Monthly Archives: December 2018

The Philippines: Ambushed Bacolod lawyer denies drug link

December 31, 2018

The Bacolod lawyer who survived an ambush two weeks ago denied allegations that she has links to illegal drugs.

In an exclusive interview with The Manila Times, Erfe del Castillo said she has no drug links as implied by Senior Supt. John Bulalacao, police regional director for Western Visayas, in a television interview last week.

Del Castillo said she is only handling two drug-related cases contrary to Bulalacao’s statement that she is defending drug suspects.

“The ambush is not related to drugs,” she insisted, adding, “they are trying to taint my reputation because the suspects in the incident are members of the Philippine National Police.

“They are trying to impute something negative to my profession and image to show that I am a bad lawyer. I will issue a formal and more detailed position paper on the matter in due time,” del Castillo said.

Del Castillo, 44, and her driver-companion, Efren Palmares were ambushed by unidentified gunmen along the Bacolod-Silay Airport Access Road at about 11 p.m. on December 21.

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Turkey/France: Le Conseil national des barreaux sollicite rencontre avec Ambassadeur de Turquie

le 21 décembre, 2018

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(L’Observatoire des Avocats Facebook, 30/12/18)


China: Something to hide? This Christmas, it was not a rights lawyer on trial, but the Chinese legal system itself

December 30, 2018

li wenzu

After more than three and a half years of incommunicado detention, Wang Quanzhang has finally faced trial, but little is known of exactly what happened during the closed-door proceedings other than he fired his state-approved lawyer within minutes.

We had only first learned about his closed-door trial two days before, on Christmas Eve, along with his wife Li Wenzu, who on the morning of her husband’s trial was swarmed by state security officials who placed her under house arrest and forbid her to travel. Other supporters were likewise blocked from travelling for the closed-door trial, including Wang Qiaoling, wife of human rights lawyer Li Heping taken in the 709 crackdown and himself sentenced in a closed-door trial in April 2017.

Such treatment of friends and family is disgraceful and yet unsurprising.

It wouldn’t be the holiday season in China without the show trial of a high-profile dissident, and just as it did a year ago with the secretive trial of rights blogger Wu Gan, China has attempted to hide attention of Wang’s trial by scheduling it around Christmas. But we are not fooled by this vulgar holiday ritual.

What is really on trial is not Wang Quanzhang but Xi Jinping’s empty claims of governing according to the rule of law – yet not even China believes its own propaganda. Why else would it attempt to hide Wang Quanzhang’s trial behind Christmas, except because it knows it has something to hide? (FRANCAIS) (FRANCAIS) (DEUTSCH) (DEUTSCH),-avvocato-per-i-diritti-umani.-Rischia-15-anni-di-prigione-45840.html (ITALIANO)

Turkey: Lawyer Hasan Gunaydin sentenced to 7 1/2 years

December 28, 2018 (TURKCE)


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Kenya: Detectives arrest lawyers Ojienda and Peter Wanyama

December 28, 2018

Tom Ojienda

Detectives Friday evening arrested lawyers Tom Ojienda and Peter Wanyama reportedly over Mumias Sugar investigations.

The two lawyers were whisked out of the DCI headquarters shortly after 7 pm with detectives close to the case revealing that they would be locked up at the Muthaiga Police station for the night.

Meanwhile, lawyers representing the Law Society of Kenya pitched tent outside the DCI headquarters for the better part of the evening demanding the release of their colleagues.

And by yesterday, Saturday Nation established that the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) were engaging the Judiciary over the possible arrest of Court of Appeal judge Justice Otieno Odek, also over the Sh200 million audit at Mumias Sugar Company.


A DCI insider revealed that the decision to engage the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) was to “avoid unnecessary fights with the judiciary”, having seen the fallout over the arrest and arraignment in court of Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu.

Prof Ojienda’s lawyer, Nelson Havi, confirmed the arrest but pointed to a much larger scheme to the arrest of  Prof Ojienda. “It is easy to see through the ploy by the DCI and the DPP in arresting Prof Tom Ojienda on a Friday afternoon: Hold him over the weekend, procure warrants to search his homes and offices in his absence and violate his constitutional rights in the process. Justice is on trial!” Mr Havi said.

Mr Havi said they lawyers were making every effort to ensure that the two are released on bail.

Dan Okutta, who is another of Prof Ojienda’s lawyers camped at DCI headquarters, told the Saturday Nation that the police have not disclosed to them the reasons for arresting Prof Ojienda and Mr Wanyama.

“They are holding him and they have not disclosed why he is there but we suspect some funny stories are behind his arrest,” said Mr Okutta.

@ProfOjiendaTom (TWITTER)

India: Mumbai: Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad says he has been arrested

December 28, 2018

He was allegedly detained after announcing his organisation’s plans to go ahead with a rally in the city on Saturday despite not receiving police permission.

Mumbai: Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad says he has been arrested

Ambedkarite group Bhim Army’s chief Chandrashekhar Azad on Friday tweeted that the Mumbai Police have arrested him from Chaityabhoomi in the city’s Dadar area. It is a memorial to BR Ambedkar, who was cremated there on December 6, 1956, and an important pilgrimage centre for Ambedkarites and Buddhists.

Earlier in the evening, Azad had accused the police of detaining him and his supporters in a hotel in the city’s Malad area, criticising the Bharatiya Janata Party government in Maharashtra for holding them captive without cause.

Azad was allegedly detained after he declared he would continue with the Bhim Army’s plan to conduct a rally in Jambori Maidan in the city’s Worli locality on Saturday despite not receiving permission from the police for the event. He shared clips of police personnel near the hotel on his social media account, and released a video demanding to know the reason for his alleged detention. “I wanted to speak to my supporters,” Azad said in the video. “I want to known which law I violated. I will continue my work undeterred.” (HINDI) (HINDI) (MALAYALAM)

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Spain/Brazil: This is Carlos García Juliá, sentenced for the killing of Atocha to 193 years in prison

Así es Carlos García Juliá, condenado por la matanza de Atocha a 193 años de cárcel

Carlos García Juliá he fired six shots with his Star Super model to which he had placed a 9 Parabellum cannon. The shooting of this young man whom the parish priest of San Ginés defined in the summary pages of the Atocha case as “normal, jovial, affectionate and well connected with the serious and honorable youth of the neighborhood, with exemplary religious and moral life”. they caused the death, according to the opinion of the autopsy and the ballistic analysis, of Javier Sauquillo and Serafín Holgado “. This was how the journalist José Martí Gómez described in the pages of La Vanguardia on September 20, 1984, one of the authors of the killing of Atocha of January 24, 1977, which has now been arrested in Brazil after fleeing Spain, using different identities to outwit the Spanish justice.

About García Juliá, who was 24 years old when he shot to kill in the law office of Atocha street in Madrid, weighed an arrest warrant by the National Court since he got a prison permit in 1992. Then, he decided to leave Spain and he lost track until he was arrested in Bolivia for drug trafficking. But he managed to escape from prison and the track was already lost.

This is how the Atocha events occurred chronologically:

– After 10 and a half at night, three right-wing gunmen enter face uncovered in a labor law firm located at number 55 in the Madrid street of Atocha. Apparently, they were looking for the person in charge of the then illegal transport union of Comisiones Obreras (CCOO), Joaquín Navarro, who had left the office a short time before.

When they did not find him, they decided to kill those who were there at that moment. Five people are killed. They started firing at the administrative Angel Rodriguez Leal, who died on the spot, and then gathered and strafed the other eight people who were on the floor – seven lawyers and a law student – all linked to the Communist Party and CCOO. Luis Javier Benavides and Enrique Valdevira died on the spot, while Francisco Javier Sauquillo and student Serafin Holgado died hours later at the hospital. Four people were seriously injured, but managed to survive: Dolores (Lola) González Ruiz – married to Sauquillo – Miguel Sarabia, Alejandro Ruiz-Huerta and Luis Ramos Pardo.

– March 12, 1977.-The perpetrators of the attack are arrested: Carlos García Juliá, José Fernández Cerrá and Fernando Lerdo de Tejada, members of the self-proclaimed Comando Hugo Sosa, linked to the Anticommunist Apostolic Alliance; as well as the then provincial secretary of the vertical transport union of Madrid, Francisco Albalejo. But there are four others involved more. (ESPANOL) (ESPANOL) (CATALAN) (PORTUGUES) (FRANCAIS)


UK: The Secret Barrister: ‘Without legal aid, the rule of law collapses’

December 27, 2018

Barristers and lawyers protesting

The Guardian asked the Secret Barrister, author of the bestselling book Stories of the Law and How It’s Broken, to answer candidly some questions on the criminal justice system: how it works and how, all too often, it doesn’t.

How are the cuts in legal aid affecting people?

In the criminal sphere, which is where I operate, legal aid cuts over the past decade have restricted access to funding in both the magistrates courts (where less serious offences are tried) and the crown court (dealing with serious offences, including those carrying up to life imprisonment).

The impact is felt in several ways. Firstly, many people who are far from wealthy are deprived of funding altogether. Anyone with an annual household disposable income of £22,325 is excluded from legal aid in the magistrates courts, with £37,500 the cut-off in the crown court. Up to those figures, you will be eligible for legal aid but may be required to pay “contributions” over the months or years as your case progresses. You will be reimbursed if you are later acquitted, but the sums demanded can be prohibitively high, and I see more and more people deciding to opt out of legal aid altogether as they can’t afford the contributions.

But the biggest hit affects those above the threshold. They are forced to either represent themselves in complex criminal proceedings, or to pay privately for legal representation. Private legal rates can run to tens and even hundreds of thousands of pounds if the allegation against you is particularly complicated or serious. If you are acquitted, the government will then only reimburse your legal fees at legal aid rates, meaning you are forced to pay the difference yourself. This “innocence tax”, as it has been dubbed, has seen acquitted defendants forced to sell their homes and exhaust their life savings. It means that the state can falsely accuse you of an offence, and when a court exonerates you, you are nevertheless bankrupted by the cost of defending yourself.

Turkey/Armenia: Prosecutors launch investigation into Diyarbakır Bar Association

December 27, 2018

Diyarbakır Barosu

The chief prosecutor’s office in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır has launched an investigation into several statements made by the former head and the members of the Diyarbakır Bar Association, Duvar news site reported on Thursday.

The prosecutor’s office launched the investigation under the Article 301 in the Turkish Criminal Code, which states that it is illegal to “insult Turkey, the Turkish nation, or Turkish government institutions.”

The bar association said in a written statement that the investigation was related to several press releases and reports of the institution. One of the press releases was made on April 24, 2017 to mark the anniversary of the deportation of Armenian intellectuals from Istanbul in 1915.

The association is also being investigated for using the work “Kurdistan” in a press release criticising a parliamentary disciplinary action against Osman Baydemir, a former deputy of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) and former mayor of Diyarbakır.

The prosecutors accuse the bar association of “failing to recognise the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) as a terrorist organisation” in a report that examined the deaths of two Turkish civilians, a father and a son, in 2017. The civilians were reportedly hit by an armed dronebelonging to Turkish military in a rural area in the southeastern province of Hakkari. (TURKCE) (TURKCE) (TURKCE)


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Sudan: Sudanese activists vow not to back down against Bashir

December 27, 2018

Sudanese demonstrators chant slogans as they march during anti-government protests in Khartoum on December 25, 2018. Reuters

Sudanese activists say they have waited decades for the nationwide protests that currently threaten the rule of President Omar Al Bashir and have no intention of stopping despite the violent response from security forces.

The catalyst for the unrest has been Sudan’s shattered economy, but activists say they also harbour longstanding grievances for crimes committed against them, their families and communities.

Amal El Zein is a human-rights lawyer who has defended political detainees since the 1980s, making her family a target of the government. Her brother has been arrested for his political activism three times since Mr Al Bashir seized power in 1989, while her other brother was dismissed from the police force just days after graduating from police college.

Ms El Zein’s husband is also a human rights lawyer and critic of the regime, putting him on the government’s radar. After protests broke out in the Nile state of Atbara on December 19, he suspected that security agents would come looking for him. He packed some belongings and went into hiding that same evening without telling his wife where he was going.

“We weren’t even in the protest, but security agents often summon well-known activists whenever there is unrest,” said Ms El Zein, 51. “Security agents knocked on our door the night after he escaped. They left after I told them that I don’t know where he is.”

Now alone with her son, Ms El Zein has joined protests in Khartoum despite the risk of reprisal. Rights groups say security forces have killed at least 37 people during protests so far and arrested hundreds, some of whom were later released. The protests have erupted in a half dozen cities across the country and appear to building momentum, with another planned in the capital on Friday. (FRANCAIS) (FRANCAIS)