Monthly Archives: January 2019

Sudan: NISS campaign of arrests nets opposition leaders, activists

January 31, 2019

Mariam El Sadig El Mahdi, the co-president of the National Umma Party

Yesterday, the security and intelligence forces continued a large-scale campaign of arrest of activists and leaders of political forces from their homes and chased and prosecuted youths and women during demonstrations and protests demanding the step-down of Al Bashir and his regime from the government.

Yesterday, the security forces arrested lawyer and prominent law and human rights defender Kamal El Jazuli from his office in Khartoum and transferred him to an unknown destination.

The arrest of Kamal El Jazuli also coincided with the arrest of Mariam Mahjoub Sharif and Sarah Ibrahim.

Activists published massively on social networking sites the names of dozens of detainees arrested in various areas in Khartoum, in conjunction with the announcement by security director Salah Gosh about the release of the detainees.

Sudanese Professionals Association

The Sudanese Professionals Association and opposition forces signatory to the Declaration of Freedom and Change pointed out in a joint statement that the detention of the NISS is still crowded with professionals, politicians, and honourable citizens.

The statement said that the play to release the detainees will not fool the inside or the outside, and that the regime knows that the liberals will get out of the prisons to the streets and that the ceiling is not the release of political detainees, but the demolition of the project and its legislators.

It stressed that the release of the detainees will not restore the lives of the martyrs and the sacrifices of the Sudanese since the coming of the Al Bashir regime.


Burma: Daw Aung San Suu Kyi Calls for Swift Justice for Slain Lawyer U Ko Ni

January 30, 2019

State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi urged authorities to find justice as soon as possible for prominent constitutional lawyer U Ko Ni and taxi driver Ko Ne Win, two years after they were gunned down in Yangon.

U Ko Ni, a legal adviser to the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD), was gunned down at pointblank range outside Yangon International Airport on Jan. 29, 2017. Ko Ne Win, a taxi driver at the scene, was killed by the same gunman while chasing after him.

The 63-year old lawyer was an expert on the military-drafted Constitution and came up with the idea of creating the position of state counselor to get around a clause in the charter effectively banning Daw Aung San Suu Kyi from the presidency. He advocated for changes to the Constitution that would strip the military of its undemocratic privileges; many believe those efforts led to his death.

In her message at a commemoration ceremony for the lawyer and driver in Yangon on Tuesday, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi praised them as ‘”role models who sacrificed their lives for truth and justice” and called their deaths “a big loss for Myanmar.”

“I would like to urge the concerned authorities to find speedy justice for Saya U Ko Ni and Ko Ne Win, who both sacrificed their lives to help fight the challenges to promoting the rule of law and justice in Myanmar,” she said.

To date, 72 prosecution witnesses and 40 defense witnesses have appeared in court over the course of 101 hearings in the trail of U Ko Ni’s accused assassins — gunman Kyi Lin and alleged conspirators Zeya Phyo, Aung Win Zaw and Aung Will Tun. A verdict is expected after the defense makes its closing argument on Friday, prosecution lawyer U Nay La told The Irrawaddy.

Lawyers for Lawyers: Lawyers for Lawyers Award 2019

January 31, 2019

Nominate a lawyer for the Lawyers for Lawyers Award 2019! Nominations can be made until 1 March 2019, via our website:

In 2017, Sirikan Charoensiri (‘June’) was presented with the Lawyers for Lawyers Award in Amsterdam. Watch her story here.

(Lawyers for Lawyers Facebook, 31/01/19)

Call for nominations for the L4L award 2019


Nigeria: Onnoghen: Thugs attack NBA chairman, other lawyers in Rivers over court boycott directive

January 30, 2019

– Suspected thugs reportedly attacked the NBA chairman, Silvester Adaka, and other lawyers in Port Harcourt

– The lawyers were reportedly attacked when they staged a protest and attempted to court proceedings

– Adaka said he addressed the justices of the court of appeal and lawyers to rise in continuation of NBA peaceful boycott of the court only to be descended upon by the thugs

Some suspected thugs reportedly beat up the chairman of the Port Harcourt chapter of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Silvester Adaka and other lawyers who had gone to stage protest to disrupt court proceedings.

Adaka and his colleagues had reportedly planned to disrupt the court proceedings in a bid to enforce the NBA’s court boycott directive over the controversial suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen.

Daily Trust reports that angry litigants also chased the protesting NBA team out of the courtroom, causing pandemonium and heightening fear among the judges and other litigants.


Germany: Police may be behind death threats to lawyer

January 30, 2019

Officials from Hesse police department suspected of sending death threats to prominent German-Turkish lawyer

Germany: Police may be behind death threats to lawyer

Authorities investigating death threats sent to a prominent German-Turkish lawmaker suspect that they were written by police officers, German media reported on Wednesday.

Seda Basay-Yildiz, who represented families of victims killed by a neo-Nazi terror cell, received serious death threats in recent months, after she criticized the constant failure of the intelligence and police to resolve the murders.

Investigators who analyzed the fax messages sent to Basay-Yildiz concluded that they were most likely written by personnel working for the Hesse state police, as they included information and special acronyms only known by such personnel, the daily Suddeutsche Zeitung reported.

Following two serious death threats late last year, Basay-Yildiz received this month several other fax messages which included racist insults and threats.

The death threats included her address and names of her family members, which could be obtained only from official records.

In December, five police officers in Frankfurt were suspended on suspicion that they took personal information of Basay-Yildiz from police records and shared them with the far-right extremists.

The German-Turkish lawmaker represented the families of victims who were killed by the far-right National Socialist Underground (NSU).

The shadowy NSU group killed 10 people, including eight Turkish and one Greek immigrant as well as a police officer between 2000 and 2007, but the murders have remained unresolved. (DEUTSCH) (DEUTSCH) (DEUTSCH) (DEUTSCH) (DEUTSCH)

UK/Georgia: Speedboat killer: Jack Shepherd’s lawyer receives Nazi death threat

January 28, 2019

Jack Shepherd Tbilisi court 25 Jan

Speedboat killer Jack Shepherd’s British lawyer, Richard Egan, has received a death threat amidst torrents of abuse.

The letter, which tells him to “remember Jo Cox”, the Labour MP murdered by far right extremist Thomas Mair, has been passed to the police.

It talks of stabbing, bombing, features a swastika and the words “Heil Hitler”.

Former Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas, says the letter represents an attack on the rule of law.

As a defence solicitor representing Shepherd, Mr Egan has received a steady stream of abusive and threatening letters, emails and texts accusing him, among other things, of having blood on his hands.

He did not take them especially seriously until he received a letter, sent to his office, which warned him he had 48 hours to state that he was “no longer supporting or providing legal aid” to Shepherd and saying, “remember Jo Cox?”

“You have been followed – nice house! Now, accidents happen, people get stabbed in London, pets get poisoned, children run over.

“Be warned we (EDF) will petrol bomb your nice office.”

It also contained a swastika, SS sign and the words “Heil Hitler 88”.

Egypt/France: 4 human rights leaders accused of inciting against Egypt

January 30, 2019

File photo: Human Rights activist Gamal Eid

Four directors of prominent local human rights organizations were accused of dispensing false information about the political situation in Egypt.

Lawyer Tareq Mahmoud filed a report before the Public Prosecution against Gamal Eid, the executive director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI); Mohamed Zarea, the head of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS); Mohamed Lotfy, the executive director of the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms and Gaser Abdel Raziq, the executive director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR).

In his report, Mahmoud claimed that the four human rights advocates met with French officials during French President Manuel Macron’s recent visit to Egypt, where “they blamed the Egyptian state for enforced disappearance cases and alleged the presence of mistreatment and torture inside prisons in order to incite against the state, change the international stance against Egypt and convey a completely different picture of the internal situation in Egypt.”

Mahmoud called in his report for immediate and prompt investigations into the incidents mentioned in his complaint; in addition to issuing an arrest warrant , referring all the aforementioned human rights advocates to trial and probing the possibility they are receiving foreign funds from suspected bodies linked to the banned –Muslim Brotherhood international organization. (FRANCAIS) (FRANCAIS) (FRANCAIS) (ESPANOL)

China: HRIC among 40 NGOs Worldwide Urging UN Resolution on China’s Rights Abuses

January 30, 2019

In an open letter sent to heads of government missions to the UN in Geneva, Human Rights in China joins 39 other NGOs to press for a UN resolution to address the deteriorating human rights situation in China.

The NGOs call for governments to use the upcoming session of the Human Rights Council (February 25-March 22, 2019) as an opportunity to push with “one voice”: for accountability for the steeply worsening rights abuses in China which have been gaining increasing international attention.

Two reviews of China’s rights practices at the UN last year, in particular—by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), and China’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR)—highlighted deeply concerning developments, including the mass internment of Uyghur and other ethnic Muslims in so-called “vocational retraining camps,” in gross violation of religious and cultural rights; the broadening control over information and expression especially online in the name of cybersecurity; the continued persecution of human rights lawyers and defenders; and the erosion of fundamental freedoms in Hong Kong, in violation of the “one country, two systems” principle.

Reaching beyond its borders, China has also been waging a sustained challenge to the existing international human rights framework, which is based on the principle of the universality of human rights.

Cameroon: Opposition Leaders Arrested

January 30, 2019

Cameroonian opposition leader Maurice Kamto was arrested in Douala on January 28, 2019 for what appears to be politically motivated reasons.

Cameroonian authorities have arrested political opponents and violently broken up peaceful protests since January 26, 2019. The country’s opposition leader, Maurice Kamto, was arrested in Douala on January 28 for what appears to be politically motivated reasons and remains in detention.

The crackdown appears to be coordinated, as opposition figures allied with Kamto – Albert Dzongang, Christian Penda Ekoka, Alain Fogue, and Célestin Djamen – were also arrested on January 28. Djamen was arrested and taken from a hospital where he was receiving treatment for injuries suffered on January 26 while protesting.

“The Cameroonian government’s crackdown shows that it is unwilling to accept a role for opposition parties, sending a chilling message to those who would dare challenge the status quo,” said Ida Sawyer, deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The latest crackdown was consistent with the methods of a government whose security forces have committed grave abuses against civilians and dissenting voices in recent years.”

The government should free all those arrested or charge them with a crime, permit protests to go forward, and investigate and punish police violence, Human Rights Watch said.

The whereabouts of Kamto and his colleagues are currently unknown. Human Rights Watch spoke with Emmanuel Simh, a lawyer for Kamto and the others detained, who confirmed that he filed a request to the General Prosecutor in the capital, Yaoundé, seeking access to his clients. He has yet to be provided access. Under Cameroonian law, the police must present any person accused of a crime before a judge within 48 hours, which can be renewed twice.

The arrests follow a violent crackdown on protesters by Biya’s government against Kamto’s supporters who were gathered across Douala on January 26. The protesters called for a recount of the vote, amongst other demands. Witness accounts, medical records, video clips, and images obtained by Human Rights Watch show the heavy-handed and targeted reaction of the Cameroonian state security agents toward the protesters.

As the protest started, police officers, including elements of the Équipes spéciales d’intervention rapide, a special police unit, used teargas and rubber bullets from close range to disperse the crowd, including demonstrators. Witnesses reported chaotic scenes as people fled.

Among those injured was Michelle Ndoki, a well-known lawyer close to Kamto, and Célestin Djamen, both shot in the leg at close range with rubber bullets. Other protesters were treated in several hospitals in Douala for minor injuries after police beat them. (FRANCAIS) (FRANCAIS) (FRANCAIS) (FRANCAIS) (FRANCAIS) (FRANCAIS) (FRANCAIS) (FRANCAIS) (FRANCAIS) (FRANCAIS) (FRANCAIS) (FRANCAIS)

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Arrestation du Professeur Maurice KAMTO
Déclaration de la Société française pour le Droit international

Lors de sa réunion du 2 février 2019, le Conseil de la Société a adopté la présente déclaration :

Nous avons appris avec consternation l’arrestation du Professeur Maurice Kamto, membre éminent de la Société française pour le Droit international depuis de nombreuses années. Nous n’entendons pas nous ingérer dans les affaires intérieures de la République du Cameroun mais nous souhaitons attirer l’attention sur les principes fondamentaux du droit international, que notre Société a vocation à défendre et à promouvoir. Nous rappelons que la souveraineté, si elle confère des droits aux États, leur impose aussi des devoirs, y compris à l’égard de leurs propres ressortissants.

La République du Cameroun a souvent dans le passé manifesté son attachement au droit international, notamment devant la Cour internationale de Justice devant laquelle elle a été représentée par le Professeur Kamto. Nous l’appelons solennellement à respecter strictement les principes qui figurent dans la Charte africaine des droits de l’homme et des peuples et dans le Pacte international relatif aux droits civils et politiques l’une et l’autre ratifiés par le Cameroun.

Nous assurons Maurice Kamto et ses proches de tout notre soutien et de notre sympathie.

(Facebook, 03/02/19)


Turkey: Turkey more oppressive than ever – rights activist

January 28, 2019

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Turkey’s anti-democratic mentality has not changed since its foundation, but it has never been as oppressive as today, said award-winning Turkish human rights lawyer Eren Keskin.

Over the years, Keskin played a vital role in strengthening civil society awareness in Turkey. She became involved with the Human Rights Association (IHD) three years after its 1986 founding and headed its Istanbul branch for years.

She has been arrested and imprisoned numerous times, accused of terrorist ties for defending Kurdish rights, and won several international honors for her activism, including the Aachen Peace Award, the Theodore Haecker Prize, and just last year, the Helsinki Civil Society Award.

“Turkey’s undemocratic mentality has not changed since its foundation,” said Keskin. “There is no change in the mind or understanding of the state. I have been part of the struggle for human rights for nearly 30 years. I have not experienced a period in which freedom of thought and freedom of expression have been contravened this much. Turkey is more oppressive today than ever.”

Keskin said she had been brought before the courts more than 100 times and convicted on numerous occasions.

“I see the struggle for the defence of human rights as respect for those who have died. It is out of respect for them that I am part of the struggle for human rights,” she said. “We experienced a lot of pressure, but our friends were killed. They were killed fighting for human dignity. I am lucky to be alive…I was assaulted twice with firearms, imprisoned and threatened with death, but never gave up.”

Eren Keskin, MEA nominee 2019, speaks out fearlessly: Turkey more oppressive today than ever (TURKCE) (TURKCE) (TURKCE) (TURKCE) (FRANCAIS) (FRANCAIS) (DEUTSCH)