Daily Archives: 29/01/2019

China: Statement: Demanding an Acquittal of lawyer Wang Quanzhang

January 29, 2019

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【要求無罪釋放王全璋律師之聲明】
(English version below)

2019年1月28日,天津市第二中級人民法院開庭,以「顛覆國家政權」罪,判處著名中國維權律師王全璋入獄4年零6個月,剝奪政治權利5年。我們強烈譴責天津市第二中級人民法院(天津二院)對王全璋律師一案所作出的有罪判決及刑罰。

王全璋在被捕前於鋒銳律師事務所執業,過去一直代理敏感人權案件,如法輪功案、土地維權案等。自2015年8月3日被警方帶走以來,至今一直未能會見家人或家屬委任的辯護律師,並長期處於秘密羈押狀態,期間有消息指他遭到酷刑及不人道對待。2016年1月,他被控「顛覆國家政權」,及後案件於2018年12月26日審理。天津二院稱王全璋案「因涉及國家秘密」而不公開庭審。

我們認為中國政府對王全璋進行長期秘密羈押,不但侵犯人權,更違反諸如《中華人民共和國憲法》(《憲法》)、《中華人民共和國刑事訴訟法》(《刑訴法》)、《公民與政治權利國際公約》(《公約》)等多條法律和國際公約。

[秘密審訊缺乏公正性]
我們強烈質疑天津二院對王全璋一案以秘密審訊形式進行的依據。中國憲法規定庭審以公開為原則,除涉及國家秘密、未成年人及隱私保護外,一切庭審須向公眾開放。中國刑訴法雖然訂明當案件牽涉國家機密時,法院可選擇以不公開方式審理案件,然而中國法規中「國家秘密」的定義廣泛含糊,往往被當局濫用以針對維權人士,情況一直受到國內外的詬病,此案亦不例外。

參照《約翰奈斯堡關於國家安全、言論自由和獲取資訊自由原則》(下稱:《約翰奈斯堡原則》),除非當局能夠提出充份而堅實的證據,證明「公開審訊」有害於保護合法的的國家安全利益,亦即保護國家存續或領土完整,否則被告人獲得「公開審訊」的權利根本不應被剋減。而且,即使證明有必要剋扣「公開審訊」的權利,在審訊中有關的剋減也須嚴謹止於「考量、審視被定義為國家秘密的證據」之部分。

直至到現在,檢控方還未有充份而堅實的證據說明有何必要限制王得到「公開審訊」的權利。我們質疑法院此次不公開審理欠缺法律基礎,有違中國憲法中公開審訊之原則。

[無視律師委任及會見權]
由王全璋家屬委任代理案件的程海和藺其磊一直未能成功會見王律師,而官方卻單方面委派劉衛國律師代理王全璋案,其訴訟權利並沒有得到保障。2018年修訂的《關於依法保障律師執業權利的規定》第七及第八條,列明保障辯護律師有權利會見被告人,即使要解聘辯護律師,律師可以要求會見被告以當面確認。

[控罪薄弱 判決違反憲法所保障的權利]
根據中國當局提交至法院的起訴書,當局指控王全璋曾向境外機構提供中國人權狀況的報告、於2013年在建三江發起示威活動及代理所謂「邪教」的宗教案件中抹黑中國政府,並指上述行為足以構成煽動顛覆國家政權。

我們必須在此指出上述指控無疑是違反了國際社會就危害國家安全罪行的標準,亦無視了王全璋的示威及言論自由。根據《約翰奈斯堡原則》,除非中國當局能證明王的行動及言論煽動即時暴力顛覆政權,否則當局不應因為王行使他的表達自由,包括發表批評政府的言論,而以國家安全的名義來限制他,更遑論對他施以處罰。而根據中國憲法,中國公民享有言論自由及示威自由這兩項至為重要的基本權利,所以,因進行三項活動而被指控的王全璋,只是行使了這兩項正當權利而已。

此次將王全璋定罪及判刑明顯違反中國憲法,令人難以信服。

[欠缺法理的長期秘密覊押 疑遭酷刑對待]
王全璋在是此審訊之前已經被中國當局扣押了超過一千二百日。然而,在這一整段時間中,當局並沒有向外界交待長期覊押王全璋的理據,包括其家屬及其委任的律師。中國刑訴法雖然有訂明在最高人民法院批准下,法院有權延長羈押,但任何法院亦應同時保障當事人在憲法保障下不受任意羈押之權利。超過一千二百日的審前羈押明顯不合理時,法院仍然容許羈押不斷延長,其獨立性令人質疑。再者,家屬及其委任律師在整個程序中無法核實王全璋有否遭受到酷刑和不人道對待。

我們非常擔憂王全璋律師的人身安全及健康狀況。我們得悉王律師失蹤前沒有長期病患紀錄,但卻在羈押期間被迫服食高血壓藥。之前亦有「709大抓捕」受害者因被迫服藥導致健康轉差,令我們擔心王全璋律師或面臨同等景況及遭受不同程度酷刑之苦。

[家屬長期被騷擾監視]
王全璋妻子李文足三年多來堅毅不屈、從不間斷地為親人抗爭,逾30多次到最高人民法院抗議,最近的「我可以無髮,你不能無法」削髮抗議行動,成功引起國際社會強烈關注。然而,法院一方面拒絕受理,另一方面李文足亦持續受到公安的監控和騷擾,兒子的教育權曾被剝奪,官方以株連手法對待維權律師家屬,手段極為卑鄙。

在判刑前過去三年時間,世界各地多個人權組織、律師專業團體、甚至是政府已經向中國政府發表了多篇的公開信及聲明,要求中國政府嚴格遵從國際人權公約、中國憲法及法律,保障王全璋律師的基本權利。但過去三年,中國政府卻擺出傲慢的姿態,對這些聲音充耳不聞,最後更以重刑來處罰獲國際高度關注的王律師。這些所作所為也反映了中國政府所說的依法治國從一開始就是謊言,國際公約,甚至是本國的憲法及法律亦從沒打算遵守,說到底還是以政治權力壓倒法律及人權。

我們對是此判決表示極度憤怒。我們亦重申在沒有公正公開審判的情況下,根本不能接受任何對王全璋的有罪判決,更遑論是現在4年6個月的有期徒刑。王此次的判決和刑罰從未通過一個公正法律程序,因此本身就是不公正。

有鑑於此,我們強烈要求天津市第二中級人民法院:
1. 撤銷有罪判決,改判王全璋無罪並立即予以釋放;
2. 就王全璋所受到的權利侵害提供相應且合適的賠償;
3. 追究「709案」中所有執法人員違法違規行為的法律責任;
4. 停止針對李文足及其兒子的任何形式的打壓。

2019年1月28日

發起團體:(依英文字母順序排列)
1. 中國維權律師關注組[China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group]
2. 臺灣聲援中國人權律師網絡[Taiwan Support China Human Rights Lawyers Network]

聯署團體:
3. 墨西哥律師協會[Barra Mexicana, Colegio de Abogados (Mexican Bar Association)]
4. 公民黨[Civic Party]
5. 社區前進[Community March]
6. 香港眾志[Demosisto]
7. 香港市民支援愛國民主運動聯合會[Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China]
8. 香港職工會聯盟[Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions]
9. Human Rights Now
10. International Observatory for Lawyers in Danger
11. 香港天主教正義和平委員會[Justice and Peace Commission of HK Catholic Diocese]
12. 工黨[Labour Party HK]
13. 法夢[Law Lay Dream]
14. 律師助律師基金會[Lawyers For Lawyers]
15. 加拿大律師權利觀察[Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada]
16. 社會民主連線[League of Social Democrats]
17. 左翼廿一[Left 21]
18. 區諾軒立法會議員辦事處[LegCo Office of Au Nok-hin]
19. 郭家麒立法會議員辦事處[LegCo Office of Kwok Ka-ki]
20. 朱凱廸立法會議員辦事處[LegCo Office of Chu Hoi Dick]
21. 萊特納國際法暨正義中心[Leitner Center for International Law and Justice]
22. 國際人民律師協會[International Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL)]
23. 國際人民律師協會監督委員會[Monitoring Committee on Attacks on Lawyers, International Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL)]
24. 華人民主書院[New School for Democracy]
25. 日內瓦律師協會[Ordre des Avocats De Geneve (Geneva Bar Association)]
26. 法政匯思[Progressive Lawyers Group]
27. 英格蘭和威爾士律師協會人權委員會[The Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales]
28. 聲援中國律師委員會[The Committee to Support Chinese Lawyers]
29. 民主黨[The Democratic Party]
30. 愛德爾斯塔姆基金會[The Edelstam Foundation]
31. 勞工組[Worker Com]

*聯署名單截至2019年1 月29日17:30,並會持續更新

—————————————-

【Statement: Demanding an Acquittal of lawyer Wang Quanzhang】

On 28 January 2019, the Tianjin Municipal No.2 Intermediate People’s Court (the Court) gave its verdict on a prominent human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang. Wang was found guilty of “subversion of state power” and sentenced to 4 years and 6 months in prison and 5-year deprivation of political rights. We strongly condemn the conviction and sentence on lawyer Wang Quanzhang by the Court.

Before his arrest, lawyer Wang practiced law at Fengrui Law Firm in Beijing. He has a history of taking on sensitive human rights cases including the cases of Falun Gong and land rights. Since he was taken away by the police on 3 August 2015, he has been denied the access to his family and family-appointed defense lawyers. He has been detained incommunicado, during which he was reportedly tortured and suffered ill-treatment. In January 2016, Wang was accused of “subversion of state power” and his case was subsequently tried on 26 December 2018. Claiming that “due to the state secrets involved in this case”, the Court decided not to hold an open trial for the case.

We maintain that the Chinese government, having imposed a pro-longed incommunicado detention on lawyer Wang, has seriously infringed human rights, domestic law and international treaties including “Constitution of the People’s Republic of China” (the Chinese Constitution), “Criminal Procedure Law of the People’s Republic of China” (the Criminal Procedure Law), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), etc.

[The Secret Trial Lacks Fairness]
We are highly skeptical about the grounds of holding Wang’s trial in secret by the Court. The Chinese Constitution stipulates that all trials should be conducted in accordance with the principle of open trial and thus shall be open to the public, except the cases involve state secrets, protection of minors or matters of privacy. Despite the fact that a court is entitled to conduct a closed trial when cases involve state secrets under the Criminal Procedure Law, the abusive use of the broad and imprecise definition of state secrecy against rights defenders in China has long and often been criticized both in and out of the country, and Wang’s case is no exception.

According to “the Johannesburg Principles on National Security, Freedom of Expression and Access to Information” (hereafter “the Johannesburg Principles”), no restriction to the right to open trial should be allowed unless and until evidence is legally sufficient to prove actual harm to a legitimate national security interest, i.e., a country’s existence or its territorial integrity.

Even if it is proved necessary to impose restriction on the right to open trial, the restriction shall only be made “to the extent strictly necessary for the purposes of considering evidence that has been classified as a secret.” The prosecutors have not yet offered legally sufficient evidence to justify the necessity of restricting Wang’s right to open trial. Serious concerns should be raised that the closed trial in this case, without a legal ground, violates the principle of right to open trial set out in the Chinese Constitution.

[Disregarding the Right to legal counsel]

The family-appointed lawyers, Cheng Hai and Lin Qilei, have been disallowed to meet Wang. Nonetheless, the authorities unilaterally appointed Liu Weiguo as Wang’s defense lawyer, disregarding Wang’s right to legal assistance of his or his family’s free choosing .

Articles 7 and 8 of “Provisions on Legally Protecting Lawyers’ Practicing Rights”, which was revised in 2018, clearly stipulate that a defense lawyer shall have the right to meet a defendant. In case where a defendant intends to dismiss the counsels, the defense lawyers can request to meet the client in person as to confirm the termination.

[Weak Evidence against the Rights Enshrined by the Chinese Constitution]

According to the indictment submitted to the Court by the Chinese authorities, the accusations include Wang providing investigative reports on China’s human rights situation to overseas organizations, initiating protests and demonstrations in Jiansanjiang in 2013, and slandering the Chinese government while taking on a so-called “cult” case, claiming the behaviors listed above were sufficient to constitute “subversion of state power.”

We are obliged to point out that the aforementioned accusations undoubtedly are inconsistent with the international standard of “endangering national security”, which fails to respect Wang’s right to demonstration and freedom of speech.

As stated in “the Johannesburg Principles”, the Chinese authorities shall not impose restrictions nor punishment on Wang in the name of “national security” simply due to his exercise of the freedom of expression, amongst others, delivering critical speeches against the government unless and until the evidence is legally sufficient to prove Wang’s behaviors and speeches incited immediate violence for the purpose of subverting state power.

Every Chinese citizen is entitled to two fundamental rights – freedom of speech and freedom of assembly according to the Chinese Constitution. Lawyer Wang, who was accused of “subversion of state power” for his participation in human rights activities, had simply exercised the two legitimate rights he should be entitled to. Therefore, the conviction of Wang is obviously unconvincing as it seriously breaches the Chinese Constitution.

[Prolonged Detention Incommunicado without Legal Basis; Suspected Torture and Ill-treatment]

Wang Quanzhang was detained by the Chinese government for more than 1,200 days before the trial. During the entire detention period, the authorities did not provide a proper account of Wang’s prolonged detention to the public, including Wang’s family and family-appointed defense lawyers. As stipulated in the Criminal Procedure Law, despite the right of the court to extend the detention period upon the approval of the Supreme People’s Court, all courts are obliged to protect a defendant’s right to be free from arbitrary detention which is guaranteed by the Chinese Constitution. Serious concerns are raised over the independence and impartiality of the Court for incessant extension of Wang’s obviously unreasonable detention of more than 1200 days. In addition, Wang’s family and family-appointed defense lawyers had no way to authenticate if Wang had suffered torture or inhumane treatment during the whole procedure.

We express grave concern over lawyer Wang’s personal safety and health condition. We also note that lawyer Wang was forced to take medication for high blood pressure during the detention despite the fact that lawyer Wang had no previous history of chronic illnesses before his disappearance. Considering that some victims of 709 Crackdown was also force-fed medication which led to poor health condition afterwards, we are worried that lawyer Wang might face similar treatment or suffer torture of various levels.

[Constant Harassment and Surveillance on Wang’s Family Members]

Li Wenzu, the wife of Wang Quanzhang, has been relentlessly and perpetually fighting for her husband’s rights in the past three years. She has protested at the Supreme People’s Court for more than 30 times.

The recent head-shaving protest – “We can go bald, but the country cannot be lawless” (我可以无发,你不能无法) – has successfully drawn the international attention. On the one hand, the count has refused to respond to her requests; on the other hand, Li has been placed under constant surveillance and harassment of public security officers. Their child’s right to education was once deprived. It is despicable that the authorities have imposed such restrictions upon human rights lawyers’ family members.

Over the past three years, a number of human rights organizations, lawyers’ associations and even foreign governments all over the world have repeatedly released open letters and statements to call on the Chinese authorities to strictly abide by international human rights treaties, the Chinese Constitution and laws as to protect the fundamental rights of lawyer Wang Quanzhang.

However, not only has the Chinese authorities shown its arrogance and turned a deaf ear to all demands and appeals, but also ultimately imposed severe punishment on the well-known lawyer Wang Quanzhang. These maneuvers have revealed that “the rule of law” in China is just a veneer to deceive the world, while the Chinese authorities hardly has any intention to conform to international treaties as well as the Chinese Constitution and laws. After all, political power has triumphed over law and human rights in China.

We are deeply enraged at this verdict. We reiterate that no verdicts of guilty in Wang’s case shall be accepted in the absence of a fair and open trial, not to mention the 4-year-and-6-month imprisonment. The conviction and sentence on Wang did not go through a just legal procedure, and therefore are unjust in itself. In view of this, we strongly demand the Tianjin Municipal No.2 Intermediate People’s Court to:

1. Repeal the guilty verdict; acquit and Release Wang Quanzhang immediately;
2. Offer corresponding and appropriate compensation for the rights violations against lawyer Wang;
3. Investigate and hold all law enforcers accountable for committing the irregularities and violations of the criminal procedure during 709 Crackdown;
4. Stop any form of suppression against Li Wenzu and their child.

28th January 2019

Initiators: (In Alphabetical Order)
1. China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group[中國維權律師關注組]
2. Taiwan Support China Human Rights Lawyers Network[臺灣聲援中國人權律師網絡]

Signatories:
3. Barra Mexicana, Colegio de Abogados (Mexican Bar Association) [墨西哥律師協會]
4. Civic Party[公民黨]
5. Community March[社區前進]
6. Demosisto[香港眾志]
7. Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China[香港市民支援愛國民主運動聯合會]
8. Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions[香港職工會聯盟]
9. Human Rights Now
10. International Observatory for Lawyers in Danger
11. Justice and Peace Commission of HK Catholic Diocese[香港天主教正義和平委員會]
12. Labour Party HK[工黨]
13. Law Lay Dream[法夢]
14. Lawyers For Lawyers[律師助律師基金會]
15. Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada[加拿大律師權利觀察]
16. League of Social Democrats[社會民主連線]
17. Left 21[左翼廿一]
18. LegCo Office of Au Nok-hin[區諾軒立法會議員辦事處]
19. LegCo Office of Kwok Ka-ki[郭家麒立法會議員辦事處]
20. LegCo Office of Chu Hoi Dick[朱凱廸立法會議員辦事處]
21. Leitner Center for International Law and Justice[萊特納國際法暨正義中心]
22. International Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL) [國際人民律師協會]
23. Monitoring Committee on Attacks on Lawyers, International Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL)[國際人民律師協會監督委員會]
24. New School for Democracy[華人民主書院]
25. Ordre des Avocats De Geneve (Geneva Bar Association)[日內瓦律師協會]
26. Progressive Lawyers Group[法政匯思]
27. The Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales [英格蘭和威爾士律師協會人權委員會]
28. The Committee to Support Chinese Lawyers[聲援中國律師委員會]
29. The Democratic Party[民主黨]
30. The Edelstam Foundation[愛德爾斯塔姆基金會]
31. Worker Com[勞工組]

*Updated as of January 29 2019 at 17:30. The list will be continuously updated.

(China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group / 中國維權律師關注組 Facebook, 29/01/19)

https://chinadigitaltimes.net/2019/01/lawyer-wang-quanzhang-sentenced-to-4-5-years-in-prison/

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/jailing-reaction-01302019114154.html

https://www.scottishlegal.com/article/china-human-rights-groups-demand-release-of-jailed-lawyer-wang-quanzhang

https://sg.news.yahoo.com/hong-kong-protesters-demand-release-164300648.html

https://www.lrwc.org/china-at-upcoming-session-of-human-rights-council-states-should-pass-resolution-to-address-human-rights-violations-in-the-peoples-republic-of-china-letter/

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

https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/dossiers-pays/chine/evenements/article/chine-condamnations-de-wang-quanzhang-et-de-liu-feiyue-28-29-01-19 (FRANCAIS)

https://www.nacion.com/el-mundo/politica/abogado-chino-especializado-en-derechos-humanos-es/KHOWMUTHQBBGVD5YIFPPJDJ46E/story/ (ESPANOL)

https://www.deutschlandfunk.de/china-kritik-an-haftstrafe-fuer-wang-quanzhang.1939.de.html?drn:news_id=971386 (DEUTSCH)

http://ildubbio.news/ildubbio/2019/01/29/condanna-farsa-per-wang-quanzhang-lavvocato-dei-diritti/ (ITALIANO)

India: Indians Demand #FreeKoregaon9 Twitter Storm

Image may contain: 9 people, people smiling, text

Join our Twitter storm to
#FreeKoregaon9
Please join us on Twitter
On February 4th Monday
Tweet all you want with the hashtag 
#FreeKoregaon9
Time: 8 pm to 10 pm.
Let’s raise our voice for the release of Bhima Koregaon political prisoners

(Facebook, 29/01/19)

https://thewire.in/caste/meet-the-five-arrested-in-the-bhima-koregaon-case

https://scroll.in/article/911133/full-text-romila-thapar-says-it-is-essential-that-the-right-to-dissent-in-india-is-not-discarded

https://www.thewire.in/rights/faculty-students-and-iims-iit-condemn-false-charges-against-anand-teltumbde

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/bhima-koregaon-case-chronology-of-activists-arrest/articleshow/65995410.cms

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/bhima-koregaon-case-supreme-court-defers-hearing-on-maharashtras-plea-1961192

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/police-take-custody-of-p-varavara-rao-surendra-gadling-in-16-maoist-attack-case/articleshow/67765959.cms

https://theleaflet.in/category/bhima-koregaon/?fbclid=IwAR2A-X5LE15eejAogtSULOzUHrhmWngaDEMJ1JRGRWq3ybO9cghizx_5lR4

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2018_Bhima_Koregaon_violence

Iran: Human Rights Lawyer Mohammad Najafi Facing 19 Years Behind Bars in Iran

January 28, 2019

Najafi Jailed for Demanding Justice for Detainee Who Died in State Custody

Imprisoned human rights attorney Mohammad Najafi was sentenced to two more years in prison in Iran on January 22, 2019—bringing the total number of years he has been condemned to serve to 19.

The sentences have been issued over the course of several trials held over the last few months. In the latest trial at Branch 102 of the Criminal Court in Shazand, Markazi Province, the 43-year-old was also fined four million tomans (approximately $950 USD), his lawyer Payam Derafshan told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).

Derafshan noted that the sentence was based on comments Najafi had posted on Instagram for which he had already been found guilty and sentenced.

In addition to the three-year prison sentence Najafi has been serving since October 2018, he has also been issued preliminary sentences totaling 14 more years behind bars.

On December 11, 2018, Najafi was sentenced to 13 years in prison for the charges of “collaboration with enemy states through transferring news and information in interviews” (10 years), “propaganda against the state” (two years) and “insulting the supreme leader” (one year) by Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court in Arak.

On December 15, Branch 102 of the Criminal Court in Shazand also sentenced Najafi to one year in prison for the charge of “publishing falsehoods in cyberspace with a phone and computer with the intention to disturb public opinion.”

On January 15, 2019, Najafi was transferred from Arak Central Prison to the nearby city of Shazand to face the charge of “disturbing public opinion” in connection with a letter he posted on Facebook on September 8, 2018, criticizing Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei,

https://www.iranhumanrights.org/2019/01/human-rights-lawyer-mohammad-najafi-facing-19-years-behind-bars-in-iran/?fbclid=IwAR36vQh6FR_p09V2qRH-N0g9JUKz_w7R5GFiyZRnBBMjJ1CTbgAZpIBRXh0

https://iran-hrm.com/index.php/2019/01/24/imprisoned-attorney-mohammad-najafi-faces-more-jail-time-while-case-is-under-appeal/

https://iran-hrm.com/index.php/2019/01/29/sufi-woman-locked-up-with-drug-offenders-in-critical-health-condition/

https://en.radiofarda.com/a/iranians-speak-about-what-happened-to-freedom-after-revolution/29748478.html

https://www.facebook.com/events/749617858748886/ (FRANCAIS)

Image may contain: 1 person, text

IRAN – 22 janvier 2019
Mohammad Najafi
Condamné quatre fois en quatre mois à un total de 19 ans de prison.

Le 22 janvier 2019, Mohammad Najafi, 43 ans, avocat à Arak, la capitale de la province de Markazi, a été condamné par la chambre 102 du tribunal pénal de Shazand, à deux ans de prison pour avoir «troublé l’opinion publique», dans une lettre publiée sur Facebook le 8 septembre 2018, critiquant le guide suprême Ali Khamenei. Il a également été condamné à une amende de quatre millions de tomans (environ 950 USD).

Cette dernière condamnation porte à 19 ans le nombre total d’années de prison auxquelles il a été condamné en quatre mois.

(L’Observatoire des Avocats Facebook, 29/01/19)

Pakistan: SC rejects review petition against Asia Bibi acquittal

January 29, 2019

The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Tuesday rejected a review petition challenging the top court’s decision to acquit Asia Bibi, a peasant Christian woman enmeshed in a years-long blasphemy row.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and comprising Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel took up the petition filed against the top court’s verdict acquitting Asia Bibi of blasphemy charges and setting her free.

Petitioner Qari Muhammad Saalam’s lawyer Ghulam Mustafa presented his arguments before the bench and demanded that a larger bench comprising Islamic scholars be constituted to hear the petition.

Qari Muhammad Saalam had filed a review petition in the Supreme Court Lahore registry through his counsel Ghulam Mustafa Chaudhry, after the apex court acquitted Asia Bibi, who had been on death row since she was convicted on blasphemy charges in 2010.

The petitioner had argued that Bibi confessed to her crimes during investigation, and that a delay in lodging the First Information Request does not imply that the defendant is not guilty of the crime.

The petitioner had also sought to put her name on the Exit Control List till a final decision on the review petition was made.

https://www.geo.tv/latest/226579-sc-rejects-review-petition-against-asia-bibi-acquittal

https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/christian-acquitted-blasphemy-faces-final-court-hurdle-60691486

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/29/asia-bibi-pakistans-top-court-upholds-blasphemy-acquittal

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/01/29/freedom-last-asia-bibi-pakistan-upholds-acquittal/

https://www.dw.com/en/asia-bibi-pakistani-court-upholds-acquittal-decision/a-47272482

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/asia-bibi-case-pakistan-supreme-court-ruling-trial-blasphemy-verdict-a8751736.html

https://www.euronews.com/2019/01/29/pakistani-court-dismisses-petition-against-christians-blasphemy-acquittal

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-47040847

https://www.independent.ie/world-news/pakistan-upholds-acquittal-of-christian-woman-who-had-been-sentenced-to-death-37760700.html

https://humanism.org.uk/2019/01/29/humanists-uk-welcomes-decision-on-asia-bibis-blasphemy-acquittal/?fbclid=IwAR0gbKqSUouMTxWka9XVmiCg9bLCgbvFn2NAIgdWuAvk9496uYO19dpeTtM

https://www.amnestyusa.org/press-releases/asia-bibi-must-finally-get-her-freedom-in-pakistan/

https://lso.ca/news-events/news/latest-news-2019/law-society-expresses-grave-concerns-regarding-hum

https://cruxnow.com/church-in-asia/2019/01/30/expert-sees-asia-bibi-acquittal-fueling-push-for-rule-of-law-in-pakistan/

https://globalnews.ca/video/4913544/lawyer-for-asia-bibi-speaks-about-her-journey-to-freedom

https://www.bbc.com/urdu/pakistan-47020899?fbclid=IwAR2coYWMaa87uZYggNzKORUTdgODxGgCZ_R_xCgIQuarBoRnBpDeuIIgJhI (URDU)

http://www.lefigaro.fr/flash-actu/2019/01/29/97001-20190129FILWWW00067-pakistan-la-justice-rejette-le-recours-contre-l-acquittement-d-asia-bibi.php (FRANCAIS)

https://www.liberation.fr/direct/element/asia-bibi-pourra-quitter-le-pakistan-la-cour-supreme-rejette-un-recours-contre-son-acquittement_93107/ (FRANCAIS)

https://www.imolaoggi.it/2019/01/29/pakistan-corte-suprema-conferma-lassoluzione-di-asia-bibi/ (ITALIANO)

https://www.diariovasco.com/agencias/201901/29/supremo-paquistani-rechaza-apelacion-1339929.html (ESPANOL)

https://www.nachrichten.at/nachrichten/politik/aussenpolitik/pakistan-lehnt-berufung-gegen-freispruch-von-asia-bibi-ab;art391,3096660 (DEUTSCH)

https://noticias.uol.com.br/ultimas-noticias/efe/2019/01/29/supremo-do-paquistao-rejeita-recurso-contra-asia-bibi-e-a-declara-livre.htm (PORTUGUES)

#AsiaBibi

India: This Mumbai Lawyer Couple Is Opposing Maratha Reservations Despite Threats To Their Lives

January 27, 2019

Advocate Gunaratne Sadavarte moved court against Maratha reservation bill on behalf of his wife Jayashri Patil and since then, the couple has been repeatedly threatened

At lunch break on December 10, 2018, as Advocate Gunaratne Sadavarte walked out of the Bombay High Court, a young man ran up to him, pushed him to the ground, and kicked him viciously on his stomach and chest.

“He was shouting slogans ’Ek Maratha, Lakh Maratha,” Sadavarte recalled, referring to the slogan synonymous with the Maratha protests that have shaken Maharashtra. “Luckily, there were many lawyers in the court premises. They overpowered the attacker and saved me.”

In November last year, the Maharashtra state assembly bowed down to a key demand of the Maratha community by passing a bill to reserve 16 percent reservation in government jobs for the state’s most economically and politically dominant community.

Days later, Sadavarte ( 40) moved court against the bill on behalf of his wife Jayashri Patil (40), who is also an advocate at the High Court. Since then, the couple has been repeatedly threatened allegedly by members of the Maratha community.

https://www.huffingtonpost.in/entry/this-mumbai-lawyer-couple-is-opposing-marathas-reservations-despite-threats-to-their-lives_in_5c4de4d2e4b0e1872d44c991

Burma: Ko Ni murder trial reaches climax

January 29, 2019

A Yangon court will soon deliver judgment against four men on trial over the killing of NLD legal adviser U Ko Ni, while the alleged mastermind remains at large.

Mourners hold pictures depicting slain lawyer U Ko Ni and taxi driver U Nay Win at their funerals in Yangon. (Steve Tickner | Frontier)

TWO YEARS after the brazen assassination of prominent lawyer U Ko Ni at Yangon International Airport, the failure of the Myanmar Police Force to arrest the alleged mastermind continues to attract public criticism.

Final arguments by lawyers representing the four men arrested over the killing are due to be presented in Yangon Northern District Court on February 1, almost two years after the hearings began in March 2017.

Ko Ni was a constitutional expert, legal adviser to the National League of Democracy and prominent Muslim public figure. He has been credited with masterminding the state counsellor position for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, which allowed her to assume high office in the face of the military-drafted 2008 Constitution, whose provisions barred her from the presidency.

Ko Ni was shot dead while cradling his grandson outside the airport late on the afternoon of January 29, 2017. He had just returned from Indonesia where he had participated in a leadership programme on democracy and conflict resolution as part of a delegation headed by the Minister for Information U Pe Myint.

The suspected mastermind of the assassination, U Aung Win Khine, 47, who faces a charge of premeditated murder, has been declared a fugitive from justice by the court. He is the subject of an Interpol “red notice” issued at the request of the Myanmar police.

The suspected gunman, U Kyi Lin, was arrested almost immediately after the killing. He is also accused of fatally shooting a taxi driver while trying to flee the airport. He has been charged with premeditated murder and the illegal possession and transport of firearms.

https://frontiermyanmar.net/en/ko-ni-murder-trial-reaches-climax

https://www.mmtimes.com/news/two-years-and-still-no-justice-u-ko-ni.html

https://www.mmtimes.com/news/international-jurists-call-thorough-probe-u-ko-nis-slaying.html

https://www.irrawaddy.com/specials/highlights-u-ko-ni-murder-case.html

https://www.icj.org/myanmar-icj-marks-2nd-year-anniversary-of-the-killing-of-lawyer-u-ko-ni/?fbclid=IwAR2cqVXGngpgmSnSbG0oMHTUuCarhwZaVkqJWp8txg0I2e1_FZ0JxWAN7OA

https://www.mmtimes.com/news/international-jurists-call-thorough-probe-u-ko-nis-slaying.html

https://www.irrawaddy.com/from-the-archive/where-are-the-assassins-2.html

http://www.atimes.com/article/getting-away-with-murder-in-myanmar/

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

Pakistan: Pakistan court to review acquittal in blasphemy trial

January 28, 2019

Saiful Malook

The lawyer of a Pakistani Christian woman who spent eight years on death row for charges of blasphemy vowed to secure her freedom when the country’s Supreme Court meets Tuesday to reconsider an acquittal announced last year.

Aasia Bibi was released from prison in October but has been under guard in a secret location since then because of death threats from Islamic extremists. Blasphemy against Islam is punishable by death in Pakistan, and the mere rumor that someone has committed blasphemy can ignite lynchings.

If Pakistan’s top court upholds its earlier ruling, Bibi will be free to leave for Canada, where her daughters have already been granted asylum.

Her attorney, Saiful Malook, who has also received death threats and fled the country after her acquittal, is back in Islamabad and will attend Tuesday’s hearing.

“I am sure the review petition … will be rejected,” Malook told The Associated Press on Monday. He said he has asked authorities to provide him with personal security.

The petitioners “have no case against my client, I am sure of that,” Malook added.

The 54-year-old mother of five was arrested in 2009 after being accused of blasphemy following a quarrel with two Muslim farm workers who refused to drink from a water container used by a Christian in a village in eastern Punjab province. A local mob, incited by a cleric, accused Bibi of insulting the Prophet Muhammad. Police arrested her, and she was sentenced to death in 2010.

Her Oct. 31 acquittal led hard-line Islamists to stage nationwide protests for days demanding the re-imposition of her death sentence. Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government promised Bibi would not be allowed to leave Pakistan until her case was reviewed, bringing a halt to protests.

Days later, authorities arrested radical cleric Khadim Hussain Rizvi and several of his followers for organizing rallies against Bibi. The cleric and the others remain in custody pending trial for damaging public property and threatening Supreme Court judges.

https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/pakistani-lawyer-returns-home-defend-christian-woman-60670368

https://www.samaa.tv/news/2019/01/supreme-court-to-hear-review-petition-against-aasia-bibis-acquittal/

https://enews.hamariweb.com/pakistan/asia-bibi-acquittal-sc-will-give-decision-on-review-petition-today/

https://www.thenews.com.pk/latest/425144-supreme-court-to-rule-on-call-for-appeal-against-asia-bibi

https://www.dawn.com/news/1460376/islamabad-on-high-alert-as-sc-set-to-hear-petition-against-aasia-bibis-acquittal

https://www.apnews.com/3cf437e7f39845a0ba3a8275991eba77

https://www.news18.com/news/world/asia-bibis-lawyers-who-fled-country-due-to-security-reasons-returns-home-ahead-of-hearing-2016241.html

https://dailytimes.com.pk/349110/sc-hears-petition-against-asia-bibis-acquittal-today/

https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/nation-world/world/article225218945.html

Pakistan Supreme Court will review its own decision to acquit Asia Bibi of blasphemy charges

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

https://www.lepoint.fr/actu-du-jour/a-la-une-ce-mardi-29-janvier-28-01-2019-2289565_781.php (FRANCAIS)

https://www.epochtimes.fr/pakistan-la-cour-supreme-se-penche-a-nouveau-sur-laffaire-asia-bibi-692581.html (FRANCAIS)

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

https://it.blastingnews.com/cronaca/2019/01/asia-bibi-domani-la-corte-suprema-decidera-sulla-revisione-dellassoluzione-002830115.html (ITALIANO)

https://orf.at/stories/3109446/ (DEUTSCH)

https://www.stichtinghvc.nl/nieuws/nieuwsoverzicht/blog-rechtszaak-asia-bibi-update/?fbclid=IwAR2D8gMtRHw3ErDAm4MvQ3Y6yDIK1c-a9ulHqCai-GanJm2NsFOHB2dPEUc (NEDERLANDS)

#AsiaBibi