Daily Archives: 17/04/2018

Egypt: Egypt NGO defends detained human rights lawyer

March 19, 2018

The Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF) has condemned the detention of the organisation’s executive director Ezzat Ghonim and expressed concern for his welfare in a press statement.

The human rights lawyer has been detained since 1 March in an undisclosed location; prior to his disappearance he had been working on the case of the arrest of a mother who accused Egyptian police of torturing her daughter, Zubeida Ibrahim, and being behind her disappearance in a BBC report, which angered Egyptian authorities last month.

Ghonim, who disappeared on his way home from work, appeared in a video published by the Egyptian Interior Ministry appearing weak and tired, prompting ECRF to issue a statement last week appealing for his release.

“We wish the Ministry of the Interior to exercise its work in the face of violence and terrorism without being involved in the distortion of human rights defenders, especially that all the violations monitored by the coordination are documented and have an international resonance,” ECRF said.

Some 21 local and international NGOs have signed a letter calling for Ghonim’s release, stating that the security services will be held responsible for his personal safety.

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20180319-egypt-ngo-defends-detained-human-rights-lawyer/

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Indonesia: Lawyer, lecturer, residents arrested after land skirmish

March 19, 2018

Lawyer, lecturer, residents arrested after land skirmish

A lawyer, a university lecturer and seven residents were arrested by the police after a clash that followed a land execution order in Banggai regency, Central Sulawesi, on Monday.

Lawyer Julianer Aditia Warman and Universitas Muhammadiyah Luwuk lecturer Ade Putra were accused of provoking residents to defy the police and military personnel, said Banggai Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Heru Pramukarno.

The seven residents — Edwar Steven, Amran Saputra, Raden Mushodi, Suwardian Amir, Atis, Salmin and Tamrin — were arrested for allegedly throwing stones at the police and the military personnel, he added. The police also claimed the residents were armed with Molotov cocktails and sharp weapons.

Muhammad Sidik Djatola, a lawyer, said Julianer was arrested after a press conference. “He was there as the residents’ lawyer. There was no reason for the police to take him.”

Human rights and environmental activists in Palu said they would protest against the land execution and the arrests. The lawyers claimed the land execution, which was ordered by the Luwuk District Court, was flawed. They said the order originated from a dispute that did not involve the protesting residents’ lands.

Before his arrest, Julianer said the dispute was over 600 square meters of land. The title holder submitted a land execution request to the court for 6 hectares land and the court issued the order, he added.

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/03/19/lawyer-lecturer-residents-arrested-after-land-skirmish.html

http://interpanasia.com/news/2018/03/20/residents-clash-with-police-personnel-in-land-execution-in-c-sulawesi/

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/03/21/tanjung-sari-evictees-seek-refuge-in-mosques-fish-market.html

Venezuela/Argentina: Argentine Human Rights Lawyer Is Latest Venezuelan Detainee to Flee

March 19, 2018

Image result for Marcelo Crovato

An Argentine-Venezuelan rights lawyer became the latest activist to escape detention by President Nicolas Maduro’s government and flee Venezuela over the weekend.

 

“I am so happy to be free, but so sad for what’s left behind,” Marcelo Crovato, 51, told Reuters after reaching Colombia from where he was flying to Argentina later on Monday.

 

Crovato was detained at his Caracas home in 2014 while working for a rights group defending young protesters during a wave of demonstrations against Maduro’s socialist government. Forty-three people were killed and thousands were injured during the unrest.

 

He spent 10 months at a prison where he had once served as director, before being granted house arrest.

 

Speaking by telephone from Colombia, Crovato declined to give full details of his escape for fear of retaliation against friends or relatives by Venezuelan intelligence agents.

https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2018-03-19/argentine-human-rights-lawyer-is-latest-venezuelan-detainee-to-flee

https://www.voanews.com/a/argentina-human-rights-lawyer-venezuela-detainee-flee/4305385.html

https://www.sinmordaza.com/noticia/493237-el-calvario-del-argentino-venezolano-marcelo-crovato.html (ESPANOL)

http://www.elnuevoherald.com/noticias/mundo/america-latina/venezuela-es/article205744629.html (ESPANOL)

https://www.lanacion.com.ar/2118067-marcelo-crovato-tuve-que-tomar-esta-decision-de-huir-porque-me-iba-a-morir-preso (ESPANOL)

https://elcomercio.pe/mundo/latinoamerica/calvario-marcelo-crovato-argentino-estuvo-1-426-dias-preso-politico-venezuela-noticia-507588 (ESPANOL)

http://www.continental.com.ar/noticias/internacional/la-historia-de-marcelo-crovato-el-preso-politico-argentino-que-logro-escapar-de-venezuela/20180319/nota/3725681.aspx (ESPANOL)

https://www.boursorama.com/actualite-economique/actualites/venezuela-un-avocat-opposant-a-maduro-fuit-en-colombie-b2fd455bb53e89af2a518019795b829b (FRANCAIS)

http://fr.africatime.com/ouganda/db/venezuela-un-avocat-opposant-maduro-fuit-en-colombie (FRANCAIS)

Azerbaijan: IBAHRI calls for Azerbaijan Bar Association to revoke suspension of human rights lawyer’s licence

March 22, 2018

In support of lawyer Fakhraddin Mehdiyev’s 16 March 2018 appeal for the decision suspending him from practise to be overturned, the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) also calls on the Azerbaijan Bar Association to revoke its judgment. The ruling followed a complaint by the Deputy Prosecutor-General of Azerbaijan Rustam Usubov that Mr Mehdiyev and other colleagues were ‘politicised’.

A prominent defender of the rights of political prisoners, Mr Mehdiyev’s licence to practice law was suspended for one year on 22 January 2018 by the Azerbaijan Bar Association for allegedly disclosing prosecution material when he handed an overview of his client, Jahangir Hajiyev former Chairman of the Board of the International Bank of Azerbaijan, to media representatives. Mr Mehdiyev argues that this was legal, as the case had already been decided at the time the interview was given.

IBAHRI Director, Phillip Tahmindjis, commented: ‘The decision to suspend Mr Mehdiyev’s licence appears as part of a deliberate attempt by the Azerbaijan Bar Association to discredit lawyers who take on cases deemed politically sensitive. It is not the role of the Bar Association to pass judgement on the clients of lawyers. Rather, the Azerbaijan Bar Association should seek to protect the independence of the lawyers it seems so intent on attacking.’

Mr Mehdiyev is among a number of lawyers suspended or disbarred after representing political prisoners or government critics, including dozens of activists and journalists arbitrarily charged since President Ilham Aliyev came to power in 2003. In a move seemingly to minimise the number of opposition politicians receiving legal representation, the Code of Civil and Administrative Procedure (the ‘Code’) and the Bar Act were amended by Parliament on 31 October 2017 to allow only members of the Bar Association to represent clients in court. The amendments were signed into law on 7 November by President Aliyev and entered into force on 1 January 2018.

https://www.ibanet.org/Article/NewDetail.aspx?ArticleUid=468f15c6-f397-43ea-8796-86583b43287e

https://eurasianet.org/s/azerbaijans-rural-areas-lack-lawyers-following-new-rule

https://www.occrp.org/en/27-ccwatch/cc-watch-briefs/7999-azerbaijan-journalist-mukhtarli-s-appeal-denied

The Philippines: City councilor, lawyer, activists included in Negros town police’s poster of Reds

April 16, 2018

A councilor of the northern Negros Occidental city of Escalante, a lawyer who has longed worked with peasant and human rights groups, and a number of current and former leaders of activist groups were among more than 60 supposed communist rebels whose faces were printed on a police poster.

The National Federation of Sugar Workers issued an alert with a copy of the poster it said was being pinned up by the police force of the central Negros town of Moises Padilla.

The alert was released Monday, the same day human rights groups reported the arrest in Tarlac of Australian nun Patricia Fox, NDS, a volunteer with the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura, by Immigration officers.

At the top of the poster is the message, “CNN PERSONALITIES, if seen in the area, please text 09099191720.”

CNN is the acronym used by state security forces to refer to members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

Among the legal personalities whose faces are on the poster are Karapatan-Negros secretary general Clarizza Singson, Zara Alvarez of the Negros Island Health Integrated Program, UMA secretary general John Lozande,NFSW secretary general Christian Tuayon, National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers-Negros secretary general Benjamin Ramos, Escalante Councilor Bernardino Patigas, Julius Dagatan, Ronald Evidente, Ma Rina Amacio, Rogina Quilop, Lary Ocena and Anecita Rojo.

http://bulatlat.com/main/2018/04/16/city-councilor-lawyer-activists-included-negros-town-polices-poster-reds/

https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/983215/law-groups-to-un-special-rapporteur-executive-branch-attacking-judiciary

India: Bhima-Koregaon case: Pune police searches Nagpur lawyer’s home

April 17, 2018

A Pune police team today searched the residence of a lawyer here in connection with his “provocative speeches” at an event organised to mark the 200th anniversary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle which was marred by incidents of violence, officials said today.

The programme, “Elgar Parishad”, was organised at Shaniwar Wada in Pune on December 31 last year to commemorate the battle in which the British Army comprising Dalits had defeated the Peshwas.

Police officials said the Bhim Nagar residence of advocate Surendra Gadling was searched between 6:30 am and 1 pm in connection with an FIR registered in Pune pertaining to the Elgar Parishad.

Gadling had earlier given legal help to a number of leaders suspected to be involved in naxal activities, including suspended Delhi University professor GN Saibaba who was sentenced to life in prison on March 7 last year for alleged Maoist links and anti-India activities.

Talking to reporters, Gadling alleged that the men in uniform were troubling people like him and allowing the perpetrators of the Bhima-Koregaon violence to go scot-free.

“I did not participate in the Bhima-Koregaon event. However, we had collected funds for it like we do for any such programme. The police are troubling us and allowing those behind the violence to go scot-free. These raids are meant to silence people who have stood up to the RSS,” he alleged.

http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2018/apr/17/bhima-koregaon-case-pune-police-searches-nagpur-lawyers-home-1802762.html

http://twocircles.net/2018apr17/422640.html

https://www.nagpurtoday.in/bhima-koregaon-riots-pune-cops-raid-lawyers-house-in-nagpur/04171439

https://www.deccanherald.com/national/koregaon-bhima-riots-raids-multiple-locations-665037.html

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/dalit-activists-raided-across-maharashtra-ahead-of-planned-protests/575359.html

https://www.thequint.com/hotwire-text/maharashtra-police-raid-dalit-activists

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/pune-cops-raid-city-lawyer-in-bhima-koregaon-case/articleshow/63806262.cms

Case over Elgaar Parishad: Before search operations, A trail of ‘Naxal links’, multiple arrests, convictions & acquittals

http://sanhati-india.org/2018/04/17/iapl-condemns-harassment-of-advocate-surendra-gadling-and-dalit-activists-in-the-name-of-search-operations/

https://sabrangindia.in/article/people%E2%80%99s-organizations-demand-immediate-release-adv-upendra-nayak-odisha

https://www.counterview.net/2018/04/maharashtra-raids-on-dalit-activists.html

http://www.lokmat.com/nagpur/condemned-action-against-surendra-gadling/ (HINDI)

*Indian Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL) condemns harassment of Advocate Surendra Gadling and Dalit activists in the name of ‘Search operations’*

_April 17, 2018_

In a shocking development, the Pune (Maharashtra) police today, April 17, 2018 at around 6.00 a.m. conducted simultaneous searches at homes of prominent activists in Maharashtra namely Sudhir Dhavale (Dalit activist, Republican Panthers), Harshali Potdar (Woman activist, Republican Panthers), Ramesh Gaychor, Jyoti Jagtap, Sagar Gorkhe, Rupali Jadhav and Dhawala Dhengle (all Kabir Kala Manch activists) in relation to the violence that ensued on the day of bi-centenary celebrations of the battle of Bhima-Koregaon on January 31, 2018 and the subsequent bandh.

The Pune police also conducted a search at the Nagpur home and office of Surendra Gadling, a People’s Lawyer practicing there. His computer Hard disk, DVDs and other e-storage devices were seized by the police. Surendra Gadling is the General Secretary of the Indian Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL) and has been an active member since its formation in 2004. He has, since the last three decades, been litigating cases of those marginalized in the Indian judicial system, especially Dalits, tribals and workers from various backgrounds. He played a significant role in defending those incarcerated in draconian laws of TADA, POTA and UA(P)A including that of Sudhir Dhavale, Prof. G.N. Saibaba and also in defending rights of tribals arrested by the police under fabricated FIRs. Adv. Gadling has also fought for the rights of dalits in numerous atrocities such as the Khairlanji massacre. He himself has been resisting the anti-people stance of the state as a Human Rights activist and People’s Lawyer and due to this popularity, has even contested Bar Council elections for Maharashtra and Goa.

On December 31, 2017, an Élgaar Parishad was organised in Pune commemorating the 200th anniversary of the battle of Bhima-Koregaon wherein the Peshwahi rule in Maharahtra was defeated. The Elgar Parishad was organised with the stated objective of fighting Brahminism and Fascism i.e. the neo-peshwahi. The program was hugely successful and attended by thousands from across the state. However on January 1, 2018 the following day, those commemorating the event were attacked by a mob carrying saffron flags and instigated by Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote. These two right wing activists are closely connected with the ruling BJP and the Sangh Parivar and this attack was part of a pre-meditated plan.

Following this attack, the dalit community and sections from the Other Backward Castes (OBC) and Muslim communities participated in a State wide Bandh calling for the arrest of Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote. The police, rather than arresting these two instigators of the violence, retaliated by conducting massive combing operations in Dalit bastis and arbitrarily searching homes and arresting up young men. Thousands of people were detained illegally. FIRs under sections 153A, 505(1), 117 and 34 of IPC were registered against activists including Sudhir Dhavale, Harshali Potdar, Ramesh Gaychor, Jyoti Jagtap, Sagar Gorkhe and also against Jignesh Mevani (an elected Gujarat MLA) and Umar Khalid (a student leader) for participating in the Elgar Parishad.

Instead of taking strict and timely action against the inciters of the violence that ensued in Bhima Koregaon, the state machinery has sought to target activists and lawyers who are fighting regressive trends in the society. As for Advocate Gadling, his harassment is a clear case of targeting him for his persistent defence of numerous Rights activist and those arrested in fabricated cases. Gadling’s name was not even mentioned in the FIR, wherein the Pune Police have sought action. Being a dalit lawyer and activist, seems to be the rationale for making him a ‘natural’ target of the Pune FIR.

The Indian Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL) condemns the search conducted in the home and office of Advocate Surendra Gadling. Such search is nothing but an attempt to prevent Advocate Surendra Gadling from performing his professional duties, and representing clients targeted by the state, and such action amounts to interference with the administration of justice. IAPL also condemns the searches and harassment meted out to other activists and stands with them in this difficult hour of state hounding. IAPL declares that such searches are for the sole purpose of distracting people’s attention from the real culprits of the Bhima-Koregaon violence.

_Adv. Sudha Bharadwaj (IAPL, Vice President), Adv. Ankit Grewal (IAPL, Joint Secretary), Adv. Arun Ferreira (IAPL, Treasurer)_

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Burma: Ko Ni murder: hearing suspended

March 22, 2018

The latest hearing in the trial of suspected assassin Kyi Lin and three conspirators at Northern District Court was suspended today, apparently because the case files had been sent to Yangon Regional Court.

Ye Lwin, the deputy judge and information officer at Northern District Court in Yangon, said that the Regional Court had requested the files because both lawyers had submitted appeals.

“The district court cannot hold a hearing if it has no case files,” he told reporters. “The next hearing will be on 5 April, provided the Regional Court returns the files in time.”

Kyi Lin stands accused of murdering Ko Ni, a prominent Muslim lawyer and senior adviser to Aung San Suu Kyi. Ko Ni was gunned down in broad daylight at Yangon International Airport on 29 January 2017. The accused gunman, Kyi Lin, was arrested at the airport shortly after the murder, largely thanks to a vigilante cohort that chased him down, including 42-year-old taxi driver Nay Win, who was also shot dead.

Ko Ni was well-known for his efforts to amend Burma’s controversial, military-drafted constitution. Several voices, including Burma’s minister for home affairs, have insinuated that Ko Ni was assassinated at the orders of Buddhist extremists.

http://www.dvb.no/news/ko-ni-murder-hearing-suspended/80277

http://www.elevenmyanmar.com/crime/13595

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ko_Ni

https://www.mmtimes.com/news/plea-free-lawyer-protest-case-ignored.html

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The IBAHRI made statements before the Human Rights Council (HRC) calling upon the government of Myanmar to investigate the death of U No Ki and to cooperate with the fact-finding mission as stated in the HRC/34/L.8 Resolution on Myanmar. The IBAHRI also raised concern regarding the violence in Kachin, Rakhine, and Shan States.

Read more about this issue in the 2017 Annual Review: https://tinyurl.com/y7rhftx4

(International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute Facebook 2/5/18)