Monthly Archives: March 2018

Sudan: Govt Bans Ailing NUP/DBA Leader From Travelling to Cairo

March 9, 2018

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On Thursday the security services banned lawyer Mohamed Abdellah El Doma, the co-president of the National Umma Party (NUP) and chairman of Darfur Bar Association (DBA) from traveling to Cairo for medical treatment, and confiscated his passport.

El Doma, who spent more than a month in detention, told Radio Dabanga that on Thursday as he was on his way to Cairo for treatment after completing all the travel procedures. “One of the security personnel informed me I was banned from travelling on orders from senior authorities and confiscated my passport.”

He asserts that this procedure is considered a violation of the right to travel and treatment that will affect his health which, he said, was already deteriorating when he was detained.

In a statement, the NUP strongly condemned the banning after more than a month of detention and the confiscation of his passport without legal justification.

The NUP said that the health situation of El Doma requires urgent medical follow-up, especially since he had already undergone surgery and received treatment in Cairo during the past three months and that the period of detention under extremely harsh conditions in Shala prison has doubled his suffering from back pain.


March 9, 2018

When I lived in Egypt more than 15 years ago, I knew a gentleman who regularly ran in local elections.  He never put any work into a campaign or hoped to win office, but he ran, nonetheless, and thus gave his opponent the appearance of having real competition.

Today Egypt is preparing for a presidential election that will—like nearly all those before it—follow this same model. During the elections that will take place from March 26–28, Egyptians will have the opportunity to choose between incumbent President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Moussa Mostafa Moussa, the chairman of the Al-Ghad party who was, until the day he announced his candidacy (after every other intended candidate had withdrawn or, in the least subtle case, been arrested), actively campaigning for Sisi. The outcome, of course, is all but guaranteed.

The veneer of democracy in Egypt has always been thin, but since the rise of Sisi, only the most half-hearted effort has been made to keep up the façade.

Shortly after the mother’s arrest, Ezzat Ghoneim, the prominent human rights lawyer who was handling her case—as well as Wadnan’s—went missing as well, turning up on March 4 to be interrogated in front of the State Security Prosecution. That was a day after prosecutors requested the death penalty in a mass political trial that includes the photojournalist Mahmoud Abou Zeid, known as “Shawkan,” who was detained in 2013 while covering the massacre in Raba’a Square and who could now be executed for his work as a journalist.

Turkey/EU/European Parliament: EP member Sommer: High time for EU to act over shocking developments in Turkey

March 9, 2018

Dr. Renate Sommer, a member of the European Parliament (MEP), has called on the European Union to put more pressure on Turkey’s autocratic regime under the rule of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and stated that “If the EU keeps feeding carrots without ever using the stick, it will lose its credibility and betray its own values. It is high time to act for the EU!”

Sommer, who has been a German Christian Democrat MEP since 1999 and a member of the EPP Group in the European Parliament, wrote an article for the Brussels-based online news outlet Vocal Europe on Friday and said: “The state of the rule of law, democracy and human rights in Turkey is shocking. Since the failed coup, the Turkish government misuses the steadily prolonged state of emergency to silence critics from all fields. Members of the opposition, journalists, human rights activists, academics and others are arrested on ridiculous grounds.”

“Those who counted on the balancing power of the Turkish Justice system were deeply disappointed,” Sommer said and added that “Lower courts ignored the rulings by the Turkish constitutional court to release the journalists Mehmet Altan and Şahin Alpay. The decision to release human rights activist Taner Kılıc was withdrawn only several hours after the ruling became public. Those examples show that Turkey is not governed by the rule of law but by the rule of despotism.”

Renate Sommer’s article continues as follows: 

“Unbelievably many critics lost their jobs. Especially entrepreneurs who were members of the Gülen Movement were expropriated, their companies closed or nationalized, and sold by the state.

Interestingly, and this is not well known outside Turley, this expropriation began even before the coup attempt. Meanwhile one third of all lawyers and judges, one tenth of the police force, 110.000 officials and teachers and 5000 academics were simply laid-off. All of those people are left with nothing. From one minute to the other, they lost their pension rights, have no financial support at all and cannot find a new job. The atmosphere in the Turkish population is poisoned by a network of informants on alleged Gulen members and on critics against the government or the president. There is an overall climate of fear.

As member of the Joint-Parliamentary Committee and Standing EPP Rapporteur on Turkey, I have been criticizing the developments in Turkey for many years. The events after the coup, however, made things much worse.

Burma: Suspects in NLD Lawyer’s Killing Will Ask to Review Indictment at Divisional Court

March 9, 2018

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The defense lawyers for the four suspects in the killing of prominent lawyer U Ko Ni will present a criminal revision petition to the Yangon Division High Court next week, requesting that the judge reconsider the indictment order issued by the Northern District Court.

U Kyaw Kyaw Htike, the defense lawyer for accused gunman Kyi Lin, told The Irrawaddy after the 48th court hearing for U Ko Ni’s murder trial on Friday that he will present the criminal revision to the divisional court on March 16 on behalf of all of the defendants.

U Ko Ni, a constitutional lawyer and legal adviser to the ruling National League for Democracy party, was gunned down outside Yangon International Airport on Jan. 29 last year. Police detained four suspects in connection with the crime: accused gunman Kyi Lin and three alleged co-conspirators Zeya Phyo, Aung Win Zaw and Aung Win Tun.

After nearly a year of preliminary hearings, the court charged Aung Win Tun under the Penal Code’s Article 212, which prohibits harboring an offender but allowed him to stand trial on bail last month after he deposited 50 million kyats (about US$37,300) for his release from custody. The other three suspects were indicted for premeditated murder, which carries life sentences.

France: Réforme de la justice : “aucune fermeture de tribunal”, ni “carte judiciaire”, assure Nicole Belloubet

le 9 mars, 2018

La garde des Sceaux, invitée vendredi de franceinfo, a assuré qu'”aucun lieu de justice sera fermé” à l’occasion de la réforme de la justice, estimant que “la carte judiciaire de 2008, imposée par le haut avait été traumatisante”.

  Nicole Belloubet, Garde des Sceaux, ministre de la Justice.

La garde des Sceaux, Nicole Belloubet, invitée de franceinfo vendredi 9 mars, accompagne cet après-midi le Premier ministre à Reims, pour annoncer la réforme de la justice, dont Emmanuel Macron a dévoilé, mardi, le volet pénal. La ministre a assuré que, sur la question des tribunaux, “aucun ne sera ferm锓Nous avons toujours dit que nous ne fermerions aucun lieu de justice”, a-t-elle précisé.

Au passage, la ministre de la Justice a égratigné la réforme menée par Rachida Dati, son homologue il y a dix ans. “Nous ne souhaitons pas nous inscrire dans une réforme de type carte judiciaire menée en 2008, qui était une réforme imposée par le haut et qui, finalement, était très traumatisante”, a déclaré Nicole Belloubet, prévenant qu’il y aura toutefois “des évolutions administratives”.

La ministre a assuré appliquer “une logique inverse”“Nous souhaitons nous appuyer sur les acteurs de terrain (…) pour leur dire ‘proposez nous des choses’ pour que, le cas échéant, la Justice puisse mieux fonctionner, pour que des compétences puissent mieux être exercées, au plus près des justiciables et le tout, évidemment en aboutissant à aucune fermeture de tribunal”, a assuré la garde des Sceaux.–26138667/

Click to access communique769_intersyndical_8_mars_2018.pdf,1638345.php

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Maldives: ‘Regrettable’ that Maldives government ‘has chosen not to engage constructively’: joint statement at HRC37

March 8, 2018

Over 40 countries have expressed ‘grave concern’ over the deteriorating human rights situation in the Maldives, saying that it is ‘regrettable’ that the Government of Maldives ‘has chosen not to engage constructively with this body [UN] and its mechanisms’.

A joint statement narrated at the 37th session of the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday, supported by a total of 41 countries, noted that 34 nations had, at the United Nations Human Rights Council in June 2017, “underlined the importance of allowing activities by opposition parties and political leaders, and space for the expression of diverse political views”.

“The statement stressed the need to respect the rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, the importance of independence of the judiciary and emphasized the need to uphold constitutional guarantees for human rights,” they noted.

Hence, they said that it is of “grave concern that in recent weeks the human rights situation has further deteriorated significantly”.

“We call on the Government of Maldives: to address immediately the deteriorating human rights situation in the country; to end peacefully the state of emergency; to restore all articles of the Constitution; to allow the Supreme Court and other branches of the judiciary to operate in full independence; to permit and support the full, free and proper functioning of Parliament, with the reinstatement of twelve members of the Parliament as ordered by the Supreme Court, and to free political prisoners and their family members,” they said in the statement.

China: Demanding the Dismissal of Zhang Jun as Minister of Justice

March 9, 2018

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Chinese Citizens’ Proposition to Monitor
—–Demanding the dismissal of Zhang Jun, Minister of Justice

8 March 2018

To all representatives of the 13th National People’s Congress,

As the Congress convenes for the first time under the current office term, and upon our aspirations for the building of a civilized nation with rule of law, with our apprehension towards the damages made for many years on our lawyering system and our foundation of rule of law by the Ministry of Justice, we solemnly submit to you, members of the Congress, the following request, made also upon our anxiety that as Chinese citizens, we might one day become parties in need of lawyers but could no longer find anyone genuinely responsible:

— Remove Zhang Jun from his duties as the Minister of Justice

Our reasons are as follows:

I. He follows the draconian laws and has stayed impenitent about the encroachment on the Constitution and the law
Ever since Wu Aiying took charge of the Ministry of Justice, she forced through the making of 5 departmental regulations that seriously infringe the Constitution and the laws and has persistently and extensively jeopardised the proper implementation of the law. The respective regulations are:

(1) Measures on the Administration of Law Firms (revised 2016, Order of the Ministry of Justice No.133);

(2) Measures on the Administration of the Lawyers Practice (revised 2016, Order of the Ministry of Justice No.134);

(3) Measures for the Annual Inspection and Evaluation of Law Firms (2010, Order of the Ministry of Justice No.121)

(4) Measures for the Administration of the Practise Licence of Lawyers and Law Firms, article 12 (2009, Order of the Ministry of Justice No.119);

(5) Articles 19 & 31, Measures for Punishing the Illegal Acts of Lawyers and Law Firms (2010; Order of the Ministry of Justice No. 122)

The above regulations and articles contravene with the Constitution and the law. They strictly restrain lawyers’ freedom of speech and their rights to comment on, and make recommendations for, state organs and their workers. They arbitrarily added for the lawyers and law firms obligations that are beyond the law. The All China Lawyers Association and the administrative departments of the judiciary at the provincial level across the country have gone further to issue normative documents that dictate the approval and reporting mechanism for lawyers who take up “mass cases” and “grave and sensitive” cases.

They have also made the payment of the membership fees to lawyers associations and the handling of sensitive and mass cases part of the indictors for annual inspection and evaluation. There has been no attempt to hide how power can be abused for self-interest. The payment of membership fees for the lawyers association is hooked up with the annual inspection system for recognition and “legitimacy. All these have become the authority’s ultimate weapons to control and repress the “unaccommodating” lawyers and law firms.

The regulatory rules above-noted have seriously violated not only the national laws. They also seriously contravene the norms set forth in the human rights doctrines such as the UN Basic Principles on the Roles of Lawyers. (See “Chinese Citizens’ Submission to dismiss Wu Aiying, Minister of Justice – Wu is suspicious of committing the crime of malfeasances, 罢免吴爱英司法部长职务公民监督建议书Chinese only)

Since he took up the position as the Minister of Justice in 2017, Zhang Jun has not been able to get rid of or repeal the unconstitutional and unlawful regulations, normative doctrines as well as those that breach the State Council’s administrative regulations, all issued within the 12 years when Wu was in charge of the Ministry of Justice. Instead of weeding the harms that Wu left on the lawyering system, Zhang has remained impenitent with no regard for public opinion. He daringly contravenes the Constitution and the laws in the pursuance of those regulations.

II. He abuses his position and power to intensify the
repression on rights lawyers

As the Minister of Justice, Zhang Jun has no reverence for the Constitution and the laws nor has he any compassion for lawyers. Conceited and arrogant, he constantly instigated suppression that goes beyond the legal boundary.

(1) When the Li Zhuang case of fabricated evidence was exposed in early 2009, amidst the Anti-Triad Campaigns in Chongqing, any legal professional who paid attention was able to see the flaws in the case. However, instead of examining the legal black holes therein, Zhang Jun embellished the campaign in his role as then deputy president of the Supreme Court. In a seminar on Criminal Trials convened in Chongqing on 10 May 2011 for judges across the country, Zhang extended his fulsome praises for Bo Xilai’s campaign of “Sing Red, Attack Black/ Triad”.

(2) The “Little River case” is well-known in the legal community. The attack on lawyers’ “disruption of court order” has also its origin from Zhang Jun. Clashes in court trial have existed for long. The Housemaid case in Hangzhou became a classic example when its lawyer Dang Linshan decided to withdraw from the court trail as a protest. When Zhang Jun was in charge of drafting the Supreme Court’s Judicial Explanations, he attempted to have the rules set for lawyers “disrupting court order” to be penalised by one-year suspension of practice. He did not succeed as a result of the strong objection to his self-assumed power to penalise.

(3) Since the second half of 2017 in particular, Zhang has adopted campaign-style tactics to persecute the lawyers disregarding the Constitution and the laws. Under the concerted manoeuvres of Zhang, the judicial administrative organs and the lawyers associations at various levels have been waving their big stick. They enforce meetings with lawyers, issue intimidation, secret inquiry, file cases against them and exert penalties. Within the span of about 6 months, more than a dozen of lawyers who had been out-spoken and well-respected in the profession were investigated, punished and pestered on completely unsubstantiated grounds and to the extent that they could no longer practise. Several law firms and some other lawyers have also encountered different kinds of harassments, retaliation, enforced rectification and licence cancellation.

Including but not limiting to the following lawyers and those who wish to apply for a practice certificate are:

(1) Lawyers Zhu Shengwu and Wu Youshui, respectively from Shandong and Zhejiang have had their lawyer licences revoked or suspended simply because they had exercised their freedom of speech, by posting on weibo criticisms that were meant to monitor state organs and their staff members.

(2) Similarly, when lawyers Li Jinxing from Shandong, Sui Muqing and Dang Linshan from Guangdong, Wen Donghai and Yang Jinzhu from Hunan strived to resist the court’s aggression while handling the so-called “sensitive cases”, they all were smeared or penalised by having their licences revoked or investigations filed against them on the pretext that they had disrupted court order.

(3) Lawyers Wang Liqian and Wang Longde from Yunan as well as Peng Yonghe from Shanghai had previously announced their withdrawal from all level of lawyers associations. Both Wang Liqian and Wang Longde have had their licences revoked as a result. As for Peng Yonghe, he was firstly dismissed by his law firm and subsequently encountered a lot of hassles in his various attempts to find a new firm. He still cannot practise up to this date.

(4) As a result of their involvement in the case of Wang Quanzhang, and their submissions to the authorities calling on good governance, Beijing lawyers Yu Wensheng and Cheng Hai were both taken revenged of, either with the lawyer’s or the law firm’s licence forcefully cancelled.

(5) In Guangzhou, Shi Ping fails to obtain a licence for trainee lawyer because the investigation which the public security departments have launched against him but on a groundless accusation is said to be unfinished.

In all fairness, the lawyers named here above might look radical in a country where genuine rule of law reigns. But in where human rights cases are frequent and access to justice is rare, what they did and said have neatly demonstrated that they are truly responsible lawyers. In the current times, these lawyers can never be too many. They are rare.

That the judicial administrative departments have been blatant in revenging and framing the lawyers with law-breaking tactics throughout the whole campaign-style repression, covering the stages of case filing, investigation, public hearing and the decision-making for a penalty, is particularly excruciating.

Shi Ping, Wang Liqian, Peng Yonghe, Chen Jiahong and Zhu Shengwu took reference of their own experiences and on 1 March 2018, they sent to the attention of Zhang Jun an open letter entitled “Stop the Campaign-Style Repression on Lawyers”. Therein elucidated were the dangers and violations involved in such manoeuvres for persecution. 《请终止对律师的运动式打压》 (Chinese only)

III. It is necessary to subscribe to the rule of law and remove the potential threat for justice

Article 41 of our Constitution stipulates that “Citizens have the right to criticize and make suggestions regarding any State organ or functionary. Citizens have the right to make to relevant State organs complaints or charges against, or exposures of, any State organ or functionary for violation of law or dereliction of duty” and in article 5, that “All acts in violation of the Constitution or other laws must be investigated. No organization or individual is privileged to be beyond the Constitution or other laws.”

We believe that in where rule in accordance to the law is promoted by the State, Zhang Jun should have known well the need for him to be a role model to abide by the Constitution and the law. He however has obstinately continued to implement those unconstitutional and unlawful rules and regulations which target the lawyers and were issued by Wu Aiying. He has also instigated the campaign-style persecution against the lawyers, and has thereby, seriously undermined the authority of the Constitution and the law. While made on the pretext of protecting the “rule of law”, the strikes on lawyers are in fact functioning to unscrupulously ruin it. The results will be detrimental not only to the development of the lawyers’ profession but also to the rights of the citizens. Zhang’s maneouvres have instigated the expansion of reckless power, evoked the evil ethos of the Cultural Revolution and paved the path for the turbulent times to loom.

Basing on the above and pursuant to articles 63, 67 of the Constitution and article 80 of the Law on Legislation, we hereby submit to all members of the Congress our proposition for the dismissal aforesaid.

For co-signatures, please write to:

Co-signatories as of 8 March 2018 (1st batch)

1. Wang Liqian, Kunming ,Yunan 138 0872 1160 (王理乾 云南 昆明)
2. Shi Ping, Guangzhou, Guangdong 135 9807 0847 (施平 广东广州)
3. Ji Yuan, Hengyang, Hunan 137 8938 8964 (姬原 湖南衡阳)
4. Bao Longjun Inner Mongolia 186 9807 1701 (包龙军 内蒙古)
5. Sui Muqing Guangzhou 137 1112 4956 (隋牧青 广州)
6. Cui Fangzhen, Shenyang Liaoning 133 7282 3681 (崔方振 辽宁沈阳)
7. Zeng Rongkang, Chengdu 139 8091 6982 (曾荣康 成都)
8. Chi Shengyan, Enshi, Wubei 134 7726 3397 (池盛言 湖北恩施)
9. Guo Dasheng, Zhuzhou Hunan 189 7332 9558 (郭大圣 湖南株洲)
10. Li Songyang, Henan 132 9096 2668 (李松阳 河南)

11. Xu Peiling, Shanghai 181 2143 9381 (徐佩玲 上海)
12. Zheng Peipei, Shanghai 021 5396 3826 (郑培培 上海)
13. Tan Lanying, Shanghai citizen 189 6433 3123 (谈兰英 上海公民)
14. Wang Baomei , Shanghai citizen 131 6257 0786 (王宝妹 上海公民)
15. Qiu Bei, Shanghai 186 1634 9160 (邱蓓 上海)
16. Chen Chongjin, Fuzhou, Fujian 132 0591 1080 (陈崇金 福建福州)
17. Luo Kaiwen, Sichuan 152 2883 3438 (罗开文 四川)
18. Li Tinghui, Sichuan 139 8042 8916 (李廷惠 四川)
19. Zhang Zuocheng, Sichuan 137 3038 1951 (张作成 四川)
20. Xiong Kejin, Sichuan 158 2826 7056 (熊克金 四川)

21. Deng Pinfang, Sichuan 158 8455 4531 (邓品芳 四川)
22. Wei Xiaobing, Sichuan 138 2894 2488 (卫小兵 四川)
23. Zhang Jian, Shanghai 135 8553 4913 (张建 上海)
24. Xiao Fuping, Hunan 155 7430 1202 (萧伏平 湖南)
25. Wu Suyun, Sichuan 130 9446 4989 (武素云 四川)
26. Peng Tianhui, Sichuan 136 4802 7163 (彭天惠 四川)
27. Yuan Xiangrong, Sichuan 159 8283 0513 (袁香蓉 四川)
28. Wu Guohua , Sichuan 136 0805 9264 (吴国华 四川)
29. Li Li, Sichuan 187 8359 6672 (李 励 四川)
30. Sun Jiang, Hunan 133 1951 9025 (孙 强 湖南)
31. He Dezhong, Sichuan (贺德忠 四川)
32. Chen Guang, Fujian 136 9686 6639 (陈光 福建)
33. Wu Zhigang, Shanxi 139 9486 8964 (武志刚 山西)
34. Huang Wenzhong, Fujian 138 0857 7770 (黄文忠 福建)
35. Cao Huping, Jiangsu 138 0908 6548 (曹胡萍 江苏)
36. Xu Qinghua, Jiangsu 139 0512 8288 (徐庆华 江苏)
37. Wang Zhigang, Hebei 131 7197 8996 (王志刚 河北)
38. Zhuang Lei, Fuzhou Fujian 131 0768 6333 (庄磊 福建福州)
39. Liang Baiduan, Fuzhou Fujian 134 8991 8432 (粱白端 福建福州)
40. Zhang Lifang, Ningde Fujian 188 0500 2636 (张丽芳 福建宁德)

41. He Zongwan, Fuqing Fujian 189 6080 9453 (何宗旺 福建福清)
42. Xie Xiaozhen, Fuzhou Fujian 137 9991 7031 (谢小珍 福建福州)
43. Lin Yingjiang, Fuzhou Fujian 187 5918 4806 (林应强 福建福州)
44. Liu Xinglian, Chinese citizen, Hainan 131 7898 5270 (中国公民 刘兴联 海南)
45. Tong Wenjie, citizen Changde Hunan 135 7590 4952 (童文杰 湖南公民 常德)
46. Ma Yongtao, Chinese citizen, Hebei 316 8617 9556 (中国公民 马永涛 河北)
47. Chen Jianfang, citizen Shanghai 150 2651 6445 (中国上海公民 陈建芳)
48. Xie Wenkai, Tongchuan Shannxi 139 9294 2382 (谢文凯 陕西铜川)
49. Zhang Yongning, Chinese citizen 138 9518 6790 (中国公民 张永宁)
50. Zhang Jiarui, Chinese citizen in San Francisco USA
+1 62 6541 5832 (中国公民 张家瑞,美国旧金山)

51. Guo Run Zhai , Henan 137 8254 4225 (郭润斋 河南)
52. Cheng Hai, lawyer, Beijing 189 1053 5236 (程海 北京律师)
53. Zou Lihui, lawyer, Fujian 133 3828 3186 (邹丽惠 福建律师)
54. Peng Yonghe, lawyer, Shanghai 138 1635 3773 (彭永和 上海律师)
55. Chang Boyang, lawyer, Henan 188 3718 3338 (常伯阳 河南律师)
56. Yang Qiuhong, citizen, Guangxi (杨秋红 广西公民)
57. Lu Caixin, citizen, Guangxi (陆彩新 广西公民)
58. Lu Caihua, citizen, Guangxi (陆彩华 广西公民)
59. Qing Meilan, citizen, Guangxi (覃梅兰 广西公民)
60. Huang cuihua, citizen,Guangxi (黄翠花 广西公民)

61. Huang Qinghong, citizen, Guangxi (黄庆洪 广西公民)
62. Wei Limin, citizen, Guangxi (韦丽民 广西公民)
63. Wei Jinde, citizen, Guangxi (韦锦德 广西公民)
64. Huang Shiqi, citizen, Guangxi (黄十七 广西公民)
65. Meng Jinde, Guangxi (蒙金德 广西公民)
66. Yue San, Henan 158 0382 4158 (岳三 河南)
67. Hou Shuai, Henan 156 1761 3690 (侯帅 河南)
68. Xu Yan, wife of Yu Wensheng, Beijing (许艳 北京, 余文生律师夫人)
69. Zhong Jinhua, lawyer, Shanghai (钟锦化 上海律师)
70. Cheng Weishan, Xuzhou Jiangsu (程为善 江苏徐州)
71. Tang Jitian, Beijing (唐吉田 北京)

UK/Egypt: Support for lawyer at York bookshop on women’s day

March 8, 2018

Friends of Egyptian lawyer, Azza Soliman at the Books for Amnesty Shop in Goodramgate with (l-r), Patricia Bartley , Centre for Applied Human Rights University of York and Margot Brown of Books for Amnesty  Picture Frank Dwyer.

FRIENDS of an internationally-renowned human rights lawyer have paid tribute to her in York to mark International Women’s Day.

Egyptian lawyer Azza Soliman met Patricia Bartley – from the Centre for Applied Human Rights at the University of York – and Margot Brown of Books for Amnesty, when she lived in York in 2013.

Azza now works to defend victims of torture, arbitrary detention, domestic violence and rape in Egypt, but her actions have led her to be labelled a threat to the country’s national security. Her assets have been frozen, and she is banned from travelling.

A special window display including a portrait of Azza was put up at the Books for Amnesty shop in Goodramgate for the York International Women’s Festival, where Amnesty International Newsletters were handed out containing articles about Azza, and details of a petition to request her human rights are respected.

Sue Cooke, former Sheriff of York, said: “I was inspired by my meetings with Azza, she is a brave woman doing vital work for and with her country women, she deserves our help to continue this important work.” (SIGN THE PETITION!) (FRANCAIS) (ESPANOL) (NEDERLANDS) (NEDERLANDS) (NEDERLANDS) (SWEDISH)

China: Li Yuhan on hunger strike

March 8, 2018


On 1 March 2018, detained human rights lawyer Li Yuhan (李昱函) confirmed that she had been on hunger strike for one week, in protest against her treatment by the Chinese judicial system.

Li Yuhan is a Beijing-based human rights lawyer and advocate for victims of human rights violations, known to many in China’s human rights community as “big sister”. She has represented clients in numerous sensitive cases on freedom of belief and access to government information. In 2015, Li Yuhan acted as defence counsel for fellow lawyer Wang Yu, one of the central victims of China’s “709” crackdown on human rights lawyers.

Li Yuhan was arrested on 9 October 2017 and on 31 October 2017, her family learned that she had been placed under criminal detention in Shenyang City, Liaoning Province on charges of “picking quarrels and provoking troubles”.

On 28 February 2017, Li Yuhan’s son informed the human rights community that he heard that his mother had initiated a hunger strike. Li Yuhan’s communication with family and legal counsel is extremely limited, and her son only received this information via the lawyer of one of Li Yuhan’s cellmates.

On 1 March 2017, Li Yuhan’s lawyer, Ma Wei, traveled to the Shenyang City detention centre where Li Yuhan is being held. In a meeting with his client, Ma Wei learned that Li Yuhan had stopped accepting food from 24 February. Li Yuhan informed her lawyer that she is protesting her prolonged detention and her detention officer’s delayed delivery of necessary medication.

Syria: Regional: On International Women’s Day, GCHR honours women’s rights defenders in the Gulf and neighbouring countries

March 8, 2018

On International Women’s Day, marked annually on 08 March, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) honours Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs) in the region and beyond. While remembering those who passed away, we celebrate those who continue the struggle. We stand in solidarity with their efforts while renewing our commitment to provide any possible support to WHRDs in the Gulf region and neighbouring countries to carry out their activism.

In 2018, women all over the world are still demanding their basic rights to equal participation and representation politically, socially and economically. Despite experiencing a severe backlash from state and non-state actors and other components of society, WHRDs and feminist groups and their organisations are becoming stronger. Demanding their rights, challenging stereotypes and raising awareness through physical and online campaigns.

Women continue to be at the forefront of human rights struggles in areas of conflict such as Iraq, Yemen and Syria. They are continuously being subjected to other layers of discrimination, segregation and gender-based targeting to weaken their determination, increase their vulnerability, shake their confidence and threaten their security. However, this has never succeeded in deterring them from defending their rights and the rights of others.


In Syria, and precisely from Eastern Ghouta, Razan Zaitouneh, the head of the Violations Documentation Centre in Syria (VDC), winner of the 2011 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought and the 2011 Anna Politkovskaya Award of RAW in WAR (Reach All Women In War), remains enforceably disappeared for the fourth year, along with her three colleagues from VDC, including WHRD Samira Al-Khalil. (FRANCAIS) (FRANCAIS) (FRANCAIS) (ESPANOL)