Daily Archives: 09/10/2019

Pakistan: 10th DAY OF THE ENDANGERED LAWYER 2020 (24-01-2020) WITH THE FOCUS ON PAKISTAN: A struggle to protect Pakistani lawyers, especially against Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism — BASIC REPORT

October 9, 2019

Background

Over the past several years lawyers in Pakistan have been subjected to acts of mass terrorism, murder, attempted murder, assaults, (death) threats, contempt proceedings, harassment and intimidation in the execution of their professional duties.  They have also been arrested, detained or tortured, and in some cases the family members of the murdered lawyer have also been murdered.  Some lawyers have been threatened with disbarment or had their homes raided by the police.  Sometimes Christian lawyers or members of minority sects have been assaulted or threatened with death.  The most notorious attack on Pakistani lawyers occurred on August 8, 2016 when terrorists attacked the Government Hospital of Quetta with a suicide bombing and shooting which resulted in the death of 56 lawyers.  Since there has been an alarming increase in the number of lawyers murdered, with nine reported over the past year.  More recently Saif-ul-Malook received serious death threats for representing Asia Bibi, who had been sentenced to death for blasphemy, as a result of which he was forced to flee temporarily to the Netherlands.

The perpetrators of these attacks have been terrorists, religious zealots, the police and unreported sources. There have also been reports that pro-government militias (which still exist today) have been behind some of the murders, and in some cases lawyers have been killed because they are Shia. In response to these repeated attacks, Pakistani lawyers frequently strike, demonstrate, protest and hold boycotts.

The life of an Advocate is at risk the moment he or she takes up a case. It does not matter if it is the opposing party or the very party that the lawyer is representing.

By its constitution of 1956, the official name of Pakistan is the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. More than 96% of Pakistan’s 197 million citizens (2017) are Muslims, and Islam is the state religion, the overwhelming majority of whom are Sunni Muslims.  Pakistan  has also an important minority of Shi’ite Muslims as well as a number of other minority religions, including Christianity, whose followers are subjected to discrimination, violence and death, especially the misuse of blasphemy laws.  Among countries with a Muslim majority, Pakistan has the strictest anti-blasphemy laws.  The Pakistan Penal Code punishes blasphemy (Urdu: قانون توہین رسالت‎) against any recognized religion, providing penalties ranging from a fine to death.  From 1967 to 2014, over 1,300 people were accused of blasphemy, with Muslims constituting most of those accused.  Between 1987 to 2017 at least 1,500 people were charged with blasphemy and at least 75 people involved in accusations of blasphemy were killed in Pakistan according to the Center for Social Justice.

Many people accused of blasphemy have been murdered before their trials were concluded, and prominent figures who opposed the blasphemy law have been assassinated.  In fact since 1990, 62 people have been murdered following blasphemy allegations.  According to one religious minority source, an accusation of blasphemy commonly exposes the accused, police, lawyers, and judges to harassment, threats, attacks and rioting.

Violence and the threat of violence are omnipresent in Pakistan, and according to the Ministry of Interior terrorism poses a significant threat to the people of Pakistan. The current wave of terrorism is believed to have started in 2000 and peaked during 2009.  According to a 2018 report by Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, 23,372 Pakistani civilians and 8,832 Pakistani security personnel had been killed in the war on terrorism.  Pakistan is said to be a safe haven for a number of terrorist groups, including Al-Qaeda, it has been accused of giving aid to the Taliban and hosting terrorist camps, and therefore it is responsible for state-sponsored or state-condoned terrorism.

Pakistani law is based upon the legal system of British India, thus ultimately on the Common Law of England and Wales.  There are six Bar Councils in Pakistan which came into being as a result of enactment of Legal Practitioners and Bar Councils Act 1973. These Bar Councils regulate legal professionals across provincial, territorial and national levels.  They include the Bar Councils of: Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, Islamabad, Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, as well as the Pakistan Bar Council, the national Bar association.

The cases mentioned in this report have been documented by Pakistani lawyers, the International Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL), Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), Zykyria Muiloo and the European Bar Human Rights Institute (IDHAE).

DOTEL2020Pakistan.BasicDocumentDraft.TS-SR.25.9.2019

https://defendlawyers.wordpress.com/2019/09/26/pakistan-day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-global-bodies-worry-over-pakistani-lawyers-safety/

https://concernedscientists.org/2019/10/pakistan-academic-still-incarcerated-for-blasphemy-for-the-past-five-years/

https://www.oneindia.com/india/no-escaping-pakistan-has-failed-to-curb-terror-funding-may-remain-in-greylist-2960748.html

DAY OF THE ENDANGERED LAWYER – 24 January 2020 – PAKISTAN

https://defendlawyers.wordpress.com/2019/06/22/pakistan-day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-january-24-2020-pakistan/

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http://www.asianews.it/notizie-it/Asia-Bibi-parla-per-la-prima-volta:-Giustizia-per-le-vittime-innocenti-di-blasfemia-47895.html (ITALIANO)

#DayoftheEndangeredLawyer

Day of the Endangered Lawyer

Sri Lanka: TGTE Launches Petition Calling for UN Response to Recent Attack on Tamil Lawyers in Sri Lanka

October 9, 2019

In light of the police-facilitated mob violence perpetrated with impunity against Tamil lawyers outside the Mullaitivu Magistrate court in North-East Sri Lanka on Monday, September 23, 2019, as well as the state-sanctioned and police-facilitated open public defiance of a court injunction that precipitated the assault, Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE)has launched a petition calling on the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Mr. Diego García-Sayán, to secure a country visit to Sri Lanka without delay in order to investigate, document and report on the historic and ongoing gross violations of the independence of Tamil judges and security of Tamil lawyers, in the island of Sri Lanka.

“The events of September 23rd were not an isolated incident but rather only the most recent episode in Sri Lanka’s long history of blatant disregard for the rule of law, the separation of powers, and human rights when it serves the Buddhist Sinhalese ethnocratic state agenda,” said TGTE Prime Minister Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran. “These events have provoked moral anger among lawyers and human rights activists worldwide.”

“We cannot let these actions go unanswered. An attack on an Eelam Tamil lawyer is a threat to all Eelam Tamil lawyers to perform their legal obligations. The international community, especially institutions that consider themselves human rights guardians, cannot afford to turn a blind eye in this matter. Silence in the wake of events like these is what allows impunity to reign.”, Mr. Rudrakumaran added.

The specific court injunction defied was one prohibiting the administration of Buddhist funeral rites on the grounds of a Hindu temple in Mullaitivu, part of the traditional Tamil Homeland. The Sri Lankan police sent to the area did not take any action to prevent the criminally-intended group of Buddhist adherents from successfully violating the injunction. Instead, Sri Lankan police escorted the group as it carried out the prohibited funeral rites and also barred Tamils from entering the area. Then, when members of the group harassed and physically attacked the Tamil lawyers present who had worked to secure the injunction and who attempted to question why the cremation was proceeding despite the legal order, the police merely watched. It is elucidating that, as reported in the Tamil Guardian, one monk “taunted the Tamil objectors by stating that Buddhist monks held supremacy in Sri Lanka.”

https://www.einnews.com/pr_news/498685739/tgte-launches-petition-calling-for-un-response-to-recent-attack-on-tamil-lawyers-in-sri-lanka

https://www.tamilguardian.com/content/lawyers-continue-strike-across-north-east-after-assaults-buddhist-monks

http://newsonair.nic.in/Main-News-Details.aspx?id=371997

Turkey: 61 arrested in new wave of operations against covert FETÖ members

October 9, 2019

In nationwide operations yesterday, security forces detained 61 people, from civilians to former judges, accused of affiliation with FETÖ, the terrorist group behind the 2016 coup attempt

FETÖ leader Fetullah Gülen speaks to reporters in his compound in Pennsylvania, United States, on July 17, 2016, one day after the coup attempt by FETÖ. The terrorist group repeatedly tried to topple the government in 2013 and 2016.

A new wave of operations against the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) yesterday saw the arrest of 61 suspects across the country. The operations that come three years after the terrorist group tried to seize power, target secret members of the group, from former judges and lawyers to civilians.

Prosecutors in the capital Ankara ordered the arrest of 29 suspects accused of involvement in fraud in exams for administrative judges in 2013. According to prosecutors, the suspects were implicated in a scheme to steal questions and answers for exams to help the terrorist group plant its members in the Turkish judiciary. Fourteen suspects were arrested in operations in Ankara and 20 other cities. Operations were underway to capture the other suspects.

The suspects, who are accused of fraud in official documents and for membership of a terrorist group, include former judges, prospective judges and lawyers. The Chief Prosecutor’s Office in Ankara says FETÖ members had access to questions and answers for the exam beforehand and delivered them to their members staying in houses designated for judges and prosecutors. Those “study houses” were places where FETÖ infiltrators memorized the answers to questions and managed to pass the exam, a gateway for infiltration into the judiciary. FETÖ is known for its widespread infiltration into the judiciary, law enforcement, military and bureaucracy.

https://www.dailysabah.com/investigations/2019/10/09/61-arrested-in-new-wave-of-operations-against-covert-feto-members

https://www.urdupoint.com/en/world/turkey-orders-arrest-of-51-people-over-suspec-731112.html

https://www.coe.int/en/web/ankara/-/launching-conference-for-the-new-eu-coe-joint-project-on

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2016%E2%80%93present_purges_in_Turkey

Portugal/ECHR: Infringement of the freedom of expression of two lawyers found liable for criticising two judges while acting in their capacity as representatives

October 8, 2019

In its Committee judgment in the case of L.P. and Carvalho v. Portugal (applications nos. 24845/13 and 49103/15) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:
a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights
The case concerned findings of liability against two lawyers for defamation (L.P.) and for attacking a person’s honour (Mr Carvalho) in respect of two judges, on account of documents drawn up by the lawyers in their capacity as representatives.
The Court found, in particular, that both applicants had been acting in the performance of their professional duties as lawyers. It further considered that the penalties had been apt to have a chilling effect on the profession of lawyer as a whole, especially with regard to lawyers’ defence of their clients’ interests. Consequently, the reasons given by the domestic courts to justify finding the applicants liable had been neither relevant nor sufficient and had not corresponded to a pressing social need. The interference had thus been disproportionate and had not been necessary in a democratic society.

https://hudoc.echr.coe.int/fre-press#%22itemid%22:%5B%22003-6528113-8623459%22%5D

https://www.lemondedudroit.fr/professions/238-avocat/66295-cedh-violation-de-la-libert%C3%A9-d-expression-de-deux-avocats.html (FRANCAIS)

China: China Detains Brother of Top Law Professor Over ‘Terrorist’ Video

October 7, 2019

He Weitong, a Chinese legal researcher being held under criminal detention in Beijing on suspicion of "disseminating extremist, terrorist content," in undated photo.

Authorities in the Chinese capital have detained the brother of a prominent legal scholar after he posted an Islamic State video to social media in protest at a recent visit to Beijing by the Taliban.

He Weitong, younger brother of Peking University law professor He Weifang, is being held under criminal detention in Beijing on suspicion of “disseminating extremist, terrorist content,” his friends said.

He was detained after posting a 10-second clip of Islamic State militants executing unarmed civilians on Sept. 12, a friend who gave only his surname Zhang told RFA.

“He was taken into criminal detention on Sept. 30,” Zhang said. “They are holding him on suspicion of disseminating terrorism and possessing terrorist content.”

He Weifang only commented briefly when contacted by RFA on Monday.

“There are a lot of media reports saying, wrongly, that he was detained because of his association with me, but that’s not what’s happening at all,” he said, adding that the police had likely “made a mistake.”

“I didn’t see anything in his [online] comments that would justify treating him in this way,” he said, adding that his own WeChat had been permanently shut down by the authorities ahead of the 70th anniversary National Day celebrations on Oct. 1.

Zhang said He Weitong, who works in legal publishing, is very familiar with Chinese law, and couldn’t be further from supporting terrorism.

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/video-terrorist-10072019154204.html

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