August 10, 2017
Venezuela’s ousted chief prosecutor said on Thursday she fears for her life and is on the run, but will keep fighting for democracy and freedom in the country after being fired by a controversial new legislative superbody.
Luisa Ortega, who broke with President Nicolas Maduro in late March and became a vocal critic of his unpopular leftist government, spoke to Reuters at a secret location in Caracas after being fired by the constituent assembly on Saturday.
The pro-government Supreme Court has also said that a trial could begin against her but she has not formally been charged.
Still, the 59-year-old said she remained in hiding, moving between safe houses at least once a day, because she feared being arbitrarily thrown in jail amid an increasing breakdown of due process under Maduro.
“I do not know what dark intentions and dark plans they may have, not only to deprive me of my freedom, but also deprive me of my life,” said Ortega, sitting on a sofa in a safe house.
“I’m being permanently persecuted. There’s always a car following me, stopping where I stop, people taking photos of me and the places I go.”
July 24, 2017
The American Bar Association will honor Colombian lawyer Patricia Guerrero with its 2017 ABA International Human Rights Award in recognition of her long record of defending victims of sexual violence and women who are displaced by the Colombian armed conflict. The award will be presented to Guerrero at the International Distinguished Guests Dinner on Aug.10 at 6:30 p.m. at the Rockefeller Plaza Rainbow Room during the ABA Annual Meeting in New York City.
Guerrero, a feminist activist and former judge, is the founder and director of the League of Displaced Women (Liga de Mujeres Desplazadas), an independent nonprofit organization that advocates for protections for women who have been forced to flee their homes because of the country’s armed conflict.
Guerrero has fought for access to justice and the rights of displaced women and their families through aggressive political and legal advocacy, ensuring not only legal representation for victims, but also fighting for laws that protect and help them rebuild their lives. Despite often grave opposition from paramilitary forces, Guerrero is committed to aiding women impacted by the decades-long conflict.
“We honor Patricia Guerrero’s steadfast commitment to advocate for the rights of internally displaced women and children and to ensure justice for gender-based violence committed during Colombia’s civil war,” said ABA President Linda Klein. “Her achievements are particularly extraordinary given the tremendous obstacles, intimidation and threats that she and the League of Displaced Women have faced.”
The ABA International Human Rights Award was established to honor and give public recognition to an individual or an entity that has made an exceptional contribution to the advancement of human rights outside of the United States. The recipient is selected jointly by the ABA’s Center for Human Rights, the Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice, the Section of International Law, Section of Litigation and the Rule of Law Initiative.
@PatriciaGuerrero avocate colombienne qui défend droits humains et plus particulièrement droits des femmes , femme engagée, honorée par #ABA
(Dominique Attias Facebook)
Hon. Bernice B. Donald (left), Chair, ABA Center for Human Rights, with Patricia Guerrero, of Colombia, 2017 ABA International Human Rights Awardee, Rainbow Room, Rockefeller Center, New York, NY
(American Bar Association Center for Human Rights Facebook)
le 10 août, 2017
La brigade nationale de la police judiciaire (BNPJ) de Tétouan a convoqué mercredi 9 août, Abdessadek El Bouchtaoui, l’un des avocats du collectif de défense des détenus du Hirak du Rif.
Commentant sa convocation sur sa page Facebook, El Bouchtaoui a notamment écrit: « Les voix libres, les plumes libres et tout militant des droits de l’Homme sont automatiquement ciblés. C’est pour cette raison que j’ai été convoqué pour comparaître d’urgence devant la police de Tétouan ».
Il a ajouté que « cela est en relation avec les efforts que je déploie, les déclarations que j’accorde et les posts que je publie sur ma page Facebook dans le cadre de la loi, la constitution et les conventions internationales signées pour la défense de mes frères du Rif et les détenus du Hirak populaire ».
August 10, 2017
Dissident rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who remains under house arrest since his release from prison in August 2014, is unlikely to regain any measure of freedom before the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s 19th congress later this year, his friends told RFA.
Gao, once a well-known human rights lawyer, now lives in a cave home in a remote village in the northern province of Shaanxi, and has been repeatedly denied permission by the Chinese police to see a dentist for treatment after losing several teeth to torture and neglect during his incarceration.
Gao, 53, has published a book detailing the torture he endured at the hands of the authorities during his time in prison, and has described being repeatedly tortured when he was secretly jailed at a “military site” during one of many disappearances.
“It’s not going to happen, particularly not before the 19th Party Congress,” a Xi’an-based friend of Gao’s told RFA. “He will be put under very close surveillance, and there is no likelihood of his leaving that village.”
“We will have to see whether an opportunity will arise after the Party Congress is over.”
He said Gao’s friends are extremely concerned about his safety and well-being.
August 10, 2017
Iraqi authorities have issued arrest warrants for at least 15 private lawyers since July 24, 2017, on charges of Islamic State (also known as ISIS) affiliation for their past work in ISIS courts, Human Rights Watch said today. While lawyers are not immune from prosecution if they engage in criminal activity, they should not be prosecuted for doing their job as lawyers, nor should the authorities associate them with their clients’ cause simply because they represented them.
All were representing ISIS suspects facing trial in Iraqi courts at the time of their arrest, raising concerns among local lawyers that the warrants were issued to intimidate lawyers defending ISIS suspects. One senior judge told Human Rights Watch that since the warrants were issued, private lawyers had stopped taking cases of any defendants that they believed to be ISIS-affiliated, only taking cases of people they thought were innocent. As a result, only state-appointed lawyers are taking on the cases of those believed to be ISIS-affiliated. Based on interviews with four lawyers, there are serious concerns that the state-appointed lawyers are not providing a robust defense of these clients.
“The authorities should immediately explain why they are detaining and charging these lawyers,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “They need to make it clear that Iraqi lawyers should not be afraid to defend ISIS suspects.”