Daily Archives: 02/08/2017

Venezuela/Chile: Two Venezuelan judges shelter in Chilean residence

August 2, 2017

Two judges appointed by Venezuela’s opposition-controlled National Assembly have taken refuge in the residence of the Chilean ambassador in Caracas.

Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Munoz tweeted Tuesday that Beatriz Ruiz and Jose Fernando Nunez arrived “in search of protection” and said they have been offered asylum if they want it.

Ruiz and Nunez were among 33 judges sworn in on July 21 by the National Assembly in defiance of Venezuela’s government-stacked Supreme Court. The country’s highest court quickly declared the appointments unconstitutional and said the judges would be illegally usurping power and betraying the nation if they tried to take their new posts.

The pair joins another Venezuelan judge who took refuge in the Chilean residence in Caracas. At least three judges appointed by the National Assembly have been detained.

The White House is condemning what it calls “the Maduro dictatorship” over the arrests of two top opposition leaders in Venezuela overnight.







Day of the Endangered Lawyer/Egypt: 2018: Focus on EGYPT

Day of the Endangered Lawyer

In 2018 the focus of the Day of the Endangered Lawyer will be on Egypt. Many human rights organisations, among them Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, IDHAE, ELDH and the International Commission of Jurists confirm that the Egyptian authorities have moved beyond scaremongering and are now rapidly taking concrete steps to shut down the last critical voices in the country’s human rights community.

Today in Egypt, human rights activists, lawyers, political activists and independent journalists, all have to live with their phone calls being tapped, endless smear campaigns and hate speech from state-affiliated media as well as continuous harassment and intimidation from the authorities. Egypt is going through the most serious human rights crisis in its history. Every day security forces arbitrarily displace 3 or 4 people (http://preview.alturl.com/fw9oq).

After the overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi the human rights situation has deteriorated dramatically. The government has restricted severely freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and freedom of association. The authorities have taken harsh actions against dissidents, ten thousands have been arbitrarily arrested, and many of them tortured during custody. Security forces that killed demonstrators have not been held accountable. After harsh unfair trials, hundreds of people have received prison or even death sentences. Victims of this persecution include not only alleged members and supporters of the Muslim brotherhood but also any other opponents to the present government, in particular alleged members of left organisations and human rights activists.

For an estimated two hundred this relentless persecution can even lead to arbitrary arrest, prolonged detention, harsh sentences after unfair trials and sometimes even torture, enforced disappearance at the hands of the state or death in custody as a result of medical negligence.

This is pretty much the same list of human rights violations suffered by the people whose rights such defenders are meant to be protecting through their activism and work.

More information to be disclosed on this website soon.


http://nl.dayoftheendangeredlawyer.eu/ (NEDERLANDS)



Iran/AI: Iran vilifies human rights defenders as ‘enemies of the state’

August 2, 2017

Image result for narges mohammadi

Iran’s judicial and security bodies have waged a vicious crackdown against human rights defenders since Hassan Rouhani became president in 2013, demonizing and imprisoning activists who dare to stand up for people’s rights, Amnesty International said in a new report published today. 

Caught in a web of repression: Iran’s human rights defenders under attack details how scores of human rights activists – often labelled “foreign agents” and “traitors” by state media – have been prosecuted and jailed on spurious “national security” charges, dealing a crushing blow to hopes of human rights reform raised during President Hassan Rouhani’s first election campaign. Some activists have been sentenced to more than 10 years behind bars for simple acts such as being in contact with the UN, EU or human rights organizations including Amnesty International.

“It is a bitter irony that as the Iranian authorities boast about their increased engagement with the UN and the EU, particularly in the aftermath of the nuclear deal, human rights defenders who have made contact with these same institutions are being treated as criminals,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

Prominent human rights defender Narges Mohammadi, who led the Centre for Human Rights Defenders in Iran, is serving a 16-year prison sentence also in connection with her human rights work. The criminal case against her was opened in reprisal for a meeting she had with EU’s former foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, on International Women’s Day in 2014. 



https://www.amnesty.be/infos/actualites/defenseurs_iran (FRANCAIS)

https://www.es.amnesty.org/en-que-estamos/noticias/noticia/articulo/iran-desprestigia-a-defensores-y-defensoras-de-los-derechos-humanos-calificandolos-de-enemigos/ (ESPANOL)

http://lepersoneeladignita.corriere.it/2017/08/02/nemici-dello-stato-come-liran-perseguita-i-difensori-dei-diritti-umani/ (ITALIANO)

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She dedicated her life to defending human rights, and now Narges Mohammadi has been sentenced to 16 years in jail as part of Iran’s crackdown on human rights defenders. ✍️Sign the petition to help free Narges>>http://bit.ly/2wmx1ey

(Amnesty International Canada Facebook)


Venezuela: Arrest of Venezuelan opposition leaders draws global outcry

August 2, 2017

Photo by: Reuters

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro continued to face criticism – both domestic and international – as he jailed two leading critics of the government on Tuesday. In a sign of worsening tensions, two judges have also fled the country.

The arrests were widely seen as an attempt to squash dissent to ensure Maduro’s new constituent assembly can become functional as soon as possible. The new super body voted in on Sunday amid deadly protests will have absolute powers to strengthen the hand of the leftist government and to rewrite the Constitution.

Venezuela’s opposition leader Henrique Capriles hit out at Maduro for the jailing of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez and veteran politician Antonio Ledezma – a fresh blow to the opposition after Sunday’s election.

In a statement announcing the jailing of Lopez and Ledezma, the pro-government Supreme Court said they were planning to flee the country and had violated terms of their house arrest by making political statements and speaking to media.

But Capriles denounced the government’s version of events, saying that Venezuelans were not so gullible to believe it to be true.

In a statement, UN human rights chief Zeid Raad al Hussein called for the release of two prominent opposition leaders, who were arrested in raids at their homes. Venezuela must release peaceful protesters and allow an independent investigation into the deaths of at least 10 people in protests at the weekend, Hussein said.












http://www.lemonde.fr/ameriques/article/2017/08/01/venezuela-deux-figures-de-l-opposition-arretees_5167300_3222.html (FRANCAIS)

http://www.rfi.fr/ameriques/20170802-venezuela-arrestations-leopoldo-lopez-antonio-ledezma-tensions (FRANCAIS)

http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/articulo/mundo/2017/08/2/perfil-antonio-ledezma-el-alcalde-rebelde (ESPANOL)

http://www.noticiasrcn.com/internacional-crisis-venezuela/defensa-del-opositor-venezolano-antonio-ledezma-lo-considera (ESPANOL)

http://equilibrioinformativo.com/2017/08/mitzy-de-ledezma-sebin-podr-an-allanar-nuestra-vivienda/ (ESPANOL)

https://businessmonkeynews.com/en/la-familia-de-leopoldo-lopez-denuncia-que-no-sabe-nada-de-su-situacion/ (ESPANOL)

http://www.irpinianews.it/lirpinia-che-combatte-in-venezuela-arrestato-dal-regime-antonio-ledezma-sindaco-di-caracas/ (ITALIANO)

DR Congo: L’opposition en RDC annonce des journées ville-morte les 8 et 9 août

le 23 juillet, 2017

L’opposition congolaise réunie autour de l’aile du « Rassemblement » dirigée par Félix Tshisekedi a annoncé, au terme de deux journées de conclave à Kinshasa, une série des mesures dont l’organisation des journées ville-morte les 8 et 9 août prochains.

Pour l’opposition, ces journées seront organisées en guise « d’avertissement » avant qu’elle n’appelle, si ses revendications ne sont pas prises en compte, à l’application de l’article 64 de la constitution.

Celui-ci stipule, dans son alinéa 1er que « tout Congolais a le devoir de faire échec à tout individu ou groupe d’individus qui prend le pouvoir par la force ou qui l’exerce en violation des dispositions de la présente Constitution ».

En conséquence, l’opposition menace d’appeler la population à la désobéissance civile notamment à ne plus « s’acquitter des impôts, taxes, redevances, factures de l’eau et de l’électricité », souligne le communiqué publié à l’issue de ce conclave.

Par ailleurs, l’opposition a exigé de la Commission électorale nationale indépendante (CENI) la convocation des électeurs au plus tard le 30 septembre 2017. Faute de quoi, les partis membres du « Rassemblement » vont organiser à partir du 1er octobre un sit in devant les bureaux de la CENI pour « exiger la démission de Corneille Nanga », président de cette structure d’appui à la démocratie.

Le Rassemblement exige en outre la publication des résultats des opérations d’enrôlement des électeurs au plus tard le 31 juillet 2017 avant également de plaider pour l’organisation des élections avant la fin de cette année.

Par ailleurs, le « Rassemblement » a demandé l’arrêt des poursuites judiciaires dont est l’objet Moïse Katumbi et la libération de son avocat, Jean-Claude Muyambo.


Egypt: 2017 finalists for $100,000 Allard Prize for International Integrity: Brazilian prosecution task force, Azerbaijani journalist, Egyptian human rights lawyer

July 24, 2017

THE Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada has announced the three finalists for the 2017 Allard Prize for International Integrity. Created and funded by alumnus Mr. Peter A. Allard, Q.C., the C$100,000 biennial prize is one of the largest awards in the world recognizing efforts to combat corruption and promote human rights.

“Each of the 2017 Allard Prize finalists has demonstrated remarkable courage and leadership, taking significant risks not only for themselves but also for their families and friends, and making considerable personal sacrifices, to uphold transparency, accountability and the Rule of Law,” said Peter Allard. “We are honored to recognize their exceptional work in fighting corruption and protecting human rights, in the hope that doing so will inspire others to also fight abuses of power and the subversion of human rights.”

The winner of the Allard Prize will be announced at a special ceremony at the University of British Columbia’s Old Auditorium on September 28 at 6:30 p.m.

Azza Soliman – A renowned women’s rights lawyer, Azza Soliman is the co-founder of the Center for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance (CEWLA). She has dedicated her life to fighting corruption and injustice faced by Egyptian women in both the private sphere and the judicial system. Soliman is one of the first liberal lawyers to work with Islamic groups, having been in the field of human rights and development for more than 12 years. The Egyptian government has curtailed Soliman’s freedom by freezing her private assets and banning her from traveling outside Egypt.


Greece: Greek judges accuse Tsipras government of ‘dirty’ attacks

July 25, 2017

Judges in Greece have reacted angrily to a blunt barrage of government criticism over recent court rulings, comparing the “dirty” attacks to authoritarian crackdowns in Turkey and Poland.

The government “is systematically attempting to subjugate and control justice,” the association of judges and prosecutors protested over the weekend.

“Ministers and lawmakers launch baseless accusations daily… they seek to erode the prestige of the Greek justice system… following the example of Turkey and Poland,” they said.

“The Greek public can understand the danger posed by a voracious executive, seeking to operate unchecked,” the association said.

The row erupted after a court earlier this month decided to jail a young graduate student accused of links to one of Greece’s most active far-left extremist groups.

The 29-year-old linguist identified only by her first name, Irianna, was handed a 13-year prison sentence in June as a suspected accomplice of the Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei group.


http://tempsreel.nouvelobs.com/monde/20170725.AFP7932/grece-les-juges-denoncent-les-attaques-repetees-du-gouvernement.html (FRANCAIS)

USA: Chief Justice Roberts says criticism won’t stop judges

July 29, 2017

US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, once dubbed “disgraceful” by President Donald Trump, said on Thursday that criticism from politicians won’t dissuade judges from doing their jobs.

In a question-and-answer session at the University of Melbourne’s law school, Roberts was asked about political criticism of the courts — a particularly relevant question for the justice, given that he was the target of a withering critique from Trump during the presidential campaign.

“We’re certainly not above criticism — it’s a free country,” Roberts replied. “It certainly doesn’t affect how we go about our job.”

In 2015, then-candidate Trump said in a speech to supporters that Roberts was “disgraceful” and a “disappointment” to conservatives, largely because the justice had voted to uphold key provisions of President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care law.

Roberts has not commented on Trump’s criticisms of him, or on the president’s disparaging remarks about other judges whose decisions have irked him. In February, Trump called US District Judge James Robart a “so-called judge” after Robart imposed a temporary halt on Trump’s executive order barring people from seven predominantly Muslim countries from coming to the United States.

Asked later to elaborate on the reasons behind the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Obama’s health care law, Roberts demurred, saying that the court’s written opinions are intended to speak for themselves.


Ghana: Appeals Court Dismisses Sosu’s Motion Against Ban

July 27, 2017

The Court of Appeal has dismissed an application for a stay of execution pending appeal by suspended human rights lawyer, Mr  Francis Xavier Sosu, over his suspension from legal practice by the General Legal Council (GLC).

The General Legal Council is body set out by law to regulate legal education and legal practice throughout the country

Mr Sosu filed the application seeking to put on hold his three-year suspension from the legal practice pending the final determination of his appeal at the courts.

In his ruling the court presided over by Justice Henry Anthony Kwofi said that it was unable to grant the application because it lacks the jurisdiction to do so.

He said the court was of the view that Mr Sosu should have filed the notice of appeal at the GLC registry and not the registry of the Appeals Court.






Pakistan: Multan bench resumes work but lawyers continue strike

July 28, 2017

Although the Lahore High Court (LHC) chief justice has restored the functioning of the Multan Bench and judges have resumed courts, lawyers, however, continued their strike and did not appear before them and subordinate courts in three divisions on Thursday.

The representatives of various bar associations of south Punjab also announced continuing their strike in a lawyers’ convention where the representatives of the LHC Bahawalpur Bench and the secretary-general of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) were also present.

“We’ve decided to continue strike till Justice Qasim Khan is banned from working at the Multan Bench, action against the LHC chief justice is taken, an independent high court is established for Dera Ghazi Khan, Sahiwal and Multan divisions and contempt notices issued to the lawyers are withdrawn,” said Multan Bar Association secretary Syed Anees Mehdi.

The strike stemmed from an incident that took place on July 24 when Justice Qasim Khan left the courtroom after, what the LHC handout says, the lawyers obstructed judicial proceedings of his court and afterwards vandalised the court premises and ripped off the name plate of the judge.

Lawyers say the judge’s conduct with them was not appropriate.