one of Myanmar’s most prominent and talented lawyers, was assassinated in broad daylight outside Yangon’s airport and local authorities are not any closer to solving the case. The gunman, Kyi Lin, was apprehended only because furious taxi drivers parked outside the airport chased and apprehended him.

An antique smuggler from Mandalay, Kyi Lin had obviously been hired to kill on the fateful day of January 29. But the person who has been named as the possible mastermind of the plot, a former army officer known as Aung Win Khaing, vanished without a trace in the capital Naypyitaw after the killing — quite a feat given the military-built city’s vast, almost empty streets and scattered building complexes.

The ineptitude of the investigation has been matched only by misleading reports in the Western media. Nearly all major Western publications, including the Economist, the Financial Times, the New York Times and the Washington Post, dwelled on Ko Ni’s religion, Islam, as a probable motive.

The Economist called Ko Ni a “prominent defender of religious minorities”, while the Financial Times described him as “one of Myanmar’s most prominent Muslim voices.” The BBC even linked their account of the killing to its previous reports on the persecution of minority Muslim Rohingyas in western Rakhine State.

http://www.atimes.com/article/no-justice-slain-myanmar-lawyer-ko-ni/

http://www.lrwc.org/oral-statement-interactive-dialogue-with-the-special-rapporteur-on-myanmar-joint-oral-statement-to-the-35th-session-of-the-un-human-rights-council/

http://frontiermyanmar.net/en/the-patriots-exploiting-religion-who-want-a-return-to-junta-rule

Egypt: Human Rights Lawyer Tarek Hussein Arrested and Detained

June 17, 2017

Image may contain: 1 person

Egyptian police stormed the house of lawyer and human rights activist Tarek Hussein, arrested him and have taken him to an unknown location.
#الحرية_لطارق_حسين
#Free_Tarek_Hussein

(Facebook)

منذ قليل .. داهمت قوات الأمن منزل المحامي طارق حسين (طارق تيتو) وقاموا بإلقاء القبض عليه.

(Egyptian Center for Economic & Social Rights Facebook)

http://www.idhae.org/observatoire-fr-page4.1.egy170617.htm (FRANCAIS)

https://egyptianstreets.com/2017/06/06/from-political-prisoner-to-rights-defender-the-story-of-egyptian-tarek-hussein/

https://www.icj.org/call-for-strong-action-on-egypt-at-the-un-human-rights-council/

http://www.omct.org/human-rights-defenders/urgent-interventions/egypt/2017/06/d24389/

https://www.agenzianova.com/a/0/1588953/2017-06-17/egitto-delusione-tra-gli-attivisti-per-fallimento-proteste-contro-cessione-isole-tiran-e-sanafir-2 (ITALIANO)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-40313267

UPDATE: **BREAKING** He was released on June 18th on a 2000 EGP bail.

France: Monsieur le Président : Serez-vous le garant des droits de la défense ?

le 16 juin, 2017

Le Club de Mediapart

Des avocats, des magistrats, des journalistes, des membres de la société civile alertent le Président Emmanuel Macron et l’opinion publique, suite au placement en garde à vue de Jérôme Kerviel et de son avocat David Koubbi, pour avoir utilisé en défense des enregistrements qui dévoilent de graves dysfonctionnements judiciaires.

Nous avocats, magistrats, gens de justice et citoyens, en appelons à l’opinion publique à la suite du placement en garde à vue de David Koubbi, avocat à la Cour d’appel de Paris le jeudi 8 juin 2017.

Au moment où les Français expriment leur profond désir de renouvellement des comportements de la vie publique, nous ne pouvons nous accommoder de pratiques judiciaires d’un autre temps, portant atteinte aux droits élémentaires de la défense.

Sont en jeux les droits fondamentaux garantis à chaque citoyen, dont les avocats et l’ensemble du personnel judiciaire sont les premiers défenseurs.

David Koubbi a été amené dans le cadre de la défense de son client, en audience publique, et avec l’accord exprès du Président de la Cour d’appel de Versailles, à produire les enregistrements d’une conversation tenue entre le Commandant Nathalie Le Roy, Officier de Police Judiciaire et Madame Chantal De Leiris, Vice Procureur au parquet financier de Paris en charge des plaintes déposées contre SOCIETE GENERALE.

Ces enregistrements ont été remis par le Commandant Le Roy à David Koubbi, ès qualité.

https://blogs.mediapart.fr/edition/les-invites-de-mediapart/article/160617/monsieur-le-president-serez-vous-le-garant-des-droits-de-la-defense

Ghana: Lawyers advertising on social media is distasteful – CJ nominee

June 16, 2017

The Chief Justice nominee, Justice Sophia Akuffo, says she is against the practice of lawyers advertising their services on social media.

She described the practice as “distasteful” which she said amounts to “touting”, which is abhorred by the bar.

There has been intense debate about legal practitioners advertising their services on social media following the suspension of renowned human rights lawyer, Francis-Xavier Sosu.

The General Legal Council handed Mr Sosu a three-year ban for overcharging a client and another year’s suspension for advertising on social media.

Both legal practitioners and the general public have since discussed the subject with some arguing that the ban was too harsh and unfair.

Some have called for a review of regulations against advertising since the law against the practice dates back to the 1960s and must reflect the technological advancements of the day.

http://www.myjoyonline.com/news/2017/June-16th/lawyers-advertising-is-distasteful-cj-nominee.php

https://citifmonline.com/2017/06/16/im-against-lawyers-advertising-on-social-media-sophia-afuffo/

http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/Lawyers-advertising-on-social-media-is-distasteful-Sophia-Akuffo-549062

https://www.primenewsghana.com/general-news/i-don-t-support-lawyers-marketing-themselves-on-social-media-cj-nominee.html

http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/Akuffo-s-touting-comment-unacceptable-prejudicial-Group-549513

http://citifmonline.com/2017/06/22/general-legal-council-dragged-to-supreme-court-over-draconian-rules/

Saturday, 17th June, 2017

Press Release

From: *UNITED FOR NATIONAL INTEREST.*

To: *All media Houses*

*CJ NOMINEE OUT OF TIME ON ISSUES OF SOCIAL MEDIA & LEGAL PRACTICE IN GHANA.*

It has come to our Notice that the Chief Justice Nominee, who presided over the ban of renowned Human Rights Lawyer for three years for among other things alleged to have advertised himself on face book justified same during her public vetting in parliament on 16th June, 2017.

She is reported saying among others that :

“Personally, I believe that dignity of the bar is as important as the dignity of the judiciary, and the idea of lawyers touting themselves on social media is personally distasteful to me.”

She also added that: “But that aside, the law is there clearly against touting because touting is an improper conduct on the part of the lawyer,”

Again she said “Self-advertisement is one of those frowned on in many jurisdictions, there are some that permit it, but I have not studied the scope of those permissions. But Facebook, Twitter… at the moment will not fall in the permissible areas. You can have a website and put yourself on it…” We note with concern the following:

1. the justifications given by the CJ Nominee when the matter is sub judice by way of Lawyer Sosu’s appeal and yet to be heard has the potential to prejudice Lawyer Sosu’s appeal and highly unacceptable.

She knew very well that the discriminatory decision they took against Lawyer Sosu was on appeal. The least she could have said was that the matter was on appeal and she could not share her opinion on it particularly when she presided over that decision. She should have also told the world which kind of “quality justice” was dispensed to Lawyer Sosu.

2. In a democracy like ours, rule of law and due process must be the preferred options. Article 23 of the 1992 Constitution guarantees the right to administrative justice of all persons including Lawyers. The Nominee and the General Legal Council are not above the laws of Ghana. Quality Justice requires adherence to all the tenets of Rule of Law. The Personal views of the CJ Nominee is not what governs the professional conduct of lawyers. By the Legal Professions Act out of which professional regulations were derived, even when a person is alleged to have misconducted themselves, the professional body would have to be the first adherents of the rules of Natural Justice. In the case of Lawyer Sosu, led by the CJ Nominee all those rules were breached. They were complainant, prosecutors and judges in their own court. How can justice and fairness be done in these circumstances.

3. There is no doubt that the rules on Touting and Advertisement are all outmoded and needs review. When those rules were enacted, information technology had not reached this height. Websites with social networking applications had not developed and besides those rules are clearly inconsistent with Article 19(11) of the 1992 Constitution because they are not specific and no specific sanctions provided. It’s application against Human Rights Lawyer, Francis-Xavier Sosu is very selective and discriminatory contrary to Article 17 of the Constitution. If the rules will not be amended then all Lawyers must be banned. We have already Complained to the General Legal Council against some senior members like Sam Okudjato and several other lawyers and hope same rules will be invoked.

4. It is very clear that from the responses of the CJ Nominee she is outmoded on issues of social media and it’s influence on legal practice in Ghana. She is not in tune with the modern trend and that can be problematic to the legal fraternity. All standards of definitions of social media includes website. It cannot be said that websites are allowed when the existing laws do not allow it. Guidelines for websites cannot amend a legislative instrument. The General Legal Council must do the right thing.

5. Social media are websites with applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.

6. Most lawyers in Ghana have websites which are interactive and allows for social networking. Websites are linked with Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, and other internet applications depending on choice. We as a group would advice the nominee CJ to google law firms or lawyers in Ghana and she will be amazed the amount of information available contrary to her view. The Office of the General Legal Council owns a website, but when it’s Notice of Ban of Lawyer Sosu was ready, it was sent through whatsapp, a social media facility. Today, lawyers share laws, cases, and vital information through whatsapp and even some courts have ordered service of writs by substation through whatsapp and Facebook in Ghana and other jurisdiction

From the foregoing we as a civil society group that demands fairness and accountability would like to call on the CJ Nominee to revise her notes on Information Communications Technology.

We believe there may be other considerations other than Legal that was the reason for this ban.

It is in this light that we call on on the General Legal Council, the Ghana Bar Association, the International Bar Association, and all other lovers of freedom and justice to join in the fight against selective justice and systemic injustice.

In the service of Ghana and humanity *Korsi Senyo* (Convenor) 0560-1144-95

Russia: Alexei Navalny Soldiers On

June 16, 2017

Image result for alexei navalny

Though his efforts continue to be thwarted at every turn, Vladimir Putin’s most prominent opponent isn’t giving up.

Earlier this week, Russia was hit by the one of the biggest waves of anti-government protests it had seen in half a decade, with events attended by thousands of demonstrators in over 100 cities across the country. Police arrested an estimated 1,000 protesters in Moscow and St. Petersburg alone. Among them was the chief architect of the demonstrations: the activist, opposition leader, and presidential hopeful Alexei Navalny.

At this point, Navalny, the charismatic lawyer-turned-activist politician is no stranger to Russia’s corrupt criminal-justice system. Since he first came into the public eye around seven years ago and began using publicly available information to expose the theft and fraud so common among Russia’s ruling class, it has been easy to lose count of how many times he’s been detained, arrested, or prosecuted on trumped up charges. Following his most recent arrest this past Monday, a court sentenced him to 30 days in prison for organizing an unauthorized protest. (In Russia, all protests must be state-approved and take place in state-designated areas.) He seemed unfazed by the conviction, playfully complaining that his sentence meant he’d miss an upcoming Depeche Mode concert.

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/448687/alexei-navalny-russian-opposition-leader-continues-fight-despite-setbacks

https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/06/navalny-russia-protests/530463/

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-opposition-navalny-idUSKBN1960RG

http://www.independent.ie/world-news/russian-court-cuts-alexei-navalnys-jail-term-by-five-days-35833854.html

https://www.opendemocracy.net/od-russia/ilya-budraitskis/alexei-navalnys-campaign-effective-management-or-grassroots-movement

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/congress/the-latest-putin-hopes-for-normalization-of-us-russia-ties/2017/06/15/90de3218-51c0-11e7-b74e-0d2785d3083d_story.html

http://www.economist.com/news/europe/21723439-anti-corruption-activist-chief-threat-vladimir-putin-next-years-election-aleksei?fsrc=scn/fb/te/bl/ed/alekseinavalnysprotestersareaforcetobereckonedwith

http://normangeestar.net/2017/06/23/russia-mass-arrests-tighten-authorities-stranglehold-on-freedom-of-expression/

http://newburghgazette.com/2017/06/27/police-arrest-hundreds-including-alexei-navalny-as-protests/

http://tempsreel.nouvelobs.com/monde/20170615.OBS0765/10-choses-a-savoir-sur-alexei-navalny-ennemi-numero-un-de-vladimir-poutine.html (FRANCAIS)

http://www.courrierinternational.com/depeche/presidentielle-russe-lopposant-navalny-declare-ineligible.afp.com.20170623.doc.pv0v9.xml?utm_term=Autofeed&utm_campaign=Echobox&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook&link_time=1498241681#xtor=CS1-9 (FRANCAIS)

http://tempsreel.nouvelobs.com/monde/20170623.AFP5891/presidentielle-russe-l-opposant-navalny-n-a-pas-le-droit-de-se-presenter.html (FRANCAIS)

http://www.rfi.fr/europe/20170624-russie-navalny-interdit-presidentielle-2018 (FRANCAIS)

https://www.franceculture.fr/geopolitique/russie-comment-alexei-navalny-est-devenu-le-principal-opposant-poutine?utm_campaign=Echobox&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook#link_time=1499436957 (FRANCAIS)

Saudi Arabia: 1,000 Lashes For Raif Badawi

June 16, 2017

Every Friday morning, a small group of us, sometimes three, sometimes five, hold a vigil outside the Embassy of Saudi Arabia. We’re the most genteel and well-behaved protestors anyone could want, yet the embassy always posts a guard behind the railings, watching and monitoring us.

As they must be watching and monitoring vigils across the world every Friday morning. Because we’re not the only ones outraged by a barbaric, medieval sentence on a man who merely used peaceful words.

Five years ago, on 17th June 2012 Raif Badawi was arrested by the Saudi Arabian authorities, for allegedly “insulting Islam through electronic channels”. Raif had taken to his keyboard and set up a liberal website. An action which would have gone completely unremarked in this country and many others.

It will also mark the birthday of Waleed Abu Al-Khair.

Waleed is also in prison in Saudi Arabia, a lawyer who represented Raif Badawi in court, and who happens to be Raif Badawi’s brother-in-law. A man who’s spent his life fighting the abuse of human rights in Saudi Arabia. It appears the kingdom took its revenge by convicting him on charges including ‘striving to overthrow the state and the authority of the King’; ‘criticising and insulting the judiciary’; ‘assembling international organisations against the Kingdom’; and ‘inciting public opinion’. After all Waleed is a man who’s won the Ludovic Trarieux International Human Rights Prize; been awarded the Swiss Freethinker Prize and been twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. This is the 4th year Waleed will be spending a birthday in prison.

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/ravinder-randhawa/raif-badawi_b_17148428.html

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2017/06/saudi-arabia-release-blogger-raif-badawi-still-behind-bars-after-five-years/

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tippling/2017/06/17/another-call-release-raif-badawi/

https://theferret.scot/saudi-blogger-raif-badawi-deteriorating-five-years-prison/

http://quebec.huffingtonpost.ca/evelyne-abitbol-/emprisonnement-raif-badawi_b_17121574.html (FRANCAIS)

https://www.amnesty.fr/presse/arabie-saoudite-il-faut-librer-le-blogueur-raif-ba (FRANCAIS)

http://quebec.huffingtonpost.ca/evelyne-abitbol-/emprisonnement-raif-badawi_b_17121574.html (FRANCAIS)

https://www.amnesty.org/es/latest/news/2017/06/saudi-arabia-release-blogger-raif-badawi-still-behind-bars-after-five-years/ (ESPANOL)