August 1, 2017
Leopoldo López and #Antonio Ledezma had been under house arrest, but, according to their close relatives’ tweets, they have been taken awayfrom their houses. One of their relatives blamed Venezuela #PresidentNicolas Maduro for everything which goes on with the two men, who are the leaders of the Venezuelan opposition.
How did it happen?
“12:27 in the morning: the moment when the dictatorship kidnaps Leopoldo at my house,” tweeted López’s wife, Lilian Tintori, sharing the video of his kidnapping. Vanessa Ledezma shared a similar video about Antonio Ledezma. There is no information who and where took them away, but they both were driven away in a vehicle with the mark “SEBIN,” which is an abbreviation for the intelligence service in Venezuela.
Lawyer Juan Gutierrez wrote on Twitter that “there is no legal justification to revoke the #House Arrest measure”.
August 18, 2017
On Wednesday, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte paused his routine incitement and instigation of the deaths of suspected drug users and drug dealers to identify a new public enemy: human-rights organizations demanding an end to his murderous “war on drugs”.
Duterte called for police to shoot human-rights activists “who are part of [drug activity]. If they [members of human-rights organizations] are obstructing justice, you shoot them.”
August 17, 2017
It is no secret that many of the rights that are taken for granted in some countries are systematically and increasingly denied in others —particularly political freedoms such as freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. What might be surprising to many, however, is to find out that some of the investments funded by our tax money through international financial institutions like the World Bank Group are being used to target and suppress human rights activists.
On July 28th, 2017, a prominent Egyptian human rights activist submitted a complaint to the watchdog of the World Bank Group’s private sector arm – the Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman (CAO), which holds the International Finance Corporation (IFC) accountable. The complaint alleges that a commercial bank in which the IFC holds an equity stake and has invested hundreds of millions of dollars, has colluded with the Egyptian regime to retaliate against human rights defenders, violated national law and the constitution, and threatened her safety.
On November 11th, 2016, Azza Soliman, a prominent human rights lawyer and activist, and founder of the Center for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance (CEWLA), couldn’t withdraw money from her personal or business accounts with Ahli United Bank (AUB). She was one of the activists involved in the court case. Two weeks later, she was told that the bank’s decision to freeze the account was in response to a request from the investigative judge, in clear violation of a national law that stipulates that freezing assets can only be carried out via court order. In fact, the court order to freeze Azza’s assets was only issued a month later, on December 17th, 2016. Other Egyptian banks, complying with the law, notified her that the verdict would become effective a month from the verdict date (mid-January 2017).
The story didn’t end there. As a lawyer who knows her rights, Azza filed a police report against AUB. The investigative judge responded by issuing a retaliatory arrest warrant for Azza who was taken by force from her home in the early morning hours on December 7th, 2016, to the police station, then to the investigative judge office where she spent the full day before being bailed out. The story of her arrest went viral and was picked up by state-controlled media outlets. But the pro-regime hosts of some of the most- watched TV shows used this opportunity to renew their attack on human rights activists and especially on Azza in a way that exposed her and her family to further threats and intimidation.