Monthly Archives: May 2018

Egypt/HRW/EU: Activists Arrested in Dawn Raids

May 31, 2018

Wael Abbas (top left), Haitham Mohamadeen (top right), Shady Abu Zaid (bottom left), and Amal Fathy (bottom right), were all arrested this month for charges such as joining “a banned group” or “terrorist organization” and spreading “false news.” © 2018 Pr

Egyptian police and National Security forces have carried out a wave of arrests of critics of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in dawn raids since early May 2018, Human Rights Watch said today. The charges against them appear to be solely based on their social media posts and peaceful activism. Security briefly held several of the detainees incommunicado.

Those arrested include Hazem Abd al-Azim, a political activist, on May 27, and well-known journalist and rights defender Wael Abbas on May 23. Security forces blindfolded him and kept him for almost 36 hours in an unknown location before taking him before prosecutors. Others include Shady al-Ghazaly Harb and Haitham Mohamadeen, both lawyers; Amal Fathy, an activist; and Shady Abu Zaid, a satirist.

“The state of oppression in Egypt has sunk so low that al-Sisi’s forces are arresting well-recognized activists as they sleep, simply for speaking up,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The message is clear that criticism and even mild satire apparently earn Egyptians an immediate trip to prison.”

A state security prosecutor ordered lawyer Mohamadeen, a workers’ rights defender, detained for 15 days on charges of “joining a terrorist organization” and “inciting protests,” in the same case for which authorities interrogated al-Ghazaly Harb. National security forces initially detainedMohamadeen on May 18 and held him incommunicado for two days. (SIGN THE PETITION!) (FRANCAIS) (FRANCAIS) (ESPANOL) (ITALIANO) (ITALIANO)

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Maldives: Lawyers defending SC Justices withdraw from obstruction trial

May 31, 2018

In the hearing held on Wednesday over the state’s obstruction charges against Supreme Court chief justice Abdulla Saeed and justice Ali Hameed, their defence teams withdrew from the trial after describing proceedings as unlawful.

Lawyers Hisaan Hussain, Nooru’salaam Abubakur, and Masthoor Husni, who represent chief justice Saeed, withdrew from the case after informing the court that they view ongoing proceedings as unlawful and unconstitutional, and do not see a way in which they can adequately defend the rights of their clients.

While both justices are facing terrorism allegations for ‘conspiring to overthrow the government’, they are charged with a number of other crimes as well for some of which they have already been sentenced to jail terms. The obstruction charges have to do with their refusal to provide officers access to their mobile phones.

Former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who is also facing the same charges as justices Saeed and Hameed, had also refused to provide officers access to his phone. Maumoon’s lawyers had also withdrawn from the case in a hearing held on Tuesday.

The trio are being tried for obstruction together and a hearing in the case has been scheduled for Thursday as well.

Romania: Roumanie : la justice contraint le président à révoquer la procureure anticorruption

le 30 mai, 2018

Le président roumain Klaus Iohannis doit lever son veto à une révocation de la cheffe du Parquet anticorruption (DNA), exigée par le gouvernement en dépit des protestations de l’opposition et de la communauté internationale, a décidé mercredi la Cour constitutionnelle.

Le chef de l’Etat (de centre droit), “n’a pas de pouvoir discrétionnaire” dans ce domaine et doit par conséquent “émettre le décret de révocation” conformément à la demande du ministère de la Justice, a tranché la Cour dans une décision sans appel qui représente une victoire majeure pour le gouvernement social-démocrate.

Plusieurs responsables de la coalition de gauche au pouvoir se sont aussitôt félicités de cette annonce, estimant, à l’instar du président du Sénat Calin Popescu-Tariceanu, que la procureure, Laura Codruta Kovesi, “aurait dû démissionner depuis longtemps”.

Pour l’opposition de centre droit toutefois, cette décision, prise par six voix contre trois, “porte gravement atteinte à la crédibilité” de la Cour.

Un millier de personnes sont descendues dans la rue à Bucarest pour exprimer leur soutien à Mme Kovesi et “défendre la démocratie”. (ENGLISH) (ENGLISH) (ENGLISH) (ROMANIAN) (DEUTSCH) (HUNGARIAN)

China: Wife of detained Chinese lawyer barred from travelling

May 31, 2018

Xu Yan

The wife of a detained Chinese human rights lawyer said Thursday that she has been prevented from leaving her neighborhood, the latest apparent case of extra-legal harassment of those who fall afoul of the ruling Communist Party.

Xu Yan tweeted that she had been followed from her apartment by police officers who stopped her leaving by taxi by telling the drivers not to take her.

“I asked ‘Why am I being restricted?'” Xu wrote. She said the officers said they didn’t know, nor were they aware of who had authorized the measures or how long they were to be enforced.

Xu’s husband, Yu Wensheng, was grabbed by police on Jan. 19 while preparing to take his 13-year-old son to school and has been charged with the loosely defined crime of inciting subversion against the one-party authoritarian Communist state.

During a visit to Beijing last week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel met privately with Xu and Li Wenzhu, the wife of another detained lawyer, Wang Quanzhang.

India: Woman lawyer done to death in Madanapalle

May 31, 2018

Madanapalle Woman Lawyer On Bike, Murdered

A woman lawyer was brutally murdered by a four-member gang in the heart of Madanapalle town on Wednesday.

According to information, Nagajyothi, 41, was returning home from local market on her scooter, when four unidentified miscreants waylaid her. They pounced on her, stabbed her, and allegedly slit her throat. The woman, who was thrown off the vehicle, tried to escape, but collapsed on the roadside in a couple of minutes. The assailants escaped from the spot and disappeared in a narrow lane.

Deputy SP Chidananda Reddy and Circle police rushed to the spot, and cordoned off the crime scene. Sniffer dogs and CLUES team were pressed into action. (TELUGU)

Latvia: Lawyer shot dead in Latvia, police see hand of organized crime

May 30, 2018

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A corporate lawyer who worked on managing the winding-down of insolvent companies was shot dead in the Latvian capital early on Wednesday in what police said appeared to be a killing linked to organized crime.

Police said Martins Bunkus was shot by two men as he drove through the surburbs of Riga in early morning. His attackers escaped in a van which was later found abandoned and burnt out.

“We think that it was a carefully planned murder … connected with the victim’s professional work. We think we are dealing here with organized crime,” Andrejs Grisins, a police official, told journalists. Bunkus had reported death threats to police in 2016, he added.

The killing casts a cloud over efforts by the former Soviet-ruled European Union state of 2 million people to fight corruption.

Click to access EN_HRL_20180601_Latvia_Murder-of-lawyer-Martins-Bunkus.pdf (LATVIAN) (LATVIAN) (LATVIAN) (LATVIAN) (FRANCAIS)

The Philippines: Sereno appeals ouster from Supreme Court

May 31, 2018

Ousted chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno yesterday appealed the Supreme Court decision removing her through a mere quo warranto petition, noting that the SC violated her constitutional right to due process and overstepped its power.

In a 205-page motion filed minutes before the deadline, the ousted chief magistrate asked the SC to reconsider its ruling on May 11 that abruptly ended her unprecedented 18-year term by granting the quo warranto petition of the solicitor general to invalidate her appointment in 2012.

Sereno likewise urged the court to reverse the decision of six associate justices she accused of bias against her – Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Francis Jardeleza, Noel Tijam and Samuel Martires – not to inhibit from the case.

“More than its numerous legal and factual errors, the decision proves that in meting out justice, an impartial tribunal is crucial and indispensable. The decision illustrates vividly the dire and far-reaching consequences of a denial of due process,” she argued.

Malaysia: Jawi officer Googled what to arrest Siti Kasim for

May 31, 2018

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An enforcement officer from the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) testified that she had to do a Google search on what offence she could arrest lawyer and activist Siti Kasim for during a raid at a transgender beauty pageant two years ago.

Siti Nor Jihan Saleh @ Md Ghazali said she did a Google search on which section of the Federal Terri­tories Syariah Criminal Offences Act 1997 she could arrest Siti Kasim and the organiser of the event under.

She said she could not find the section because Siti Kasim repeatedly posed provocative questions.

“The situation was chaotic and tense. The accused tried to delay the raid and did not cooperate.

“We wanted to arrest the organiser, who went by the name ‘Ira Sofia’, and not the accused, who continuously asked me which section of the Act Jawi wanted to arrest the organiser under.

“I then held the accused’s wrist to bring her to the police station along with the organiser, but the accused claimed that I tried to push her,” she said when testifying before magistrate Maizatul Muni­rah Abd Rahman.

Siti Nor Jihan was giving evidence during an examination-in-chief by deputy public prosecutor Hafizza Sauni at the trial of Siti Kasim, who was charged with hindering a Jawi enforcement officer from executing her duties during a raid at a hotel on the night of April 3, 2016.

Siti Kasim was charged under Section 186 of the Penal Code with obstructing a public servant from discharging her public functions, which carries a jail sentence of up to two years, a fine of up to RM10,000 or both, upon conviction. (MALAY)

Egypt: Labour lawyer Haytham Mohamadeen detained for 15 more days

May 30, 2018 (DEUTSCH) (CHINESE)


Nigeria: The assault on Port Harcourt High Court

May 30, 2018

We join other concerned Nigerians to condemn the recent unwarranted attack on a High Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, by armed hoodlums. The attack which occurred on May 11 on the Port Harcourt High Court complex occurred as judges, magistrates, staff and lawyers were reporting for duty, is an affront on the judiciary.

While the attack was on, judicial and non-judicial workers were denied access to the complex as all gates were locked and surrounded by the hoodlums. The heavily armed thugs injured some judicial officers, other officials and destroyed some equipment. The invasion of the court has been condemned by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen who also called on Nigerians to condemn the act and preserve the judiciary, which is the last hope of the common man. The attack was equally condemned by the Rivers State House of Assembly which resolved to write to the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU) and the Commonwealth of Nations on the development.

That the court was allegedly attacked over a political matter involving factions of a political party in the state is an attempt to undermine the institution of the judiciary.

It is, indeed, senseless to at- tack the court, the sacred temple of justice a few months be- fore the 2019 general elections. It is also a sign of what to expect during the elections, when there is need for peace to reign in the land. But, if there must be peace, there must also be justice. Our judicial officers must always uphold justice in carrying out their functions without minding whose ox is gored.

Because the judiciary is the only institution that dispenses justice, any attack on the judiciary is the highest form of rebellion. The police must make frenetic effort to fish out those behind the attack as well as their sponsors.

They should be prosecuted and severe punishment meted to those found guilty of the of- fence. There could never be any good reason for the attack.

The court was invaded over an impending political matter in the court and we advise judicial officers not to be partisan in the discharge of their duties. They must be above board and maintain a position of absolute political neutrality on any matter before them.