Daily Archives: 18/09/2019

The Netherlands: Killing of crown witness’s lawyer Derk Wiersum shocks Amsterdam

September 18, 2019

Derk Wiersum was the lawyer for Nabil Bakkali, a crown witness in a case against 16 men accused of five murders.

The killing of Wiersum sent shockwaves in the Netherlands [Michel van Bergen/EPA-EFE]

 

A Dutch lawyer in a high-profile case against a group of men charged with a series of drug-related killings was shot dead in Amsterdam on Wednesday morning, police said.

The victim was identified as 44-year-old Derk Wiersum, a defence lawyer for Nabil Bakkali, a crown witness in the case against 16 men accused of five murders and one attempted murder in the Netherlands between 2015 and 2017.

The killing of Wiersum, a father and long-time criminal lawyer in Amsterdam, has sent shockwaves through the city and its justice system.

Police said they were searching for a youth aged between 16 and 20, who ran away after the shooting, which took place shortly after 7:30am local time (05:30 GMT).

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/09/killing-crown-witness-lawyer-derk-wiersum-shocks-amsterdam-190918093833974.html

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-49740366

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/18/of-lawyer-in-gangster-case-shocks-the-netherlands

https://www.dw.com/en/dutch-lawyer-involved-in-drug-gang-case-slain-in-amsterdam/a-50474745

https://nltimes.nl/2019/09/18/mps-lawyers-shocked-assassination-key-witness-lawyer

Defence lawyer in major gangland killing case is shot dead

https://nltimes.nl/2019/09/18/slain-attorney-father-two-killed-next-wife

https://www.tellerreport.com/news/2019-09-18—nctv-sets-up-security-team-after-death-of-lawyer-derk-wiersum-.Syl8JaywH.html

https://www.tellerreport.com/news/2019-09-18—nctv-will-investigate-the-murder-of-lawyer-derk-wiersum-.HykQ7s1PH.html

https://www.lawsociety.ie/gazette/top-stories/rule-of-law-under-attack-as-dutch-lawyer-murdered/

https://www.geenstijl.nl/5149628/advocaat-kroongetuige-nabil-b-doodgeschoten/ (NEDERLANDS)

https://www.nu.nl/binnenland/5994681/nctv-richt-team-op-voor-beveiliging-na-dood-advocaat-derk-wiersum.html?redirect=1 (NEDERLANDS)

https://www.linda.nl/nieuws/advocaat-derk-wiersum-liquidatie-nabil-b-kroongetuige/ (NEDERLANDS)

https://lawyersforlawyers.org/l4l-geschokt-door-de-liquidatie-advocaat/ (NEDERLANDS)

http://r.email3.wikafi.be/mk/mr/di8WpH3glwNErgw4KDWFcJztAlLf-DO-j9xlkGFSoGar40JE_gYf0c7nrDLP4ZhqMijKvGzBIaFfptLpfeqr8sglV2gwcpVxutJL7g (FRANCAIS & ENGLISH)

http://www.leparisien.fr/faits-divers/pays-bas-un-avocat-abattu-en-pleine-rue-a-amsterdam-18-09-2019-8154477.php (FRANCAIS)

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DECLARATION

The Board and the Coordinator of the Foundation Day of the Endangered Lawyer are deeply shocked by the horrifying murder attack this morning in Amsterdam on the human rights lawyer Derk Wiersum, based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Our thoughts are with his family members and friends.

Our Foundation notes that this murder is also an attack on the State of Law and the Rule of Law. We wonder how the protection or the safety of this very fine colleague was taken care of by the State, especially because he had been threatened recently as a lawyer in the ‘crown witness case’.

We wonder how it is possible that the fact that our wonderful colleague gave legal aid can lead to this murder attack?

The United Nations principles on the role of lawyers not only strongly condemn all attacks on lawyers who perform their professional duty, but also urge states to guarantee the safety of lawyers and take all necessary measures to reach that goal. Furthermore, we see the attack on our colleague as very inhumane and urge the Dutch government to start a thorough investigation to those who ordered and committed this murder.

On behalf of the Foundation Day of the Endangered Lawyer and the other international lawyer organizations mentioned,

Hans Gaasbeek and Symone Gaasbeek-Wielinga

Gaasbeek en Gaasbeek Advocaten

🏴 Le Barreau de Marseille est indigné ! 🏴

L’avocat pénaliste Derk Wiersum, âgé de 44 ans, a été assassiné hier en pleine rue à Amsterdam.

Il défendait un témoin clé dans le procès de deux personnes accusées de meurtre et trafic de drogue.

Cela est intolérable.

Nous tenons à exprimer notre solidarité envers nos confrères Hollandais, ainsi que nos sincères condoléances à la famille et aux proches de Derk Wiersum.

(Barreau de Marseille Facebook, 19/09/19)

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Crimea/Ukraine: Eighty political prisoners held in Crimea now — lawyer

September 18, 2019

Eighty political prisoners held in Crimea now — lawyer

The persecution of Crimean Tatars and pro-Ukrainian activists, as well as their relatives and lawyers who protect them, is ongoing in Crimea.

A corresponding statement was made during a side event “Persecution of Crimean Tatars’ Defenders in Crimea: Attacks on Lawyers, Journalists and Activists” at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

Tamila Tasheva, the coordinator of CrimeaSOS organization, noted that pressure started to be put on Crimean Tatars and active Ukrainian population living on the peninsula after Crimea had been occupied. Thus, the activists and journalists began to leave Crimea and only representatives of the Mejlis of Crimean Tatar People stayed on their land. According to her, the activists, relatives of those persecuted and lawyers united in the Crimean Solidarity organization in 2016 but they also began to be oppressed by the occupying power of the Russian Federation.

“Over 80 political prisoners, including more than 60 Crimean Tatars, are held in Crimea now. They all are prosecuted under so-called ‘terrorism’ articles,” Crimean lawyer Emil Kurbedinov stressed.

Of course, these charges are completely trumped-up as the people are being persecuted for their active civic stance, for their views, Kurbedinov emphasized.

https://www.ukrinform.net/rubric-polytics/2782678-eighty-political-prisoners-held-in-crimea-now-lawyer.html

https://www.kyivpost.com/article/opinion/op-ed/halya-coynash-russia-treats-imprisoned-crimean-tatars-like-victims-of-the-1944-deportation.html

http://khpg.org/en/index.php?id=1544564886

http://www.civicsolidarity.org/article/1588/russian-authorities-crack-down-human-rights-activists-and-other-individuals-occupied

https://nbnews.com.ua/politika/2019/09/09/emil-kurbedinov-o-zakliuchennykh-krymskikh-tatarakh/ (UKRAINIAN)

https://qha.com.tr/haberler/avukat-kurbedinov-dan-kirim-tatar-siyasi-tutsaklari-ziyaret/81367/ (TURKCE)

https://qha.com.tr/haberler/avukat-emil-kurbedinov-dan-esir-degisimi-yorumu-soydaslarim-hala-mucadeleye-devam-ediyorlar/79328/ (TURKCE)

 

USA: Judge rules against NC man who says lynching ‘threat’ to Muslim candidate is ‘free speech’

September 17, 2019

A federal appeals court ruled this week that a North Carolina man must face trial after he allegedly threatened a Muslim candidate with lynching.

Attorneys for Joseph Cecil Vandevere, 52, argued that charges against their client should be dropped on the grounds of freedom of speech, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday.

Vandevere is charged with interstate communication of a threat to injure a person. He allegedly used anonymous social media accounts to communicate lynching threats.

In one tweet, Vandevere is said to have sent a picture of a lynching to Virginia state Senate candidate Qasim Rashid, who is Muslim. The tweet included the words “VIEW YOUR DESTINY.”

Vandevere is also accused of posting a threat on the Facebook page of a Florida synagogue. The comment called for the “public arrests and executions” of “dual citizen Jews.”

Lawyers for Vandevere said that the remarks are not a “true threat” because of free speech protections in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The AP reported that U.S. District Judge Max Cogburn Jr. ruled against the motion to dismiss the case, saying that he could not find that Vandevere’s remarks are “political hyperbole.”

Judge rules against NC man who says lynching ‘threat’ to Muslim candidate is ‘free speech’

https://www.dailyinterlake.com/article/20190916/AP/309169871

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

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Germany: Lawyer pursing neo-Nazis got death threats

September 16, 2019

Germany: Lawyer pursing neo-Nazis got death threats

One of the lawyers working to hold the German neo-Nazi group NSU responsible for a string of murders has received several death threats, local media reported on Monday.

Hessische Rundfunk reported that Turkish-German lawyer Seda Basay Yildiz most recently got a fax with a death threat just three days after the murder of German politician Walter Lubcke.

Lubcke, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in the city of Kassel, was murdered by a single gunshot wound to the head in his garden this June.

Lubcke was known for supporting Merkel’s open-door policy for refugees.

“We killed Walter Lubcke. Now it’s your turn,” the fax sent to Yildiz reportedly said, signed by “NSU 2.0” and “Prinz Eugen Ssostubaf.”

The “Prinz Eugen Ssostubaf” moniker is thought to be related to a Nazi military unit responsible for massacres in then-Yugoslavia.

From 2000 to 2007, the neo-Nazi terror group National Socialist Underground (NSU) killed eight Turkish immigrants, a Greek citizen, and a German police officer, though the murders long remained unsolved.

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/germany-lawyer-pursing-neo-nazis-got-death-threats/1585835

https://www.thelocal.de/20190919/neo-nazi-suspect-in-german-officials-murder-linked-to-stabbing-of-iraqi-man

https://www.swr.de/swr2/leben-und-gesellschaft/Gespraech-NSU-2,av-o1153771-100.html (DEUTSCHE)

https://taz.de/Drohung-gegen-Anwaeltin-Baay-Yldz/!5626256/ (DEUTSCHE)

https://www.fr.de/rhein-main/beuth-nach-drohfax-unter-druck-zr-13008461.html (DEUTSCHE)

https://dosja.al/avokatja-turke-ne-gjermani-kercenohet-me-vdekje-nga-ekstremistet-e-djathte/ (ALBANIAN)

Tajikistan: officials must end intimidation of lawyers, including the Bar Association Chairperson

September 10, 2019

The ICJ today expressed concern that a Government anti-corruption agency has engaged in acts of intimidation against the Chairperson of the Union of the Lawyers of the Republic of Tajikistan, Saidbek Nuritdinov, and 15 other lawyers.

The intimidation apparently relates to the lawyers’ defence of Abdulaziz Abdurahmonzoda, a lawyer facing trial on charges of fraud, who was allegedly ill-treated in detention by officers of the city Department of the Agency for Financial Control and Combating Corruption of the Republic of Tajikistan (Anti-Corruption Agency).

After the lawyers representing Abdurahmonzoda alleged that he had been ill-treated, the judge of the Sino district of Dushanbe city hearing the case, Ahmadzoda Farogat, requested the Prosecutor General’s Office to investigate the allegations.

Following the initiation of the inquiry of the allegations of ill-treatment, the Head of the Anti-Corruption Agency of Dushanbe, allegedly sent requests to a number of district courts of Dushanbe to obtain information about civil and criminal cases in which Saidbek Nuritdinov had participated as a lawyer.

Tajikistan: officials must end intimidation of lawyers, including the Bar Association Chairperson

https://www.uianet.org/en/news/new-date-uia-rule-law-award-cooperation-lexisnexis

http://notorturetj.org/news/saidbek-nuritdinov-antikorrupciya-okazyvaet-davlenie-na-advokatov (RUSSIAN)

Egypt: Detention Renweed for Another 45 Days for Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy

September 12, 2019

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On 10 September 2019, the Criminal Court of Cairo rejected an appeal from human rights defender Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy, and renewed his detention for an additional 45 days.

On 2 May 2018, Cairo Criminal Court ordered the detention of Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy for 45 days pending further investigation. On 4 December 2017, the detention of human rights defender Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy was extended for a further 15 days, pending investigation by the prosecution. He is currently being held in Aqrab Prison, where he has reported poor detention conditions, lack of adequate food, and lack of adequate medical testing for his anaemia.

Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy is a co-founder and the coordinator of the Association of the Families of the Disappeared in Egypt, a network of individuals whose loved ones have been subjected to enforced or involuntary disappearances. Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy became an active human rights defender working on the issue of enforced disappearances after the disappearance of his son Amr Ibrahim Metwally, who went missing on 8 July 2013. The human rights defender is the attorney in the case of Giulio Regeni, an Italian national who was killed in Egypt under suspicious circumstances. Since 2014, Ibrahim Hegazy has been actively lobbying Egyptian authorities on the issue of enforced disappearances in Egypt.

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/ibrahim-metwally-hegazy-arrested

https://madamasr.com/en/2019/08/21/feature/politics/human-rights-community-in-egypt-calls-on-un-to-explicitly-cancel-anti-torture-conference-after-to-decision-to-postpone/

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

India: Civil society activists, student leaders demand release of Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad

September 17, 2019

Civil society activists, student leaders demand release of Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad

A prominent group of civil society activists and student leaders held a press conference on Monday at the Press Club of India to protest alleged discrimination and attacks against Dalits, and demanding the release of Dalit activists, mostly belonging to the Bhim Army led by Chandrashekhar Azad.

 

Speaking at the event, Senior Advocate Mehmood Paracha contended that RSS members and ‘brahminical forces’ were behind the vandalising of Ambedkar’s statue in Saharanpur on September 10. He said that when Dalits organised a protest against this and demanded an FIR against the perpetuators, the police instead booked 750 of them, including Azad’s family and Kamal Singh Walia, General Secretary of Bhim Army, in false cases. “This is an undeclared emergency,” he said.

Other panellists present at the press conference included Prashant Bhushan, Senior Advocate and human rights advocate lawyer; Pyare Lal Jatav and Ravindra Bhatti, Central Working Committee, Bhim Army; Chaudhary Harsh Kumar, National General Secretary, Jannayak Janata Party; Aishe Ghosh, JNUSU President; Sucheta De, national President, AISA; and Afreen Fatima, Elected Councillor JNUSU and former President, Women’s College AMUSU.

https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/india/civil-society-activists-student-leaders-demand-release-of-bhim-army-chief-chandrashekhar-azad

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bareilly/bhim-army-threatens-protest-if-azad-not-released-immediately/articleshow/70822873.cms

https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/bhim-army-chief-chandrashekhar-azad-arrested-after-clash-in-delhi-over-ravidas-temple-demolition/article29219420.ece

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bahujans-must-come-to-power-chandrashekhar-azad/article29300813.ece

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chandrashekhar_Azad_(social_activist)

Turkey: Report: There still 143 lawyers in Turkish prisons

September 17, 2019

In response to a parliamentary question of Mr Sezgin Tanrikulu, the Turkish Ministry of Justice announced the number of lawyers held in prison by years. According to the Ministry of Justice the number of lawyers remanded in pretrial detention by years as following: 354, 487, 169 and 143, respectively in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

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Since 2016’s coup attempt, there has been a relentless campaign of arrests which has targeted lawyers across Turkey. In 77 of Turkey’s 81 provinces, lawyers have beendetained, prosecuted and convicted due to alleged terror-linked offenses. As of today, more than 1500 lawyers have been prosecuted and 599 lawyers arrested. So far, 321 lawyers have been sentenced to 2022 years in prison on the grounds of membership of an armed terrorism organization or of spreading terrorist propaganda.

Lawyers who were released after a certain time of pretrial detention will return to prison if their pending appeals dismissed.

Report: There still 143 lawyers in Turkish prisons

Abuse of the Anti-Terrorism Provision by Turkey is steadily increasing

https://ahvalnews.com/arrested-lawyers/turkey-has-sentenced-321-lawyers-2000-years-jail-2016-report

https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/04/10/turkey-mass-prosecution-lawyers

18 Lawyers sentenced to long prison terms

https://ahvalnews.com/selahattin-demirtas/selahattin-demirtas-release-order-upon-release-order-still-jail

https://www.euronews.com/2019/09/11/lawyers-seek-kurdish-politician-demirtas-release-from-turkish-prison-source

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/turkey/turkeyex-top-judiciary-official-gets-15-year-jail-term/1586483

Arbitrary Detention of Lawyers and Defenders in China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Cameroon | Oral Statement to the 42nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council

http://www.milliyet.com.tr/gundem/bylock-kullanan-avukata-hapis-6041404 (TURKCE)

LATEST REPORT | MASS PROSECUTION OF LAWYERS IN TURKEY

India: Surat Advocate Alleges Harassment for Taking up Cases Against Police Officials

September 17, 2019

Human rights lawyer Bilal Kagzi says attempts are being made to silence him for exposing the police’s rampant abuse of the rule of law.

Surat Advocate Alleges Harassment for Taking up Cases Against Police Officials

When one speaks to Bilal Kagzi, a Surat-based human rights lawyer, it quickly becomes clear that he is an ardent practitioner of the law. In the profession for the last 12 years, Kagzi refers to several sections of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and case laws to illustrate the procedure the police is required to follow when registering an FIR and initiating investigations and arrests.

According to Kagzi, the police in the area has been abusing the rule of law rampantly, leading to sufferings of poor and marginalised. He claims that those who stand up for the victims are also being intimidated and harassed to keep them quiet. He himself has been facing intimidation for taking up cases against police officials, and attempts are being made to silence him.

At present, the advocate is representing several who have complained against officials at the Kosamba police station over the alleged misuse of power and corruption in an assault case involving a right to information activist. Kagzi has in the past represented members of marginalised communities and regularly supports victims of atrocities and those who have struggled while seeking justice under the SC/ST Atrocities Act.

In another case, he is representing a woman at the Police Complaints Authority regarding the implication of her son in a false case. He is also representing another client at the Gujarat State Human Rights Commission over illegal detention and custodial torture by the police.

The most recent incident of his false implication in a case occurred a month ago. Incidentally, he was not even present at the place and time of the incident.

On the morning of August 12, Kagzi was spending time with his family after having returned from morning namaz. It was the occasion of Eid-ul-Adha. He was home till 8:40 am, after which he went to visit his aunt who lives nearby. Later that day, he came to know about a scuffle in his colony triggered by an accident between two vehicles. It was well-known that the parties involved had a past feud, because of which the present incident escalated.

When that afternoon Kagzi contacted a policeman regarding a case he was working on, he was shocked to learn that he was going to be named in an FIR related to this incident. For the next several hours, he tried gathering information about the incident and the police action on the same. At around 9:30 pm – the FIR in the case was registered at 8:30 pm, 12 hours after the incident occurred – he visited Kosamba police station to inquire about the case but was told that there were orders not to reveal names of the accused and the charges filed.

“An FIR is a public document and various court rulings have adjudged that a copy has to be given to the accused, so I asked one of my junior lawyers to visit the police station and collect the FIR,” he said.

An FIR – being a public document – is also supposed to be uploaded online within 24 hours of filing. But this particular one was uploaded much later. As per the document, Kagzi is ‘accused no. 3,’ charged under various sections of the IPC, including attempt to murder.

This, however, is not the first time Kagzi has faced intimidation for performing his duties as a lawyer. Last year, he was threatened by a local goon with death threats, but police paid no attention to his pleas.

https://thewire.in/rights/surat-advocate-alleges-harassment-for-taking-up-cases-against-police-officials

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Egypt/UN/EU: Open Letter to EU Member States Ahead of the Universal Periodic Review of Egypt

September 17, 2019

Image result for human rights watch

Your Excellency,

The next Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Egypt’s human rights record is scheduled for 13 November 2019, under the auspices of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. We are writing to strongly urge your government to use this occasion to address the ongoing human rights crisis in Egypt.

Since the last review of Egypt’s record in 2014, human rights violations have increased sharply and the undersigned organisations and our partners have documented unprecedented levels of repression against human rights organisations and human rights defenders. The UPR is an opportunity for States to contribute to reversing these trends and promoting respect for human rights in Egypt.

We urge your government to take part in the UPR process and to make concrete recommendations to the Egyptian authorities to urgently address the following issues:

Immediately and unconditionally release all human rights defenders, civil society activists and all those detained or imprisoned solely for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association, including lawyers, journalists, labour rights activists, minority rights activists, and LGBTQI activists. Put a stop to excessive police probation measures and the use of prolonged pre-trial detention to punish dissenters, close Case 173/2011 against Egyptian NGOs and lift arbitrary travel bans on human rights defenders.

https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/09/17/open-letter-eu-member-states-ahead-universal-periodic-review-egypt

https://www.omct.org/monitoring-protection-mechanisms/statements/egypt/2019/09/d25507/

https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/09/17/un-address-egypts-assault-rights