Daily Archives: 01/07/2017

Turkey: ‘We’ve lost democracy’: on the road with Turkey’s justice marchers

June 30, 2017

Thousands of people take part in the ‘Justice March’ in Turkey

Hıdır Aydur rested his blistered feet under the shade of a tree on the side of the highway that runs between Ankara and Istanbul. The 57-year-old, from Erzincan in Turkey’s north-east, who has diabetes, had been marching for 15 days. He is one of thousands journeying by foot from Turkey’s capital to its largest city, many carrying banners that say “adalet” or “justice”.

“We lost democracy in our country, and we want it back,” Aydur said, his shirt bearing the images of Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça, two teachers who were jailed last month after more than 70 days on hunger strike over their arbitrarily dismissal in a government decree.

Tens of thousands of people have been dismissed or detained in a broad government crackdown in the aftermath of a coup attempt last July that left more than 250 people dead and 1,400 wounded. After declaring a state of emergency, the government’s purge went beyond the direct perpetrators of the coup to encompass a large swathe of civil society, the political opposition, academics, journalists and civil servants, squandering a rare moment of unity to solidify its hold on power.

In April, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan narrowly won a referendum that vastly expanded his powers, while the country’s judiciary has been reshaped in his image, with a quarter of the nation’s judges and prosecutors dismissed or jailed over alleged connections to Fethullah Gülen, an exiled preacher whose grassroots movement is widely believed in Turkey to have orchestrated the putsch.





http://www.aeud.org/2017/07/contro-gli-arresti-degli-avvocati-in-turchia/ (ITALIANO)

http://www.aeud.org/2017/07/wenn-anwaelten-die-verteidigung-ihrer-mandanten-zum-vorwurf-gemacht-wird/ (DEUTSCH)


June 28, 2017


If Khaled Ali is worried, he isn’t showing it. Sitting behind a wooden desk in his office in downtown Cairo, the prominent human rights attorney is discussing his case with the calm remove of a lawyer defending his client. Only this time, Ali is the one on trial.

In May, Egyptian authorities arrested Ali, a possible presidential candidate in the Egyptian elections early next year, on charges of “offending public decency” for making a rude hand gesture outside a Cairo courthouse. Ali made the gesture in January, in celebration of a ruling by one of Egypt’s highest courts in a lawsuit he had filed against the government of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi for transferring control of two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia. The agreement, which many Egyptians believe el-Sissi made in exchange for billions of dollars in Saudi aid and investment, sparked rare street protests last year, despite heavy legal restrictions on demonstrations. Though Ali prevailed that day, he ultimately lost the suit. El-Sissi bypassed the courts and sought approval from Parliament, which ratified the deal on June 14.




(N.B. Lawyer Khaled Ali will stand trial in Cairo on July 3, 2017)

Singapore: M. Ravi and another man charged with criminal trespass into law firm at People’s Park Centre

June 30, 2017

Lawyer M. Ravi and another man were charged in court on Friday (June 30) with criminal trespass into a law firm at People’s Park Centre where Ravi used to work.

The 48-year-old, who has been barred from applying for a practising certificate for two years from last October, and Lai Yew Thiam, 56, are accused of entering law firm Eugene Thuraisingam’s branch office on the fifth floor of People’s Park Centre in Chinatown at 2.16pm on Tuesday with intent to annoy a security consultant.

Ravi, whose full name is Ravi Madasamy, was knowledge management head at the firm and was based at the Chinatown office.

The Straits Times understands that he lost his job earlier this month (June) and was told to vacate the premises by June 16.

He was arrested by the police on Thursday for the alleged offence.

Two weeks ago, the High Court dismissed his application for a constitutional challenge against the elected presidency after the court found that he had no legal standing to bring the challenge.

The judge also found that recent changes to the elected presidency, as well as the entire scheme itself, which Ravi had said were unconstitutional, had been validly passed and were legally effective.

On Friday, the prosecution applied for Ravi to be remanded for psychiatric evaluation but District Judge Adam Nakhoda turned it down.

The judge said he did not believe that there was evidence to show that Ravi was unable to understand the proceedings and the charge against him.

Earlier, Ravi said that he was claiming trial to the charge by reason that he was a lawful co-tenant at the People’s Park Centre office, and paying rent.

He said, among other things, that when the police officer questioned him, he said he did not want to answer because he wanted “the right of silence as a constitutional expert”.










Human rights remain a problem in China, with Human Rights Lawyers bearing the forefront of persecution. Often Law students are intimidated into not studying Human Rights, and the lawyers themselves are threatened to drop cases, if not outright arrested and made to disappear. A number of Human Rights Lawyers have gone missing or been arrested in China recently, and international Human Rights Lawyers are not exception. Swedish Human rights Advocate, Peter Dahlin was recently deported from China after being held for weeks.

To discuss this persecution further, Sean Britten was joined on the line from Hong Kong by Patrick Poon, China Researcher at Amnesty International.






China: LU student testifies before congress on father’s plight in China

June 29, 2017

Courtesy Chongyu Xia 2

On Wednesday, Liberty University student Chongyu Xia took his fight for his father’s freedom to the United States government.


The rising junior, fighting for the release of his father, Xia Lin, a human rights lawyer currently imprisoned in China, spoke before American legislators Wednesday in Washington, D.C.


“I am not alone,” Chongyu Xia said in a statement to the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC). “As a rising nation, China’s deteriorating human rights record is unacceptable. When a human rights lawyer cannot secure his own fundamental rights, I believe every member’s rights in the society are threatened.”

Chongyu Xia was one of four people to testify at the hearing titled “Gagging the Lawyers: China’s Crackdown on Human Rights Lawyers and Its Implications for U.S.-China Relations.” The others were Terence Halliday, co-director of the Center on Law & Globalization at the American Bar Foundation; Teng Biao, Chinese human rights lawyer and co-founder of the Open Constitution Initiative and China Human Rights Accountability Center; and Li Xiaorong, an independent scholar formerly with the University of Maryland Institute for Philosophy & Public Policy.



Keeping the spotlight on China’s activist lawyers and the approaching two-years since the onset of the crackdown. . . . Terry

VIDEO: Key Moments from CECC hearing “Gagging the Lawyers: China’s Crackdown on Human Rights Lawyers

& Its Implications for U.S.-China Relations”

June 30, 2017

(Washington)— U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and U.S. Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ), the chair and cochair respectively of the bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), held a hearing this week looking at the Chinese government crackdown on human rights lawyers and legal advocates.

Witnesses included Terence Halliday, co-director of the Center on Law & Globalization at the American Bar Foundation and co-author of the book Criminal Defense in China: The Politics of Lawyers at Work; Teng Biao, Chinese human rights lawyer and a Visiting Scholar, Institute for Advanced Study; Li Xiaorong, independent scholar and former researcher at the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy at the University of Maryland; and Xia Chongyu, the son of imprisoned  human rights lawyer Xia Lin.

Partial transcripts and links to videos of some of the hearing’s key moments are below.  Witness testimonies and the opening statements of Senator Rubio and Congressman Smith can be found on the CECC’s website.  The hearing webcast is archived and can be viewed via the CECC’s YouTube page.

VIDEO:  Senator Rubio says U.S. problems with Chinese Communist Party, not the Chinese people

“I welcome China’s rise in many ways, I don’t welcome a totalitarian state’s rise…If somehow there was a Chinese government that cared about the rights of all mankind that could work together with us, I think we would be a lot further along in some the major issues confronting this country.  But when you don’t care about the rights of your own people, why would you care about the rights of anybody else?  That is our problem with the Chinese Communist Party, and its leadership, not its people.  While I remain hopeful for change, in the interim, we will continue to speak out…”

VIDEO: Rep. Smith says U.S. must be a voice for those silenced and repressed in China

“The one thing that gives me hope is that the people of China long for liberty, justice and opportunity… The need for principled and consistent American leadership is now more important than ever, as China’s growing economic power, and persistent diplomatic efforts, have succeeded in dampening global criticism of its escalating repression and failures to adhere to universal standards. The U.S. must be a beacon of liberty and a champion of individual rights and freedoms.  The United States must also continue to be voice for those silenced, jailed, or repressed in China.   We cannot…will not…forget those in China bravely seeking liberty and justice and the unalienable rights we all share here in the United States—like China’s human rights lawyers—and like Liu Xiaobo—those who bravely seek peaceful change in China.  That’s our focus.  That’s our priority.  That’s our hopes and prayers for them. ”

VIDEOTerry Halliday explains why repression has not stopped the work of human rights lawyers

“Many lawyers build their courageous representation upon legal ideals that underwrite the good political society. They insist on the protection of basic legal freedoms, such as the right to be represented by a lawyer, due process in trials, and fair adjudication. They insist upon freedoms of speech, of association and religion…Our research documents that many lawyers, notable and ordinary practitioners, also draw their courage from their Christian faith. Christians insist upon the values of equality, most importantly, that in the eyes of God and in the eyes of the law, said one lawyer, “Chairman Mao is as equal as me”… They believe in fairness—that justice should be available reliably and fairly to all, whether they are Han Chinese or Tibetan, Party members or Falun Gong members. Finally, they hold China’s law accountable to God’s law.”

VIDEO: Teng Biao Offers Recommendations for U.S. Policy

“…A powerful and autocratic China will bring calamities to mankind. Supporting democracy and human rights in China not only corresponds to American declared values; it will also benefit American politics, society and economics in the long term. Please stand on the side of Chinese people, not on the side of Chinese Communist Party. China should be represented by the human rights lawyers, activists, dissidents and all Chinese people fighting for freedom and democracy, not the illegitimate Party and government.

VIDEO: Xia Chongyu asks the U.S. Government to work for his father’s (Xia Lin) release

“Human rights lawyers are the cornerstone of the society. I hope the US. Government can increase its involvement in these cases in the future. Moreover, I wish the Congress of America could urge the Chinese government to stop controlling the judiciary system and stop the persecution against 709 lawyers. Lastly, I plead that the White House summon the Chinese ambassador and ask the Chinese government to respond to me and my 94,000 petition supporters….By making a clear stance, the US. Government would communicate to the world that human rights violations will not be tolerated. I appreciate the Congress for organizing this hearing so that our voice could be heard by the world.”

VIDEO: Xiaorong Li says systematic human rights abuses call into question China’s fitness to take global leadership role

“Congress should support U.S. actions holding the Chinese government accountable for its failures to live up to its international human rights obligations…As China becomes a rising world power the government’s systematic human rights abuse raises serious questions about its credibility or fitness to take global leadership in areas where the U.S. is retreating. The Chinese government has a clear track record of signing up for international human rights treaties, meanwhile violating them outright—back at home and in countries where it is investing, lending money, and building infrastructures. It is important to lay bare this track record of deceit and hypocrisy. A government that can’t honor its own commitments, can’t keep its own promises has no credibility.”

VIDEO: Senator Rubio asks Xia Chongyu if he faced threats from the Chinese government 

“After my father was arrested, he was completely missing. We did not receive any warrant and so we do not know where they took him or who took him. That’s one of the pressures we got. The police also summoned my mom to ask her to divorce with my father, and I was on the threaten list, that is the reason why my family sent me here—to keep me safe. But I think, the first two years, I was threatened by the government…The police officers went to my family friends and other family members to threaten them, and me and my mom kind of get isolated. So, I’m just worrying about everything, and I was scared; I just kept silence here. But, I have learned—I have learned what is right to do and what is justice, I would say, so the pressure turned into my power, and I would have the chance to speak here.”

VIDEO: Senator Rubio asks Terry Halliday whether prisoners of conscience benefit from public advocacy on their behalf

“In my empirical research and the work of our team, speaking to many activist lawyers over a period of time, there is absolutely no doubt in their mind that China must be spoken to publicly and China must be publicly shamed…I have no doubt that when the world speaks—out loud and publicly—China listens. China has a very thin skin. When the American Bar Association awarded its International Human Rights prize to Wang Yu, within 48 hours, the Global Times had an editorial trying to rebut that move. That tells me that not only was China listening, but China felt it had to respond. And finally, the point that you made, Mr. Chairman, is that in our interviews with notable activists, time and again, they have said that when there is public calling for their release or public calling for news about them, their treatment is improved. They can perceptibly point to the day or the week or the month when their treatment changes when the international has turned the spotlight publicly on their plight.”




India: Successful Completion of 4th All India Conference of Indian Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL), 24th & 25th June, 2017, Hyderabad

June 26, 2017

Image may contain: one or more people

Image may contain: 1 person, on stage and indoor

Image may contain: one or more people, people on stage and indoor

Image may contain: 3 people, people on stage and indoor

Image may contain: 3 people, people sitting and indoor

Image may contain: 5 people

Image may contain: 1 person, on stage

Image may contain: 1 person, on stage

Image may contain: one or more people, people on stage and indoor

The fourth All India Conference of IAPL was held in Hyderabad on 24th & 25th June, 2017 (Emergency day) in the background of the recent recommendations of the Law Commission to criminalize lawyer’s strikes or abstention from court work. The right to strike flows from the fundamental right to association and protest. Like most of the oppressed sections in India, the right to protest and collectively bargain is being criminalized and gradually eroded. Draconian legislations such as the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Sedition, Armed Forces Special Powers Act and various Public Security Acts are being used to suppress the struggling people and dissenting voices. Thousands of such people’s activists, lawyers or Human Right Defenders have been labeled as ‘terrorists’ or ‘anti-Nationals’ and incarcerated under such Acts. The Conference dealt with this aspect of suppression of the people’s right to protest and the use of so-called anti-terror laws in the context of social and political peoples’ movements and the Kashmiri people’s resistance.

On the other hand State Surveillance has been steadily increasing. In the name of ‘National security’, the citizen’s right to privacy is being brutally suppressed. The blatant example is the UID (Aadhaar) project ̶ a story of coercion, rampant illegality and outrageous contempt of court orders. The UID project forces the citizen into choicelessness, destroying the idea of consent, while the State assumes power over the body and data of every person, which it then allows corporate interests to use. The Conference also seeks to examine and discuss whether this Surveillance signifies a new Emergency.

On Saturday, 24th June 2017, IAPL members discussed about the situation and issues prevailing in their respective States and formulated a collective program for the future. They elected a new Secretariat and All India Executive to lead the Association.

On the second day i.e. Sunday, 25th June 2017 Justice (Retd) Abhay Thipsay addressed the hall on the issue of “Independence of the Judiciary and the Bar” followed with inputs by: Dr. Usha Ramanathan on “UID, Surveillance and the New Emergency?”; Adv. Parvez Imroz, (President, JKCCS) on “Situation of Lawyers in Kashmir”; Justice (Retd) H. Suresh on “the need for People’s Lawyering”; Adv. Rajvinder Singh Bains on “Civil Liberties and the Judiciary” and Prof. Srikrishna Deva Rao (VC, NLU Odisha), on “Social Movements and the Judiciary”.

The Fourth All India Conference passed the following resolutions :
1 ) We uphold the rights of lawyers and the legal fraternity to go on strike and demand better working conditions, to fight for their rights and uphold the legally guaranteed rights to organise and bargain collectively. We take objection to the report by Law Commission of India relegating strikes by lawyers as disorderly conduct. The legal community in every democracy remains at the forefront of seeking justice for the people. It is then not at all warranted that the very legal community which protects the civil liberties of the people, should have its fundamental right to strike, curtailed. It is essential that lawyers retain the unhindered human right to organise and strike. We recognise the right to strike as a human right. We therefore, pass a resolution that lawyers and the legal fraternity should continue to have unfettered rights organise and strike.

2 ) The Indian State, being a democracy continues to have anti-people and repressive legislations such as the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, Section 124 A (Sedition) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and various State security acts such as the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, 2005. These legislations are time and again used against Muslims, Adivasis and other minorities to represses their voices and in recent times to carry forward the Hindutva and development agendas of the State. It is essential that we recognise the fact these laws should not have any force in a democracy. These legislations which give blanket powers to the State and its machinery wreak havoc in the lives of ordinary individuals who dare to question the pervasive nature of the State. It is condemnable that these laws have been give sharp teeth and overreaching powers to arrest, question, and extinguish fundamental and human rights, without accountability. We therefore demand the repeal of anti-people, draconian legislations and release of all prisoners arrested under the provisions of such laws.

3 ) The House strongly condemns the unwarranted Judicial outreach and over-activism of the Supreme Court to order for arrest of Justice C. S. Karnan under the cover of the colonial Contempt provisions of the Constitution. The principles of Natural Justice have been thrown to the winds selectively in the case of Justice Karnan for his social background. His removal is nothing but a usurpation of the Impeachment power of the Parliament.

4 ) In Tamilnadu, the right to profession itself has been threatened for the lawyers of high court with ever increasing restraints on conduct imposed not only by the courts but also the police, the executive functioning hand in glove with the court. Arrest and imprisonment for more than 166days of Adv. Murugan is a glaring example of the police authorities’ infringement on right to practice profession independently by lawyers. He arrested for representing the Maoist cases to the annoyance if the state, falsely implicated in a Maoist case along with his clients Chandra and Kala, the two Maoists arrested earlier and whose case he represents as a lawyer in Karur sessions court. This is a blatant violation of right to profession and right to defend the client as per the bar council act 1961. He has been charged with sections under UAPA sec 18, 20, 32 and 38. This house condemns his arrest and demand immediate revocations of the charges foisted upon him and release him unconditionally.

5 ) In Mandsor district of Madhya Pradesh, farmers demanding loan waiver and fair price to their crops by way of peaceful protest were brutally attacked by police. Indiscriminate firing was opened at them, this without any notice or announcement to protesters. In this ghastly act of State Government, 7 farmers lost their lives. Though they were seeking fulfilment of their legitimate demand by way of parliamentary mode, State government could not control its fascist desire to shun the voices, and repeated what it did in 1998, where 24 farmers were martyred in similar fashion in Multai. IAPL, condemns this barbaric deed of State. It demands that probe be conducted through a sitting judge of the High Court to ensure impartiality​and consequently​prosecute and punish the perpetrators of the crime for committing murder of 7 protesting farmers.

6 ) Noting that, death penalty is barbaric, inhuman, and against the school of reformation, against the value of democracy. Noting that, death penalty has been used predominantly against dalits, tribals, women, minority or poors and is used routinely against those groups. Noting that, many democratic States have declared death penalty as a unconstitutional, resultantly 138 countries dejore or defacto abolished it. Nothing that, claims of death penalty working as deterrent have been proved false, baseless and unsupported on every occasion. On the contrary it has been realised that capital punishment was awarded even in such cases where persons were acquitted by higher courts. Believing that, democratic State has no right to execute anyone. Believing that, such punishment cannot coexist in democratic set up. We the members of Indian Association of People’s Lawyers, in 4th All India Conference held at Hyderabad on 25th June 2017, condemn death penalty, and firmly resolve to struggle for abolishment of death penalty.

7 ) The 4th IAPL All India Conference condemns the arrest and continuing incarceration of Adv. Ravindra Balla, Chikudu Prabhakar and other members of the Telangana Democratic Front. These members of the TDF were to conduct a fact finding in the police atrocities in Chhattisgarh. Their arrest and denial of bail is an attempt by the State to silence the voice of People’s lawyers and Democratic voices.


Surendra Gadling,
( General Secreatary )


Cover pages of the IAPL Souvenir released by Justice (Retd.) Abhay Thipsay at its 4th All India Conference held at Hyderabad.
The Souvenir carries memorable articles by our late lawyer friends such as PA Sebastian, Balagopal, Mukul Sinha and Bojja Tarakam.

The contents include…
1. Messages in Solidarity
2. Manufacturing Sedition from Political Dissent… by PA Sebastian
3. Death Sentence to Saddam Hussein… by PA Sebastian
4. The Illusion called Secularism… by Mukul Sinha
5. Judges’ Appointments and Accountability… by Bojja Tarakam
6. Ideology and Adjudication: The Supreme Court and OBC Reservations… By K Balagopal
7. Jammu and Kashmir: Violence and Impunity… by Adv. Pervez Imroz
8. Misuse of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act… by Adv Susan Abraham
9. Coercion & Silence are Integral Parts of the Aadhaar Project… Dr. Usha Ramanathan
10. Towards the Abolition of Death Penalty… by Adv. Asahana
11. Sentenced To Life Imprisonment for Forming a Trade Union… Gautam Mody
12. Amidst the darkness… by Adv. Anubha Rastogi
13. Attacks on Lawyers in Chhattisgarh… A fact finding report by IAPL

For copies contact…
Surendra Gadling Adv., 79, Misal-lay-out, Bhim chowk, Nagpur 440 014
M. Venkanna Adv., Flat 5, Block 26, MIG-2, Nallakunta, Hyderabad 500044

Image may contain: 1 person, text
Image may contain: 2 people, text

IAPL Souvenir 2017

Justice H Suresh


Justice Suresh elected Indian Association of People’s Lawyers president.

Image may contain: 1 person, text and close-up

Image may contain: 1 person, text

Image may contain: 1 person, glasses, sunglasses, close-up and text

Image may contain: 1 person, text and close-up

Image may contain: 5 people, text

Image may contain: 1 person, text

(IAPL – Indian Association of People’s Lawyers Facebook)

No automatic alt text available.

No automatic alt text available.

No automatic alt text available.

No automatic alt text available.

No automatic alt text available.

Image may contain: drawing

No automatic alt text available.

Arun Ferreira ‘s art display. #IAPL_conference


Turkey: TURQUIE 25 juin 2017: 521 avocats arrêtés depuis le 15 juillet 2016

le 27 juin, 2017

Image may contain: text

(L’Observatoire IDHAE Facebook)

Image may contain: 1 person, text

Gültekin Avcı, a columnist and former prosecutor who suffers from respiratory failure, is in the 310th day of his arrest. #TurkeyPurge

(Turkey Purge Facebook)


Cameroon: Anglophone detainees back in court Thursday

June 28, 2017

Cameroon: Anglophone detainees back in court Thursday

The Military Tribunal in Yaounde will on Thursday June 29 host the hearing of what is now the Balla and co affair. The case that has been adjourned many times over will come again before the presiding Judge, Colonel Abega Eko, Eko.

The court last month decided  to remand in custody leaders of the country’s English-speaking community on terror-related charges pending trial.The Military tribunal refused to free on bail Barrister Felix Agbor Nkongho, Dr  Neba Fontem Aforteka’a and broadcaster Mancho Bibixy, pending a June 29 trial. The court’s presiding judge also rejected an appeal for the release of 24 other anglophones facing charges over “acts of terrorism” and complicity to commit such acts.  Thus opening the way for real business to begin.

Contrary to the view that the incarceration of the Anglophone leaders will dampened the spirit of resistance and commitment to purpose, the leaders who are in good spirit are poised to maintain their stance. During a recent encounter with journalists from the North West region at the Kondengui prison,  Dr Fontem Neba said they want to be part of the solutions to the Anglophone problem and are not excited with being released.

Mancho Bibixy however raised worries over the nature of the negotiation. He wonders how fair discussions can take place when he and other Anglophones are in chains.

So far the prosecuting bench has been circumventing the matter probably to frustrate the spirits of those in jail and kill the bond of the struggle.  Thursday’s trial is expected to really establish clear evidence that the detainees are guilty of what the state is accusing them . Witnesses are likely to appear at the session that could also have twists and turns.



http://www.journalducameroun.com/nouvelle-audience-manifestants-anglophones/ (FRANCAIS)

https://www.237online.com/article-28867-cameroun-des-leaders-du-consortium-des-syndicats-anglophones-sous-surveillance.html (FRANCAIS)

(UPDATE: “Case adjourned to 27 July because one of the three military judges absent sent on a special mission.” Reason for adjournment.  Detained Advocate General Ayah Paul Abine was rushed to the hospital the morning of the hearing suffering from a heart attack, but he has since been recovering. Facebook)

Honduras: STOP au massacre des avocats au Honduras

le 27 juin, 2017

Displaying image.png

(L’Observatoire IDHAE Facebook)

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Two-Lawyers-Killed-Within-24-Hours-in-Honduras-20170614-0029.html (ESPANOL)

http://elperiodico.hn/2017/01/07/hermano-exalcalde-tocoa-encontrado-encostalado/ (ESPANOL)

http://www.laprensa.hn/sucesos/1055246-410/indagan-v%C3%ADnculo-de-muerte-de-abogada-y-crimen-de-gerente-de-represa (ESPANOL)

http://www.laprensa.hn/sucesos/1054871-410/sin-pistas-de-asesinato-de-abogada-en-r%C3%ADo-lindo (ESPANOL)

http://caracol.com.co/emisora/2017/05/24/popayan/1495580585_179298.html (ESPANOL)

http://www.capitanbado.com/paraguay/policiales/abogado-ejecutado-en-san-lorenzo-estaba-vinculado-al-pcc-dice-la-policia/65473 (ESPANOL)

Sri Lanka: Deep concerns raised over recent attempts to silence dissent

June 27, 2017

A group of individuals and organisations committed to human rights and democratic freedoms, and the rights of freedom of expression and dissent, have expressed deep concerns over recent attempts to stifle voices of human rights activists and silence dissent.

A statement signed by nearly 100 individuals and organisations noted that on 17th June, Minister for Justice and Buddha Sasana, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, publicly threatened to remove Lakshan Dias, Attorney-at-Law, and a well-known human rights activist, from the legal profession, in response to Mr. Dias raising the issues of attacks on Christian places of worship since 2015. The Minister prefaced this by virtually condemning human rights NGOs in general. He said, “In our country there are organisations who claim to be protecting human rights, who are dependent on NGO funds, who are trying to destroy the peace between the peoples of our country and turn this country back into a heap of fire; there are a few individuals like that.”

Minister Rajapakshehas since been reported reiterating his comments in an interview to newspaper, claiming that “NGO funded traitors” are fermenting unrest in the country. He also claimed that the NGOs misled the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, who, in her latest report, highlighted some serious shortcomings in Sri Lanka’s justice system.

“It is as much a matter of great concern as it is revealing, that a senior cabinet minister presiding over the Ministry of Justice in the so-called Yahapalanaya government, resorts to vilifying, demonizing and threatening human rights activists and human rights NGOs. While hardly the first such instance, it is especially ironic that his comments come as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has launched a consultation process with human rights activists and NGOs on its draft report to the UN Human Rights Council as part of its Universal Period Review (UPR). Human rights activists and NGOs have been issued an open invitation to participate in the meetings as part of this UPR process. Under the circumstances the question arises to whether and how we can expect a principled engagement given the failure of the government to officially distance itself from Minister Rajapakshe’s disturbing comments,” the statement said.