Daily Archives: 10/08/2019

The Philippines: De Lima Wants Crimes Vs Lawyers Considered As Aggravating Circumstance

August 10, 2019

Alarmed by the continued rise in the number of attacks against lawyers, Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has introduced a measure increasing the penalty against crimes committed against lawyers by considering these offenses as aggravating circumstance.

De Lima, a lawyer by profession, filed Senate Bill No. 780 which seeks to include the crime committed against lawyers and other justice sector officials as aggravating circumstance, thereby amending Section 14 of the Revised Penal Code.

“There is a clear need to amend existing law to establish a clear government police to protect our justice system and the persons tasked to administer justice,” she said.

“To deter commission of crimes against the person and property of lawyers and justice sector officials, this bill increases penalty against crimes committed against them by considering such crimes as an aggravating circumstance,” she added.

The former justice secretary cited the unabated spate of killings against members of the legal profession in recent years. According to the Alternative Law Journal, at least 114 legal professionals were killed between January 1999 and October 2004.

Under the present administration, at least 40 judges, prosecutors and lawyers have been killed, with almost half of them gunned down by unidentified men. Just recently, lawyers Anthony Trinidad and Nicolas Gomez Jr. were gunned down in separate incidents in Negros Oriental and Bukidnon, respectively.

Last March 2019, an international delegation composed of lawyers from Belgium, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands and the United States came to the country to investigate the spate of killings, harassment and intimidation involving lawyers.

The delegation interviewed survivors, victims’ relatives, government agencies and prosecutors to beef up its reports, which they will submit to the United Nations Human Rights Council, International Criminal Court and other international organizations.

Aside from this, various human rights organizations and lawyers groups, such as the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, have expressed alarm over the recent incidents.

De Lima Wants Crimes Vs Lawyers Considered As Aggravating Circumstance

https://www.rappler.com/nation/237402-there-are-ejks-manila-contrary-what-isko-moreno-believes

Murders of Environmentalists Have Doubled in 15 Years

Lawmakers cross partylines to call for House probe on Negros killings

http://philippinereporter.com/2019/08/09/stop-the-killings/

Strongest protest at escalated political killings in Negros Oriental, the Philippines

https://www.scmp.com/news/asia/southeast-asia/article/3017656/rodrigo-dutertes-war-drugs-produces-systematic-abuses

https://www.scmp.com/news/asia/southeast-asia/article/1984193/go-ahead-and-kill-drug-addicts-philippine-president-rodrigo

UN probes don’t infringe on PH sovereignty

https://boricuaresistance.wordpress.com/2019/08/09/boricua-resistance-condemns-the-attacks-and-extrajudicial-killings-of-activists-and-human-rights-defenders-in-the-philippines/

Why are the Armed Forces of the Philippines Targeting People like Brandon Lee?

http://manilastandard.net/opinion/columns/eagle-eyes-by-tony-la-vina/301390/for-whom-the-bell-tolls-20190802.html

August 20 set as national day of mourning, protest vs killings

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

Report of IAPL Monitoring Committee 13 8 19 revised ed (IAPL MONITORING COMMITTEE REPORT)

#StopTheAttacks

#StopTheKillings

#DefendTheDefenders

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Australia/Timor Leste: Witness K and the ‘outrageous’ spy scandal that failed to shame Australia

August 9, 2019

Witness K and lawyer Bernard Collaery helped correct what they saw as a gross injustice. They now face jail time

Peter Galbraith was playing a high-stakes game.

It was 2004 and, in the Dili heat, the distinguished US diplomat sat opposite Australian officials, bartering over a nation’s future.

Timor-Leste’s government, with Galbraith as its chief negotiator, was desperate to get a fair deal from the bountiful underwater oil and gas reserves that lay between it and Australia, a trusted ally and regional powerhouse.

Success would give it a significant share of fields worth $40bn-$50bn, helping lift the fledgling nation out of poverty. Failure would blow the tyres of an economy heavily reliant on natural resources.

The game, though, was rigged.

Unbeknownst to Galbraith, Australian Secret Intelligence Service (Asis) agents had been instructed to bug key offices of the Timor-Leste government. The listening devices would reveal Timor-Leste’s bottom line, its negotiating tactics and the competing views of cabinet members.

Australia’s actions would have been buried in perpetuity, had it not been for one Asis operative, known only as Witness K. The senior intelligence officer felt deeply uncomfortable about the operation, which was mounted during a heightened regional terror threat due to the 2002 Bali bombings. He eventually approached the intelligence watchdog, the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS).

The spy obtained permission to talk to an approved lawyer, Bernard Collaery, a barrister and one-time attorney general for the ACT.

Collaery helped the Timor-Leste government build a case against Australia at The Hague, alleging the bugging had rendered the treaty void.

The revelations were splashed across mainstream media, first through the Australian, then the ABC.

In Timor-Leste, the pair were seen as heroes.

“Witness K, as the secret agent became known, and Collaery, are brave Australians,” former Timor-Leste president José Ramos-Horta wrote last month while calling for the pair to be awarded his nation’s highest honour. “Individuals with a conscience and courage, representing the very best of Australians as I know them – instinctively sympathetic to the underdog, the weak and vulnerable.”

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/aug/10/witness-k-and-the-outrageous-spy-scandal-that-failed-to-shame-australia

https://www.lawyersweekly.com.au/wig-chamber/26235-bernard-collaery-case-slammed-as-an-attack-on-the-legal-profession

http://en.rfi.fr/wire/20190806-aussie-ex-spy-offers-surprise-guilty-plea-leaking-east-timor-plot

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/aug/06/witness-k-to-plead-guilty-in-timor-leste-spying-case-but-lawyer-to-fight-charges

http://theconversation.com/from-richard-boyle-and-witness-k-to-media-raids-its-time-whistleblowers-had-better-protection-121555

https://www.9news.com.au/national/a-current-affair-whistleblowers-witness-k-cases-show-australia-becoming-police-state-andrew-wilkie-warns/96a96898-f62d-4daf-84fd-5fd1f12e2351

https://theconversation.com/why-an-australian-charter-of-rights-is-a-matter-of-national-urgency-121411

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

http://mietspiegelnews.com/wirtschaft/Australian-Spion-schuldig-in-Ost-Timor-nervt-Fall-h29344.html (DEUTSCH)

http://www.dailyviewsonline.com/cultura/Australiano-spia-per-dichiararsi-colpevole-in-Timor-Est-intercettazioni-caso-h18174.html (ITALIANO)

https://www.rtp.pt/noticias/mundo/ex-espiao-australiano-que-denunciou-espionagem-a-timor-leste-vai-declarar-se-culpado_n1164907 (PORTUGUES)

The Philippines/USA: American Volunteer Branded ‘Enemy of State’ and Shot Outside His Home in the Philippines

August 8, 2019

Environmental activists display placards during a rally at the Department of Justice to demand the Philippine government withdraw its alleged list of  terrorists  which includes more than three dozen environmentalists in Manila, Philippines on April 20, 2018.

An American human rights volunteer is reportedly in critical condition after he was shot four times in the Philippines.

Brandon Lee, 37, was attacked outside his home in Ifugao province in the northern Philippines on Tuesday after he was called an “enemy of the state” on social media, reports the Guardian.

Lee suffered cardiac arrest during a surgery to remove a bullet lodged in his jaw.

Lee is a volunteer for Ifugao Peasant Movement (IPM), a farmers’ group that actively opposes a hydropower project and the military presence in the Cordillera region, according to the Guardian. In 2008, an IPM staff member was killed in a similar attack.

Lee and other IPM staff had were labeled “enemy of the state” in posters that were put up around the province.

Another rights group, the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance, where Lee also volunteers, blamed authorities for the attack.

https://time.com/5647219/brandon-lee-volunteer-shot-philippines/

http://www.businessinsider.fr/us/us-human-rights-worker-brandon-lee-shot-at-home-philippines-2019-8

https://www.rappler.com/nation/237444-police-task-force-probe-shooting-brandon-lee

https://www.sunstar.com.ph/article/1818095

https://abc7news.com/rally-calls-for-justice-in-shooting-of-sf-native-in-the-philippines/5455689/

https://cpj.org/2019/08/american-journalist-shot-critically-wounded-in-phi.php

CHR bats for law to protect rights activists from violence

https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/San-Francisco-activist-shot-in-Philippines-14291516.php

https://www.rappler.com/nation/237222-ifugao-farmers-group-volunteer-shot-august-2019

https://www.fightbacknews.org/2019/8/7/bayan-usa-stop-attacks-human-rights-defenders-now

https://www.philstar.com/nation/2019/08/07/1941346/human-rights-defender-shot-front-house-ifugao

Rights worker survives gun attack in Ifugao

De Lima Wants Crimes Vs Lawyers Considered As Aggravating Circumstance

Attacks on Filipino lawyers 28 7 19 (IAPL MONITORING COMMITTEE REPORT)

#Justice4BrandonLee

#StopTheAttacks

#StopTheKillings

#DefendTheDefenders

Russia: Moscow: searches, arrests and beatings ahead of new protests

August 9, 2019

In an attempt to bring down the upcoming wave of protests, Russian authorities are using more stringent methods

Repression continues against protesters and opponents of President Putin in Moscow.

On August 7, a search was conducted at the Anti-Corruption Foundation, led by Russian opposition leader Aleksey Navalny,  Mediazone reported.

Five lawyers of the foundation were forcibly taken in for interrogation in cases of money laundering, one of them was beaten.

Computers and other office equipment were seized as well. The foundation’s accounts have been seized – meanwhile, Alexey Navalny himself is under arrest.

Lyubov Sobol, one of the few protest leaders who has remained at liberty and one of the candidates not allowed to register for the upcoming Moscow Duma elections, tweeted:

“[The foundation’s] accounts have been blocked in order to 1. obstruct the work of [the foundation], and to prevent us from paying fines of those illegally detained in the protests. Hence the rush. The level of political pressure has increased many fold. In any case, the foundation will continue its work.”

Moscow: searches, arrests and beatings ahead of new protests

https://www.euronews.com/2019/08/10/moscow-braces-for-another-election-protest-despite-crackdown

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/world/russia-freezes-bank-accounts-linked-to-opposition-politician-navalny-11793472

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/europe/kremlin-turns-up-heat-on-navalny-as-protests-continue-in-moscow-1.3977121

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/10411-kremlin-investigating-navalny-s-anti-graft-foundation

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/alexei-navalnys-poisoning-shows-its-a-dangerous-time-to-oppose-vlad-the-venomous-ncjpzrdq9

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/08/09/his-th-anniversary-power-vladimir-putin-looks-weaker-than-ever/

https://www.voanews.com/europe/voa-exclusive-navalny-deputy-calls-assets-freeze-predictable-psychological-projection

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

https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2019/08/08/russie-gel-des-comptes-de-l-organisme-anticorruption-d-alexei-navalny_5497723_3210.html (FRANCAIS)

https://www.lemonde.fr/international/video/2019/08/09/russie-d-ou-vient-la-vague-de-mobilisation_5498187_3210.html (FRANCAIS)

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexe%C3%AF_Navalny (FRANCAIS)

https://oglobo.globo.com/mundo/russia-congela-contas-de-alexei-navalny-principal-opositor-do-kremlin-1-23863189 (PORTUGUES)

China: Lawyer of Jailed Chinese Dissident Huang Qi Taken Away by Police, Huang’s Mother Under House Arrest

August 9, 2019

Huang Qi, a human rights activist from Sichuan Province, China.  (www.64Tianwang.com)

Renowned Chinese dissident Huang Qi was sentenced to 12 years on July 29 for allegedly leaking state secrets to foreigners. Recently, Huang’s mother, who is under house arrest, hired a lawyer to take on his case. But the lawyer was suddenly taken away by police on Aug. 5, according to a source who spoke with The Epoch Times on the condition of anonymity.

Huang Qi, 56, is the founder of 64 Tianwang, a news website blocked in mainland China that reports on human rights abuses and protests in the country, focusing on dissidents and petitioners, Falun Gong practitioners and other suppressed religious groups.

Huang had served previous prison terms related to his website, and prior to the court verdict in July, he had been detained for two years. It is one of the harshest sentences that a dissident has received since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to power in 2012.

A source familiar with the case told the Chinese-language edition of The Epoch Times that Huang’s mother, Pu Wenqing, hired a lawyer from Beijing to represent him. The source wished to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the matter.

Pu and the attorney, Zhang Lei, was scheduled to meet on Aug. 5 at her home. The source said that when Zhang arrived at Pu’s residential community, a group of men suddenly showed up and began pushing and dragging him around.

Then Pu, who was expecting Zhang that day, came out of her home to see what was happening. As Pu is under house arrest, a guard who monitors her also came along.

The source said that Pu ran over to Zhang and told him, “They (the authorities) have agreed that I can hire an attorney. They are breaking their promise!”

Then policemen from the nearby Yongquan Police Station arrived at the scene and took Zhang away soon after one of the thugs notified them, according to the source.

https://www.theepochtimes.com/lawyer-of-jailed-chinese-dissident-huang-qi-taken-away-by-police-huangs-mother-under-house-arrest_3032206.html

Iran: Declaring A State Of War Against Iranian Dissidents

August 9, 2019

Once again, we are at a state of war, and we have an unfinished job of exterminating the dissidents, all at once.

This is the essence of a recently broadcast Mosalas magazine interview with Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi, Iran’s former Minister of Justice. It has had a chilling effect on Iranian activists, particularly those in prison, at a time when the nation is worried about how far the current tensions between Iran and the United States will escalate.

The interview was released on the 31st anniversary of the mass extrajudicial execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988. The Islamic Republic justified the killings by categorizing those prisoners, who were already serving their prison sentences, as wartime “enemies of the state.” The massacre, which historian Ervand Abrahamian has likened to “a medieval inquisition,” was deemed by then-Deputy Supreme Leader Hussein-Ali Montazeri as “the greatest crime committed in the Islamic Republic since the revolution.” Pour-Mohammadi served as the Intelligence Ministry’s representative on the “Death Committee” that oversaw the killings. His involvement has been confirmed by a recording of the perpetrators speaking with Montazeri.

In his interview, Pour-Mohammadi states that “we still haven’t settled scores,” strongly suggesting that the Iranian government views the 1988 carnage as an unfinished project. Now that the Iranian government claims the country to be once again in a state of war with “regime change led by the CIA, Israel, and Saudi Arabia,” one can only wonder if they are willing to repeat their actions from 1988.

The Iranian government has declared this “state of war” at a time when the space for Iranian activists is drastically shrinking. Iranian authorities have handed out heavy prison sentences for human rights lawyers like Nasrin Sotoudeh (33years) and Amir Salar Davoudi (over 29 years).

Declaring a State of War Against Iranian Dissidents

https://en.radiofarda.com/a/women-activists-in-iran-ask-khamenei-to-step-down/30095283.html

Three Women Issued Lengthy Prison Sentences for Peacefully Protesting Iran’s Mandatory Hijab Law

https://www.thebaghdadpost.com/en/Story/43251/Iran-sentences-3-women-to-55-years-over-defying-compulsory-hijab

https://www.stripes.com/the-best-thing-saudi-arabia-iran-could-do-for-women-1.593646

Hassan Rouhani’s Human Rights Record Marked by 3,800 Executions

https://www.rferl.org/a/un-rapporteur-rehman-rights-violations-iran/30114404.html

https://www.amnesty.org/en/get-involved/take-action/iran-free-nasrin-satoudeh-now/ (SIGN THE PETITION!)

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

https://ir.voanews.com/a/lawyer-prisoner-iran/5023133.html (FARSI)

https://www.causeur.fr/iran-voile-teheran-feminisme-white-wednesday-164253 (FRANCAIS)

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

http://www.lincontro.news/da-mosca-a-teheran-a-khartoum-donne-per-la-liberta/ (ITALIANO)

#FreeNasrin