Daily Archives: 04/08/2017

Zimbabwe: Ensure Transparency and Independence of Judiciary | Joint Letter

August 4, 2017

The Honorable Robert Gabriel Mugabe
The President of the Democratic Republic of Zimbabwe
Munhumutapa Building

Re: Concerns over Constitution Amendment Bill (No.1) and judicial independence in Zimbabwe.

Your Excellency,

The undersigned bar associations and organizations concerned with the rule of law respectfully write to note our grave concern over the future of the independence of the judiciary in Zimbabwe. We are a group of independent regional and international bar associations and organizations committed to advancing the rule of law and the independence of the legal profession worldwide. In particular, we are concerned by current attempts to amend the Constitution of Zimbabwe (the Constitution) through Constitution Amendment Bill (No. 1) Bill, 2017 (H.B. 1, 2017) (the Bill) in a manner that will decrease transparency and independence in the selection of judges.

The Bill, particularly Section 6, amends Section 180 of the Constitution and introduces a new appointment process for the Chief Justice, Deputy Chief Justice and Judge President of the High Court. The current process provides for the selection of all judges through a system of public nomination and interviews, conducted by the Judicial Services Commission, after which shortlisted candidates are sent to the President for final selection.[1] The Bill seeks to replace this process and instead grant the President the sole discretion to appoint individuals to these three specific offices, which are the highest and most influential positions in the judiciary.[2] On July 25, 2017, the Lower House of Parliament passed the Bill. It will next go before the Senate for further scrutiny and, if passed, it will fall to your Excellency to veto or sign it into law. We write to urge you to exercise your veto power to avoid the appearance of a politicized judiciary.

Numerous civil society organizations in Zimbabwe, including the Law Society of Zimbabwe, have expressed deep concern[3] that this Bill, if passed, will erode the current system for the selection of judges, which is based on the constitutionally enshrined principle of separation of powers[4] and is meant to ensure an independent and impartial judicial system.[5] An independent judiciary is a vital check and balance in a democratic society and essential to maintaining the rule of law.


Iran/AI: Release human rights lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani now!

August 4, 2017

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شجاع او است که آزادى‌اش را فداى عدالت می‌کند

ایران باید مدافع حقوق بشر عبدالفتاح سلطانى را فورا آزاد کند
#مدافعان_ما_را_آزاد_کنید‏ ⁦ ⁦ https://t.me/Amnesty_International/290 ⁩

عبدالفتاح سلطانی، وکیل حقوق بشر، از ۱۹ شهریور ۱۳۹۰ به دلیل انجام حرفه خود و دفاع از حقوق بشر در زندان اوین است و دوران محکومیت ۱۳ ساله خود را می‌گذراند. او جایزه حقوق بشر کانون بین‌المللی وکلا را در سال ۱۳۹۳ و جایزه بین‌المللی حقوق بشر نورنبرگ را در سال ۱۳۸۸ دریافت کرده است.
عبدالفتاح سلطانی یکی از مؤسسان کانون مدافعان حقوق بشر در ایران است که مقامات در سال ۱۳۸۷ آن را غیر قانونی اعلام کرده و از ادامه فعالیت آن جلوگیری کردند.

Thailand/The Netherlands: Netherlands Embassy in Thailand supports human rights lawyer Sirikan June Charoensiri

August 2, 2017

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This morning a political officer of the Netherlands Embassy together with members of the Diplomatic Corps gave support to Thai human rights lawyer Ms Sirikan June Charoensiri who is under criminal investigation by the Public Prosecutor and Police because of doing her job as a lawyer representing pro-democracy clients. The Netherlands calls on the Thai authorities to stop these investigations and drop the charges. Human Rights Defenders deserve our protection!

(Embassy of the Netherlands in Thailand Facebook)

http://www.tlhr2014.com/th/?p=4806 (THAI)

DR Congo: «Les accusations de Muyambo contre Kamerhe sont infondées» – Mayo (UNC)

le 3 août, 2017

Le président inter-fédéral de l’UNC ville de Kinshasa Jean-Baudouin Mayo Mambeke rejette les accusations de Jean-Claude Muyambo pointant du doigt Vital Kamerhe comme responsable de son incarcération. Mayo Mambeke juge ces accusations infondées. D’après lui, il s’agit des allégations  légères  « de la part de quelqu’un qui se considère comme leader».

«Je suis au courant des accusations infondées de Muyambo, avocat et ancien bâtonnier. C’est étonnant, lui qui nous dit être victime d’une fausse accusation. Mais le voilà porter des fausses accusations sur Vital Kamerhe. Apparemment, il n’a pas de leçons. Sinon il n’accuserait pas les autres aussi légèrement et par simple peur » a dit le député national Mayo Mambeke.

Au sujet de la menace de Muyambo de quitter le Rassemblement au cas où ceci accepte de rallier l’UNC de Vital Kamerhe, Mayo Mambeke se pose la question sur la capacité de mobilisation de Muyambo et de son parti la SCODE. L’inter-fédéral de l’UNC ville de Kinshasa estime que seuls, l’UDPS, le MLC, l’UNC, et le G7 peuvent faire échec à la Majorité présidentielle.

Sur ACTUALITE.CD le mercredi 2 août dernier, Jean Claude Muyambo a accusé Vital Kamerhe de l’avoir trahi. «Kamerhe est responsable de mon emprisonnement» avait déclaré Jean-Claude Muyambo.


Pakistan: Parliament has become too weak: Rabbani

August 3, 2017

Parliament has become too weak: Rabbani

Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani yesterday said the parliament had become the most vulnerable institution of the country and called for inter-institutional dialogue to bring the country out of the prevailing crisis.

Speaking as the chief guest at a national seminar held in the memory of the 54 lawyers martyred last year in a suicide attack in Civil Hospital Quetta, he said the parliament stands really weak ‘today’ as anyone could launch a tirade and attack against it.

The democratic forces struggled against a dictator and got Article 58(2)(b) removed from the Constitution but now another method has arisen, Rabbani said referring to recent dislodging of Nawaz Sharif as prime minister by the Supreme Court.

Raza Rabbani paid glowing tribute to the lawyers martyred in the August 8, 2016 suicide attack. “We salute Shaheed Baz Muhammad Kakar and his colleagues,” he said.

Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan in his address lamented that religious extremism had inflicted unfathomable damage to the country.

He paid tribute to the martyrs, and said Quetta lawyers had bravely stood against General Pervez Musharaf who had attacked the judiciary. “Their struggle and services will always be remembered,” he added.

The senator said Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are reeling under extremism and terrorism. He said “we have become so intolerant, extremist and sectarian that we declare infidels all those who do not subscribe to our ideology”. Murder or martyrdom, as you may prefer to call it, has become so commonplace that no one considers it an issue anymore, he added.

Kenya: State sued over Chris Msando, Jacob Juma and other killings

August 3, 2017

Businessman Jacob Juma during a past interview. PHOTO | FILE

Former Law Society of Kenya boss Apollo Mboya has sued the State over rising disappearances of people and extrajudicial killings.

The case comes on the backdrop of the murder of IEBC ICT Manager Chris Msando and KMTCgraduand Carol Ngumbu.

FROM 2008

Mr Mboya on Wednesday sued the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Inspector-General of Police, the Director of Criminal Investigations as well as the Attorney-General.

He wants them ordered to produce probe reports of all missing persons and extrajudicial killings from February 2008 to date.

In his suit, he has a list of the some of the people who were either killed or disappeared without trace.

They include lawyers Albert Muriuki, who disappeared while working as a deputy director for constitutional and legislative affairs at State House, Willie Kimani, Geofrey Oriaro, Ronald Joseph Lubya and Jared Ratemo.

Mr Kimani disappeared and was found murdered alongside his client Josephat Mwenda and their taxi driver Joseph Muiruri in June 2016.

Mr Mboya wants the court to compel the sued parties to produce recorded footage of State House, Mombasa and Thika roads in a bid to shed light on the disappearance of some of the missing people.

He also wants the court to find that enforced disappearances and extra judicial killings have become widespread and require a judicial inquiry so as to bring to account those responsible.

He further wants his case to be heard by a three-judge bench.






India: Indian Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL) fact finding team released press note on the arrest and incarceration of Advocate Murugan and the curtailment of Advocate’s right to strike at press club, Madurai , Tamilnadu

August 4, 2017

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China: Son of mainland human rights lawyer Chen Jiangang barred from school after request by authorities

August 4, 2017

chen jiangang

The son of human rights lawyer Chen Jiangang has been prevented from attending a private school following a request by local authorities. Chen previously assisted Xie Yang, a fellow rights lawyer who was arrested during the so-called 709 crackdown in 2015.

On his social media account, Chen wrote that he received a call from a private international school at which he was enrolled, saying that Beijing’s Tongzhou District Education Commission asked them not to accept him, RTHK reported. The school had earlier admitted his son, and Chen already paid a school fee of over 50,000 RMB (HK$58,000).

China launched a massive crackdown on human rights lawyers in 2015, with a campaign of mass arrests commencing on July 9. Last month, activists in Hong Kong held a silent march to mark the two-year anniversary of the incident, also known as the 709 crackdown.

Earlier this year, Chen was detained along with his family and friends during a trip to Jinghong, Yunnan. Over 100 Chinese lawyers subsequently signed a statement calling for his release.

The detention came after Chen released a detailed interview transcript in which his client, Xie Yang, accused police of using sleep deprivation, long interrogations, beatings, death threats, humiliations on him while in custody, risking his safety and career to do so.

After the transcript was posted online, the authorities replaced Chen and forbade him from meeting with Xie.

However, Xie’s account met with condemnation from Chinese state media, which said it was “fake news” fabricated to cater to western media.

On May 8, Xie Yang was tried at Changsha City Intermediate People’s Court for “inciting subversion of state power” and “disrupting court order” – charges often used by China to silence dissent.


Turkey: Investigate Ankara Abductions, Disappearances

August 3, 2017

Önder Asan (L), was abducted and secretly detained for 42 days and alleges that he was tortured; Cemil Koçak (C), a former civil servant was abducted in front of his eight-year old son; Mustafa Özben (R), a former teacher and lawyer, was also abducted

(Önder Asan (L), was abducted and secretly detained for 42 days and alleges that he was tortured; Cemil Koçak (C), a former civil servant was abducted in front of his eight-year old son; Mustafa Özben (R), a former teacher and lawyer, was also abducted under similar circumstances. Human Rights Watch has reviewed five cases of possible enforced disappearance by Turkish security forces. )

Turkish authorities should urgently investigate the abduction and possible enforced disappearance of at least four men in Ankara since March 2017, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül.

One of the abducted men, a former teacher, was located in official police custody after 42 days. At least three others were abducted in similar circumstances but their whereabouts remain unknown. The similarities between the abductions and the fact that one of the men was subsequently found in police custody are credible grounds to believe that the men may be victims of enforced disappearances by Turkish security forces or law enforcement agents.

“There are credible grounds to believe that government agents forcibly disappeared the missing men,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The Turkish authorities should promptly uphold their obligation to locate the missing men, who may be in grave danger, secure their release and if they are in custody give them immediate access to a lawyer, and let their families know where they are.”

An enforced disappearance occurs when a person is taken into custody, or otherwise deprived of their liberty by the state or its proxies, but authorities subsequently deny it or refuse to provide information about the person’s whereabouts, placing the victim outside the protection of the law.







Cameroon: Profiling S. Cameroonians in Yaoundé Prisons: Detainee 0002 : Hon Lord Justice Ayah Paul Abine

August 2, 2017

HRH, Hon Lord Justice Ayah Paul Abine is one of the eldest among the Southern Cameroonian detainees, in Yaoundé Prisons. He is currently being detained at the Secretariat of State at the Ministry of Defense in Charge of the National Gendarmerie, better known by its French acronym SED (Secretariat d’Etat au Ministere de la Defence, en charge de la Gendarmerie,) since January 21, 2017 when he was picked up at his residence in Yaoundé, without any arrest warrant.

No Charge after Six Months

Curiously, since the arrest of this judge and despite his age (67) he is being detained, according to his family, under life threatening conditions, and has not been charged as at the day of publishing this report. There have been several reports about the possibility of Hon Ayah losing his sight amid his continuous frail health situation. He was in June 2017 falsely rumoured dead! Yaoundé authorities have remained deaf over calls for his release.

The reasons for his arrest remain a mystery although it is suspected that he is being detained because he is a senior Southern Cameroons elite and for his request for a return to a ten state federation following his party’s constitution though he often said his personal opinion is the will of the people.     It is suspected that with apparently no charge against Hon Ayah, the military Tribunal, land him similar accusations like the other detainees, notably, hostility against the nation among others.

Hon Ayah had never hidden his thoughts. To him, the union between the then East and West Cameroon was not working. The super scale Judge had argued that on point of law there was and there is no legal binding document keeping the two countries together.
He too was of the opinion that if there is no possibility of a return to a federal state, Southern Cameroons has the right and should be allowed to go its separate way.  He wrote and granted interviews, expressing his views as politely and humbly as he could. He never was violent and never supported same.

There is no wonder that Hon Ayah Paul on July 27th 2017 took the Government of Cameroon to the United Nations and accused them for kidnap, illegal arrest, demanding huge compensation.

Enriching Legal Career

At the time of his arrest he was deputy Attorney General at Cameroon’s Supreme Court in Yaoundé.  With a 24 year career in the judiciary, Hon Paul Ayah Abine isone of the longest serving members of the judicial arm of government, the lone Southern Cameroonian who has attained that rank in the country’s judiciary. He has been Chief Magistrate, Presiding and legal officer, District Deputy Attorney, Head of High Courts in different regions of Cameroon.




https://www.crisisgroup.org/fr/africa/central-africa/cameroon/250-cameroons-anglophone-crisis-crossroads (FRANCAIS)

http://www.camer.be/61900/11:1/-cameroun-rencontre-entre-laurent-esso-et-la-diaspora-camerounaise-quand-les-activistes-sen-melent-texte-et-video-cameroon.html (FRANCAIS)

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