Daily Archives: 29/04/2018

Syria: ‘A person who believed’: Remembering Razan Zaitouneh on her 41st birthday

April 29, 2018

One by one, prisoners exited government buses into a packed auditorium in Damascus earlier this month. Many of the detainees, formerly held by an Islamist rebel faction in East Ghouta, were set to rejoin their family and friends for the first time in years.

Jaish al-Islam, a once-powerful armed group in the suburbs east of Damascus, surrendered the city of Douma to the Syrian government in mid-April. As part of the deal, the rebels agreed to release all detainees they had accumulated over the past seven years.

For Suad Khabeia and other Syrian activists, the April 8 prisoner release in Damascus was the last glimmer of hope that they might see disappeared civil society activist Razan Zaitouneh again.

But although Jaish al-Islam had long boasted of holding thousands of prisoners, only 200 people were released before the faction’s fighters left for northern Syria alongside thousands of civilians earlier this month.

Zaitouneh, a Syrian lawyer and human rights advocate who gained international recognition for her civil society work in the wake of the 2011 Syrian revolution, was not among them.  

“Hope has withered away for most people,” Khabeia tells Syria Direct’s Noura al-Hourani from her home in Cairo, Egypt. Khabeia met Zaitouneh at a demonstration in Damascus in 2001 and worked with her for years before leaving Syria.

Zaitouneh founded the Violations Documentation Center (VDC) in April 2011—just after mass anti-government protests began in Syria—to track and report human rights abuses in the country by all parties.

Then, On December 9, 2013, masked gunmen raided the offices of the VDC in Douma and kidnapped four of its members: Zaitouneh, her husband Wael Hamada, Samira al-Khalil and Nazim Hamadi.  

Collectively known as the “Douma Four,” the kidnapped activists were never heard from again. Zaitouneh’s family—along with many other activists and humanitarian organizations—hold Jaish al-Islam responsible for the kidnappings, a claim that the rebel group categorically denies.

Today, on what would be Razan Zaitouneh’s 41st birthday—more than four years after the disappearance of the Douma Four—Khabeia reflects on her friend and colleague’s legacy.

http://syriadirect.org/news/%E2%80%98a-person-who-believed%E2%80%99-remembering-razan-zaitouneh-on-her-41st-birthday/

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

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Razan_Zaitouneh (FRANCAIS)

Cameroon: Crise anglophone: des victimes demandent réparation, Agbor Balla et Fontem Neba dans leur viseur

le 27 avril, 2018

L’avocat Agbor Balla et l’enseignant Fontem Neba sont à l’origine des villes mortes qui ont secouées les régions du Nord-Ouest et du Sud-Ouest en fin d’année 2016, au plus fort de la contestation corporatiste de leurs deux corps de métier.

On l’a appris mercredi au cours du procès de Mancho Bibixy et de six autres émeutiers reconnus coupables de sécession, l’avocat Nkongho Agbor Balla et l’enseignant Fontem Neba pourraient être appelés à dédommager des victimes des émeutes de décembre à décembre. Les avocats de la partie civile l’ont indiqué mercredi alors qu’ils présentaient le montant des indemnités qu’ils désirent, soit 579 millions de Francs CFA.

C’est qu’agissant  par le canal du Consortium – une organisation critiquée par le gouvernement pour s’être livrée à la «surenchère» dans les négociations et interdite d’activités le 18 janvier dernier – ces deux leaders de la contestation anglophone avaient lancé des avis à ville morte qui ont été observés les 09, 16 et 17 janvier 2017.

Lire aussi: Cameroun: les régions anglophones paralysées par les « villes mortes »

Ils ont par conséquent été arrêtés, incarcérés à Kondengui et jugés au Tribunal militaire de Yaoundé pour hostilité contre la patrie, outrage aux corps constitués et aux fonctionnaires, rébellion, dégradation des biens publics, pillage en bande, coaction des actes de terrorisme, sécession, révolution, insurrection, excitation à la guerre civile, et propagation de fausses nouvelles. Ils étaient poursuivis aux côtés de Mancho Bibixy et d’une vingtaine de jeunes arrêtés dans plusieurs villes du Cameroun.

Nkongho Agbor Balla et Fontem Neba sont libres depuis le 31 août 2017. Ils ont bénéficié de du décret présidentiel qui instituait l’arrêt des poursuites contre certains manifestants anglophones. Pour la partie civile, cela n’empêche pas une quelconque action civile contre eux. Pour le démontrer, elle s’appuie sur l’article 63 du code de procédure pénale. Lequel stipule que : « Lorsqu’une juridiction a été saisie à la fois de l’action publique et de l’action civile, la survenance d’un des événements prévus à l’article 62 [mort de l’accusé, prescription, amnistie…] laisse subsister l’action civile, sauf dans le cas visé à l’alinéa 1 (h) [retrait de la plainte, désistement de la partie civile] dudit article. La juridiction saisie statue sur celle-ci.»

Les victimes réclament la somme de 375 millions de Francs CFA pour le dédommagement du propriétaire de l’immeuble dans lequel était abrité le commissariat du 3e arrondissement de Bamenda incendié, l’hospitalisation d’au moins deux jeunes filles, la dégradation du véhicule d’un officier. A cela s’ajoute la somme de 204 millions de Francs CFA demandée par l’Etat du Cameroun pour la construction d’un nouveau commissariat, l’indemnité après les pertes de recettes dues au pillages des boutiques, et la dégradation de certaines routes à Bamenda.

https://www.journalducameroun.com/crise-anglophone-victimes-demandent-reparation-agbor-balla-fontem-neba-viseur/

https://www.voaafrique.com/a/liberation-d-un-ex-magistrat-en-zone-anglophone-au-cameroun-/4343835.html

http://www.camer.be/67404/11:1/cameroun-un-magistrat-enleva-par-des-prasumas-sacessionnistes-dans-le-sud-ouest-cameroon.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agbor_Balla (ENGLISH)

Bolivia: NELSON LA MADRID CONTINUES TO RECEIVE DEATH THREATS

April 27, 2018

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Human rights defender and lawyer Nelson La Madrid has been receiving threatening calls and messages since he filed a lawsuit against Bolivia’s National Electricity Company (Empresa Nacional de Electricidad de Bolivia) on 28 March 2018. The lawsuit is aimed at preventing the construction of the Rositas Hydroelectric Project on the basis that it has not received free, prior and informed consent by the affected indigenous communities.

Nelson La Madrid is a lawyer and human rights defender in Cochambamba, Bolivia, who is legally representing the Guaraní indigenous communities of Tatarenda Nuevo and Yumao in the trial, which is expected to begin on 4 April 2018. The human rights defender is assisting these indigenous communities, which reside in Santa Cruz Province, to challenge the construction of the Rositas Hydroelectric Project (Proyecto Hidroeléctrico Rositas) before the courts.

 

On Monday 30 April 2018, the new judge assigned to review the Rositas Hydroelectric Project case will hold a hearing to decide the merits of the popular action submitted by the Guaraní indigenous communities of Tatarenda Nuevo and Yumao.

Human rights defender, Nelson La Madrid, is providing legal representation for both communities in their case against Bolivia’s Electric National Company (Empresa Nacional de Electricidad de Bolivia ENDE) to stop Rositas Hydroelectric Project. The human rights defender has highlighted that now two judges have recused themselves from the case in the last month, claiming that it is outside their jurisdictions. Nelson La Madrid believes that pressure and intimidation by ENDE’s legal team and the Attorney General’s Office, led to both judges decision to step down from the case.

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/nelson-la-madrid-continues-receive-death-threats

Listen to a recent interview with Nelson on #RightsOnTheLinePodcast:

Pakistan/LRWC: Prevent and Punish Unlawful Killings of Lawyers | Letter

April 24, 2018

Image result for lawyers rights watch canada

LRWC calls on the Government of Pakistan to fulfill its international law obligations to prevent and punish the unlawful killings of lawyers.  The LRWC letter refers to the unlawful killing of 61 lawyers in Pakistan that have not been remedied through investigations and trials resulting in the identification and punishment of the perpetrators. In addition Pakistan has not responded to the wave of murders with effective protection measures for lawyers. The impunity coupled with lack of preventative measures appear to contribute to the continuing wave of lethal attacks on lawyers in Pakistan.

Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC) is a committee of lawyers and other human rights defenders who promote international human rights, the rule of law, and the integrity of legal systems through advocacy, education and legal research. LRWC is a volunteer-run NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

LRWC condemns the murder of lawyer Zainullah Khan that took place on 30 March 2018 in Swabi, in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pakistan. According to reports Zainullah Khan was shot and killed when he was returning home via Jehangira Road when unidentified attackers in a vehicle open fired at Mr. Khan killing him on the spot while the attackers escaped. Lawyers have called on the provincial government to provide safety to lawyers, Mr. Khan’s murder is one of many cases in which lawyers have been targeted and killed in the area.

LRWC is alarmed by the continued targeted assassinations of lawyers in Pakistan and the impunity enjoyed by perpetrators as a result of Government inaction.

Six lawyers killed in Pakistan in the past 11 months:

https://www.lrwc.org/pakistan-prevent-and-punish-unlawful-killings-of-lawyers-letter/

https://nation.com.pk/01-Apr-2018/senior-lawyer-shot-dead-in-swabi

Cameroon/LRWC: Immediately End Judicial Harassment and Guarantee Protection of Jan Capelle, Elvis Brown and other OFFGO members | Letter

April 26, 2018

In Cameroon, Jan Cappelle, founder of OFFGO, an organization opposing land grabbing and promoting perservationi of farm land and gorilla habitat, and OFFGO’s lawyer Elvis Brown face death threats for pursuing a complaint with the National Commission On Human Rights and Freedoms. State authorities have subjected Jan Chapelle and other OFFGO members to detention, interrogation and threatened prosecution for their peaceful advocacy. LRWC calls on Cameroon to protect the lives of Chapelle and Brown, to prevent future and punish past death threats, and stop the harassment.

Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC) is a committee of lawyers and other human rights defenders who promote international human rights, the rule of law, and the integrity of legal systems through advocacy, education and legal research. LRWC is a volunteer-run NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

LRWC is concerned by reports of death threats against Mr. Jan Cappelle, founder of OFFGO and lawyer Elvis Brown and persistent judicial harassment of OFFGO members. LRWC repeats calls by the Observatory for remedial action and also requests immediate action by the Government of Cameroon to protect the lives of Jan Cappelle and Elvis Brown and their families and to prevent and punish the death threats made against them.

Reports of death threats and judicial harassment

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and has also requested your urgent intervention in the following situation in Cameroon.

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the ongoing judicial harassment and death threats targeting several members of the OFFGO, a group of farmers founded in September 2015 to promote organic farming and environmental protection, and to oppose land grabbing and work for the protection of the cross-river gorilla in Mbengwi, in the North-West Region of Cameroon.

According to the information received, on April 13, 2018, a man who allegedly worked with billionaire businessman Mr. Baba Ahmadou Danpullo called and threatened to kill OFFGO’s lawyer Mr. Elvis Brown and his family if they did not “drop the file”, referring to OFFGO’s complaints before the National Commission on Human Rights and Freedoms (NCHRF). The caller knew details of the presence of Mr. Brown and his family in Bamenda, including related to their home and the children’s school. He also threatened to kill Mr. Jan Cappelle, founder of OFFGO.

A complaint was filed before the Police National Security Department in Mbengwi, who latter summoned the caller to present himself by April 18, 2018. The caller, who received the summons on April 16, 2018, did not present himself.

On April 18, 2018, the same person called Mr. Elvis Brown again and told him to “prepare very well”. On April 19, 2018, Mr. Elvis Brown received another text message reading “watch and see how I make your team suffer”, “you should be sorry for your friends back here. I am merciless”, “I am heartless I have no feelings” and “I will teach your team a bitter lesson. You will all suffer for destabilising Cameroon”.

https://www.lrwc.org/cameroon-immediately-end-judicial-harassment-and-guarantee-protection-of-jan-capelle-elvis-brown-and-other-offgo-members-letter/

http://www.omct.org/human-rights-defenders/urgent-interventions/cameroon/2018/04/d24827/

https://www.fidh.org/en/issues/human-rights-defenders/cameroon-ongoing-judicial-harassment-and-death-threats-targeting