Daily Archives: 19/10/2019

Iran: 14 Women Activists to Be Prosecuted for Demanding Supreme Leader’s Resignation

October 18, 2019

The prosecution of 14 women who signed a statement demanding the resignation of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei will begin on October 21, 2019, at Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court.

They have been charged with “propaganda against the state” and “assembly and collusion against national security,” Mohammad Hossein Aghasi, an attorney representing three of the defendants, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).

The defendants are Shahla Entesari (labor women’s rights activist), Nosrat Beheshti (retired teacher and women’s rights activist), Fereshteh Tasvibi (women’s rights activist), Parva Pachideh (author, poet and women’s rights activist), Giti Pourfazel (attorney and central committee member of the secular National Front party), Zahra Jamali (women’s rights activist), Shahla Jahanbin (women’s rights activist), Fatemeh Sepehri (women’s rights activist), Maryam Soleimani (women’s rights activist), Sousan Taherkhani (women’s rights activist), Farangis Mazloom  (mother of prisoner of conscience Soheil Arabi), Narges Mansouri (labor and women’s rights activist), Ezzar Javadi Hessar (women’s rights activist), and Kimia Norouzi (women’s rights activist).

Most of the activists are being held in the Women’s Ward of Evin Prison in Tehran. At least one, Fatemeh Sepehri, is in Vakilabad Prison in the city fo Mashhad, her son, Masoud Moin, told CHRI on October 17.

Their statement, published on August 9, 2019, said in part: “We rise against this anti-woman regime that has wiped out our human values and demand a complete passage from the Islamic Republic and drafting of a new Constitution for the establishment of a state in which women’s dignity, identity and equal rights are recognized in all areas.”

14 Women Activists to Be Prosecuted for Demanding Supreme Leader’s Resignation

Retired human rights lawyer Giti Pourfazel was arrested


Zahra Jamali and Giti Pourfazel latest female detainees in Iran



India/Jammu & Kashmir: HC to hear Mian Qayoom petition on Oct 31

October 19, 2019

A petition challenging detention of Bar President Mian Abdul Qayoom came up for hearing Friday.
Qayoom was taken into custody after abrogation of article 35 A and 370 of the constitution of India. He was detained under public safety act (PSA) and shifted to Agra Jail.
After hearing the arguments from both side the Court listed the matter for the next hearing on October 31.



Jammu & Kashmir / India: Mobilisation of lawyers against repression in the Kashmir region

Protesting sister, daughter of Farooq Abdullah arrested in Srinagar

J&K Judiciary: A Court under Siege



Bar Association on strike, petitioners wear black gown to secure justice


India: UP: Lawyer shot in Meerut, probe on, say police

October 19, 2019

Earlier in the day, family members of the lawyer staged a protest at Anand Hospital on Garh Road where Mukesh Sharma was taken and declared dead on arrival by doctors.

A 58-YEAR-OLD lawyer, who was a member of the Meerut Bar Association, was shot dead by unidentified people in Kamalpura villlage on Friday, police said.

Police identified the deceased as Mukesh Sharma. While the motive behind the murder is yet to be ascertained, police suspect the crime may be a fallout of personal enmity.

“Around 10.40 pm on Friday, Mukesh Sharma was returning home when unidentified people intercepted him barely 500 metres from his residence in Kamalpura village and fired three bullets, leading to his death on the spot. Four police teams have been formed to probe this case and we are hopeful of arresting the killers soon,” Hari Mohan Singh, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Civil Lines, told The Indian Express.

Mange Ram, chairman of the Meerut Bar Association, said, “We have called an emergency meeting of the Bar Association on Saturday and we also strongly condemn the lethal attack on the lawyer on Friday night.We are set to go on an indefinite strike from Monday if the police fail to arrest the culprits.”

UP: Lawyer shot in Meerut, probe on, say police




https://www.jagran.com/uttar-pradesh/meerut-city-police-arrested-five-culprits-in-murder-of-advocate-mukesh-sharma-19681639.html (HINDI)

https://www.jagran.com/uttar-pradesh/meerut-city-lawyer-shot-dead-near-his-home-in-meerut-19681343.html (HINDI)

https://navbharattimes.indiatimes.com/state/uttar-pradesh/meerut/lawyers-protest-at-ssp-office-with-demand-of-murder-of-fellow-lawyer/articleshow/71689194.cms (HINDI)

USA: Chevron Moves to Collect $3.4 Million from Lawyer Steven Donziger in Florida

October 18, 2019

Chevron Corp. and suspended New York attorney Steven Donziger have been foes since the 1990s, when Donziger sued on behalf of indigenous and farmer communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest.

International oil giant Chevron Corp. has moved to register a $3.4 million attorney-fee judgment against suspended New York attorney Steven Donziger in Florida, where he’s originally from, marking the latest chapter of a decadeslong saga of hostility between the two litigants.

A federal judge in New York awarded the fees in July against Donziger and his former law firms, Donziger Associates and The Law Office of Steven R. Donziger, after holding Donziger in contempt of court for blocking Chevron’s attempts to collect a money judgment from him.

Chevron and Donziger have been foes since the 1990s, when Donziger sued on behalf of indigenous and farmer communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest. The plaintiffs alleged they suffered high cancer rates and birth defects because of deliberate oil and waste-water dumping by Chevron’s predecessor Texaco Inc.

Chevron argued that a 1998 agreement it signed with Ecuador had absolved it of further liability. But in 2011, the Ecuador Supreme Court ruled in the plaintiffs’ favor, awarding $9.5 billion in compensation.

But Chevron responded with a racketeering suit against Donziger, seeking to block the judgment. And it was successful as U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in the Southern District of New York found in 2014 that the Ecuador judgment had been obtained through fraud, bribery and corruption from the plaintiffs’ legal team. An international tribunal in The Hague also sided with Chevron.

Donziger has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, claiming the allegations against him were based on fraudulent testimony from a disgraced former Ecuadorian judge whom he alleges was bribed by Chevron.

He has appealed the $3.4 million attorney-fee judgment, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has yet to rule.

Donziger was suspended over the ruling in New York and the District of Columbia in 2018 and could lose his license. At a September disbarment hearing in New York, Donziger claimed Kaplan refused to consider evidence disproving the claims against him. The hearing will continue at the end of October, after which a referee will make a recommendation to the court.

Chevron has retained Luis Suarez of Boies Schiller Flexner’s Miami office. He deferred comment to Chevron spokesperson Sean Comey, who said the company is seeking to hold Donziger accountable for violating the New York ruling, which prohibits him from profiting from the Ecuadorian judgment.

“A federal court in New York has awarded Chevron Corp. multimillion-dollar money judgments against Donziger. This judgment enforcement action in Florida, where Donziger has some assets, is part of the process to hold Donziger responsible for his wrongdoing,” Comey said. “Chevron will continue to work to hold the perpetrators of this fraud accountable for their actions.”






View at Medium.com



Australia/Timor Leste: Australia urged to return $5bn to Timor-Leste and launch royal commission

October 18, 2019

Senate inquiry told Australia should also drop prosecution of Witness K and Bernard Collaery

Australia’s negotiations with Timor-Leste should be the subject of a royal commission, and the government should return $5bn unfairly taken from the impoverished nation, a parliamentary inquiry has been told.

It should also drop the prosecution of Witness K and Bernard Collaery, who revealed the now infamous bugging of Timorese delegates during negotiations on what became the CMATS treaty.

A Senate standing committee is examining decisions made by Australia in 2002, amid fractious maritime border negotiations with Timor-Leste, to withdraw from the jurisdictions of the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Among the seven published submissions – none of which come from the Australian government – high profile Timorese organisations, allies and academics, supported the return, and called on Australia to be held accountable for its conduct.

Submissions also called for the government to drop the prosecutions of Witness K and Bernard Collaery.

Bracks and academic Clinton Fernandes noted it occurred around the time that Jemaah Islamiyah terrorists bombed Australia’s embassy in Jakarta.

“Surely our Asis resources should have been targeting the ‘war on terror’, and not facilitating Australia’s economic exploitation of a friendly, desperately poor and recently traumatised neighbour?” Bracks said.

Timor-Leste later sought to have the CMATS treaty terminated by the Hague after the bugging operation was revealed in 2013, but Witness K was prevented by Australia from attending the hearing to give evidence, and both he and Collaery have faced charges in extraordinarily controversial circumstances.

Bracks said he had “no doubt” that Xanana Gusmao would not have signed the treaty had he known Witness K and Collaery would be charged soon after.

Submissions to the inquiry have closed, although requests for an extension can be made. A report is expected on 28 November.














https://www.change.org/p/christian-porter-drop-the-charges-against-bernard-collaery-witness-k (SIGN THE PETITION!)

Pakistan/Day of the Endangered Lawyer: Junaid Hafeez: Why is Pakistani scholar’s blasphemy case receiving scant attention?

October 7, 2019

Human rights organizations are demanding the release of a 33-year-old university lecturer who has been in solitary confinement since 2014. His family told DW the blasphemy allegations were fabricated by Islamists.

Junaid Hafeez, a Pakistan lecturer in jail on blasphemy charges

Amnesty International last week demanded that Pakistani authorities immediately and unconditionally release Junaid Hafeez, a 33-year-old lecturer at the Bahauddin Zakariya University in the eastern city of Multan.

In 2013, Hafeez was charged in a blasphemy case over a Facebook page. The young lecturer has been held in solitary confinement since June 2014. If convicted, he faces the death penalty under Pakistan’s harsh blasphemy laws.

The US government has also urged Pakistani authorities to free Hafeez, with Vice President Mike Pence explicitly mentioning the lecturer’s ordeal in a July statement.

Read more: Hindus fear for their lives after Pakistan blasphemy riots

Hafeez’s ordeal

In 2010, Hafeez, a resident of Rajanpur town in Punjab province, returned to Pakistan to teach English literature at the Bahauddin Zakariya University after finishing his studies in the US. At the time of his arrest, he was already a Fulbright scholar and was appreciated for his academic work.

Hafeez’s father told DW that his son was a victim of university politics, as he was disliked by an Islamist student organization because of his liberal views.

“In 2013, the university advertised a post for a lecturer. The members of the Islamist Jamiat-e-Talaba organization told him to not apply for the job as they wanted their own people to get it,” said Hafeez-ul Naseer.

“The group launched a malicious campaign against my son, distributing pamphlets and accusing him of blasphemy. They said he was an American agent,” Naseer said.

“My son, who came back from the US to serve his country, was later arrested by police on blasphemy charges,” he added.

The ordeal of Hafeez’s family continued even after his arrest. No lawyer in Multan city wanted to take up his case.

Blasphemy is a sensitive topic in Pakistan, where 97% of its 180 million inhabitants are Muslim. Rights activists have demanded reforms of controversial blasphemy laws, which were introduced by the Islamic military dictator General Zia-ul-Haq in the 1980s. Activists say the laws have little to do with blasphemy and are often used to settle petty disputes and personal vendettas.

According to rights groups, around 1,549 blasphemy cases have been registered in Pakistan between 1987 and 2017. More than 75 people have been killed extra-judicially on blasphemy allegations. Some of them were even targeted after being acquitted in blasphemy cases by courts.

“Finally, Rashid Rehman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan took up my son’s case, but he was gunned down on May 7, 2014 in his office,” Naseer said.

Hafeez has been languishing in jail ever since. His father said the family has been living under constant fear as they could also be targeted by extremists.



















https://www.amnesty.org/fr/latest/news/2019/09/pakistan-authorities-immediately-unconditionally-release-junaid-hafeez/ (FRANCAIS)

Day of the Endangered Lawyer

India: CBI moves Supreme Court challenging Bombay HC order restraining coercive action against Lawyers Collective

October 18, 2019

CBI Moves SC Against Bombay HC

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has moved the Supreme Court challenging the Bombay High Court’s order restraining the investigation agency from taking any coercive action against the NGO Lawyers Collective, run by Senior Advocates Anand Grover and Indira Jaising.

Speaking to Bar & Bench, the Advocate on Record for Jaising, who is on caveat, has confirmed that a Special Leave Petition was filed yesterday against the Bombay High Court’s protective order passed in July this year.

On July 25, a Division Bench of the High Court had granted interim relief to the NGO and its members after a plea was moved to quash the FIR lodged by the CBI alleging a violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010 and offences under IPC.

Lawyers Collective, Grover and others are booked for suspected offences of criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, cheating, making of false statement in the declaration under the FCRA 2010, and criminal misconduct under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. In addition to invoking the provisions of the Indian Penal Code, the CBI has charged them under Sections 33, 35, 37, and 39 of the FCRA 2010 and Section 13(2) with Section 13(1)(d) of the PC Act.

CBI moves Supreme Court challenging Bombay HC order restraining coercive action against Lawyers Collective





Those who shielded the defenceless are now being targeted by powers-that-be