Monthly Archives: November 2020

Tanzania: U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention Issues Decision in Case of Detained Tanzanian Human Rights Lawyer, Tito Magoti

25/11/20

In September 2020, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) issued a decision in the case of detained Tanzanian human rights lawyer, Tito Magoti. The UNWGAD held that the fair trial violations in Mr. Magoti’s case were of such gravity to give his pre-trial detention an arbitrary character. The UNWGAD further held that Tanzania is in violation of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The UNWGAD decision calls for the immediate release of Mr. Magoti and that he should be compensated. The ABA Justice Defenders Program provided pro bono technical legal assistance to the Legal Human Rights Center (LHRC) to submit the petition on behalf of Magoti who at the time of his arrest, worked as a Program Officer for Mass Education at LHRC.

[…]

https://www.americanbar.org/groups/human_rights/reports/tanzania–u-n-working-group-on-arbitrary-detention-issues-decisi/

https://www.americanbar.org/groups/human_rights/reports/tanzania–preliminary-analysis-of-the-criminal-case-against-tito/

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Iran: Documentary on life of persecuted Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh

30/11/20

As part of the launch of a new film on Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) and the Law Society of England and Wales will hold a panel discussion next Friday (4 December).

Nasrin Sotoudeh is renowned worldwide for her work as a lawyer in Iran. She has represented women’s rights defenders, religious minorities, and minors sentenced to the death penalty.

Iranian authorities have tried to prevent Nasrin Sotoudeh from carrying out her professional duties as a lawyer. She has had her licence to practice revoked, and has been arrested and imprisoned on multiple occasions.

In 2018, Nasrin Sotoudeh was sentenced to 33 years imprisonment and 148 lashes, which caused an international outcry.

[…]

https://www.lawsociety.ie/gazette/top-stories/documentary-examines-life-of-persecuted-iranian-lawyer-nasrin-sotoudeh/

https://www.facebook.com/events/3488061067972494

https://2020.rightlivelihoodaward.org/

JOIN #FREENASRIN

http://www.avocatparis.org/ma-formation/agenda-des-evenements/seminaire-en-ligne-sur-le-film-nasrin-sotoudeh (FRANCAIS)

(ITALIANO)

http://www.legalnews24.gr/2020/11/38-148-nasrin-sotoudeh.html (GREEK)

Image may contain: 6 people, text that says "A night out of the ordinary for the extraordinary The 2020 Laureates Gina Dirawi Sarah Klang/ Amanda Bergman/ The Mamas Join us live! 3 December 2020"
nasrinsotoudeh hashtag on Twitter
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Tanzania/USA: American Bar Association Statement of Concern on Permanent Disbarment of Tanzanian Lawyer, Fatma Karume

25/11/20

The ABA is deeply concerned with the decision of the Advocates Disciplinary Committee to permanently disbar Ms. Fatma Karume from practicing law in Tanzania and urges the Committee to immediately reconsider its decision.

The American Bar Association (ABA) is deeply concerned with the decision of the Advocates Disciplinary Committee in Tanzania, delivered on September 23, 2020, to permanently disbar Ms. Fatma Karume from practicing law in Tanzania. The decision follows Ms. Karume’s suspension by the High Court in September 2019, based on allegations of unprofessionalism and misconduct arising from language she used in a constitutional case challenging President Magufuli’s appointment of Professor Adelardus Kilangi as the Attorney General of Tanzania. Reviewing the decision of the Advocates Disciplinary Committee, the ABA considers Ms. Karume’s disbarment to be a disproportionate penalty under international law norms. Only in the most serious of cases of misconduct must a lawyer be disbarred.

The United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers 1  are clear that lawyers must be able to perform their duties without intimidation or harassment and should not suffer retaliation for action taken in accordance with their professional duties (Art. 16). The U.N Basic Principles (Art. 23) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Art. 19), which Tanzania ratified in 1976, 2 further affirm that lawyers, like other citizens, have the right to freedom of expression. The U.N Basic Principles specifically note that lawyers have “the right to take part in public discussion of matters concerning the law, the administration of justice and the promotion and protection of human rights” (Art. 23).

[…]

https://www.americanbar.org/groups/human_rights/reports/tanzania–american-bar-association-statement-of-concern-on-perma/

https://allafrica.com/stories/202009240092.html

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Lebanon: L’agression d’un avocat par des agents des FSI suscite un vaste tollé

27/11/20

L’agression d’un avocat par des agents des FSI suscite un vaste tollé

Alors qu’un avocat stagiaire, Éphrem Halabi, roulait mercredi dans le quartier de Corniche Mazraa, avec à bord de son véhicule une jeune avocate stagiaire, il s’arrête à un barrage des FSI. Les agents lui demandent ses papiers, ayant noté qu’il avait enfreint le règlement de la circulation alternée. S’ensuit alors une âpre discussion autour du point de savoir s’il a ou non le droit de circuler avec un numéro impair, qui était inapproprié ce jour-là. Les versions de l’avocat et des agents de sécurité diffèrent pour la suite. Le premier affirme que les agents l’ont injurié et insulté le bâtonnier Melhem Khalaf, tandis que les policiers affirment que c’est lui qui s’en est pris à eux. Il reste que le conducteur a été descendu de force de sa voiture et plaqué à terre. Une vidéo le montre à plat ventre sous le genou d’un homme en treillis, rappelant la scène devenue virale dans laquelle un policier de Minneapolis (États-Unis) avait maintenu son genou sur le cou d’un Américain noir, George Floyd, jusqu’à l’étouffer. Dans la vidéo tournée à Corniche Mazraa, on entend quelqu’un s’exclamer : « Il est en train de l’étouffer. Il va le tuer ! » Penchés sur l’homme, qui essayait en vain de dégager sa tête, de nombreux policiers s’employaient à lui passer les menottes derrière le dos.

« Vous défigurez votre image ! »

Alerté par l’incident, le bâtonnier Khalaf s’est rendu immédiatement sur le lieu de l’agression. Dans une autre vidéo, on le voit fulminer face aux auteurs des faits : « Je ne garderai pas les bras croisés face à quiconque passe des menottes à un avocat. Les menottes sont pour les voyous et pour ceux qui tirent. Vous faites les matamores face à un avocat ? (…) Vous défigurez votre image ! » Des informations rapportent que le bâtonnier de Beyrouth a préparé un dossier pour porter plainte.

Les violences policières ont été également fustigées par plusieurs responsables et partis politiques. Le président de la commission parlementaire des Droits de l’homme, Michel Moussa, a estimé dans un communiqué, que « quelles que soient les circonstances de l’infraction, celle-ci doit être traitée conformément à la loi, et loin de la violence ». « Les éléments sécuritaires chargés d’appliquer les lois doivent les respecter. Nous demandons à leurs supérieurs hiérarchiques de mener une enquête transparente et de sanctionner les coupables », a-t-il réclamé.

[…]

https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1242622/lagression-dun-avocat-par-des-agents-des-fsi-suscite-un-vaste-tolle.html

https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1242629/les-fsi-affirment-video-a-lappui-que-lavocat-plaque-au-sol-a-porte-en-premier-un-coup-a-un-policier.html

(ENGLISH)

Turkey: Murdered Human Rights lawyer Tahir Elçi remembered five years on

28/11/20

Tahir Elçi

Lawyers from the Diyarbakır Bar Association gathered on Saturday to mark the five-year anniversary of the death of their former chairman Tahir Elçi, marching to the spot where he was killed.

Alongside Elçi’s colleagues and widow Türkan Elçi were Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Co-chair Mithat Sancar, Democratic Society Congress (DTK) Co-chair Berdan Öztürk, Democratic Regions Party (DBP) Co-chair Saliha Aydeniz, as well as representatives from human rights organisations, workers’ unions, and chambers of medicine and engineering from across the region.

“We have been searching for the killers of Tahir Elçi for five years as they are protected under an armour of impunity,” current Diyarbakır Bar Association Chairman Cihan Aydın said in his speech at the historic Four Pillared Minaret in Diyarbakır’s Sur district, as reported by Mezopotamya Agency.

The first hearing of Elçi’s killing “has shown that the policy of impunity present during the investigation has reflected in the court as well,” Aydın continued. “The Diyarbakır Bar Association and our colleagues in support and solidarity will fight against this effort to veil the truth.”

[…]

https://ahvalnews.com/tahir-elci/murdered-human-rights-lawyer-tahir-elci-remembered-five-years

https://anfenglish.com/features/tahir-elci-a-life-dedicated-to-struggle-for-justice-48285

https://www.dw.com/tr/tahir-el%C3%A7i-cinayetinde-cevaps%C4%B1z-sorular/a-55757360 (TURKCE)

https://www.gazeteduvar.com.tr/tahir-elci-hep-adalet-aradi-simdi-biz-tahir-elci-icin-adalet-ariyoruz-haber-1505778

https://anfdeutsch.com/aktuelles/gedenken-an-tahir-elci-dein-traum-ist-unser-traum-23036

https://bianet.org/bianet/insan-haklari/235179-5-yildir-sark-cephesinde-degisen-bir-sey-yok

http://www.haberdar.com/gundem/tahir-elci-cinayetinde-cevapsiz-sorular-h191312.html

https://tr.euronews.com/2020/11/28/tahir-elci-olumunun-5-y-l-donumunde-an-l-rken-cinayetle-ilgili-yan-t-bekleyen-sorular-ne

(NEDERLANDS)
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The Philippines: When numbness sets in

27/11/20

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Amid a pandemic that has upended our lives, including a sudden loss of jobs and livelihoods, once-in-a-century typhoons, terrible floods, and the onset of political turbulence, the Filipino people are hard put to pay attention to yet another tragedy.

Does that explain the seeming public indifference to a series of killings of journalists, lawyers, judges, and a police officer over a period of a few weeks or so? Or could this silence be blamed instead on the numbness that has set in after so many other killings that have turned the streets of many of our communities into killing fields?

Whatever the explanation, justice and history demand a listing of the latest victims of violence in the country, be it state-sponsored or not.

The recent killings started this month with the fatal shooting of Judge Maria Teresa Abadilla in her own chambers last Nov. 11. Then on Nov. 14, journalist Ronnie Villamor was shot dead by soldiers in Masbate.

Three days later, on Nov. 17, the vehicle of lawyer Eric Jay Magcamit, 35, was flagged down while he was on his way from Puerto Princesa to Quezon town in Palawan, and when Magcamit stepped out, he was shot on the spot. On Nov. 21, former Jolo, Sulu, police chief Lt. Col. Walter Annayo was gunned down in Sultan Mastura, Maguindanao. Then on Nov. 23, lawyer Joey Luis Wee, 51, was targeted as he walked from his car to his office in Cebu City. Police said the shooters fled the scene on board a motorcycle.

Associations of journalists and lawyers have responded quickly in outrage and concern. 

[…]

https://www.cnn.ph/news/2020/11/26/suspects-palawan-lawyer-slay-arrested-charged.html

https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2020/11/26/2059587/ibp-welcomes-arrest-suspect-palawan-lawyer-killing

https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/regions/765712/ibp-palawan-lawyer-slay-suspects-arrested-charged/story/

Iran: ICHR; Government Of Iran Must Free Amirsalar Davoodi Immediately

28/11/20

ICHR strongly condemns the government of Iran for unlawfully imprisoning Amirsalar Davoodi under false charges, and he must be  release immediately and unconditionally.

Amirsalar Davoodi is one of the victims of the outrageous crackdown on human rights lawyers and defenders by the Islamic Republic government authorities in recent years, whom is serving his second year of unjust sentences under inhuman circumstances.

He was arrested on 20 November 2018 and charged with crimes against national security. With no access to his lawyer, no family visitation, and no access to a medical professional since his arrest.

The use of pressure, threats, torture, and fabrications against human rights lawyers and activists by the Islamic Republic are systematic tactics to increase suppression on the people of Iran to grow their criminal activities and their widespread terrorism worldwide.

[…]

https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/mde13/0636/2019/en/

http://www.avocatparis.org/le-barreau-de-paris-demande-nouveau-la-liberation-de-nos-confreres-iraniens-injustement-emprisonnes (FRANCAIS)

http://as-human-lu.blogspot.com/2020/11/blog-post_9.html

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Sri Lanka: Deliver justice, truth and reparation to families of the disappeared

27/11/20

https://images.laprovence.com/media/2019/06/05/1559712274_amnesty_international_2008_logo.svg_.png?twic=v1/dpr=2/focus=0x0/cover=740x416

Following the announcement of the release of a list of complaints and information received by the Office on Missing Persons regarding people who were disappeared during Sri Lanka’s internal conflicts, the country’s authorities must now deliver justice, truth and reparation to the families, Amnesty International said today.

On 26 November 2020, the Office on Missing Persons (OMP) released a list of “missing persons” to its offices. The list includes those who are unaccounted for either in connection with the conflict in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, due to civil or political unrest,  have been subject to enforced disappearance, or personnel of the armed forces, or police who have been identified as Missing In Action. The OMP has a mandate to collate data related to “missing persons” obtained by various past processes and to receive any new complaints.

[…]

Threats, harassment and intimidation

In their search for justice, truth and reparation, families of the disappeared and lawyers acting on their behalf continue to face threats and harassment from the authorities and from non-state actors.

Human rights lawyer Kumaravadivel Guruparan was forced from his position as a senior lecturer and head of the University of Jaffna’s Law Department after pressure was brought to bear on the University authorities by the Sri Lankan military. The Adalaylam Centre for Policy Research, a human rights organization founded by Gurupuran, has been subject to multiple visits from officials inquiring about its staff and funding. Guruparan has been representing the families of 24 Tamil youths who have not been seen or heard from since they were taken into military custody in 1996.

Achala Senevirathna, a lawyer, who is appearing in court on behalf of the relatives of 11  youths who were allegedly forcibly disappeared by a group of officers of the Sri Lankan Navy in 2008-2009, has been subject to a torrent of threatening abuse online and offline. Among the abuse Senevirathna has been subject to, she has received threatening phone calls and text messages from the accused naval officers and people believed to be close to them, using obscene language. Her Facebook profile has been targeted by people distorting her photos, and making threats of rape and murder. She says these threats have had impacts on her personal life and her career. Despite her complaining about these threats, the authorities have taken no action so far.

[…]

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2020/11/sri-lanka-deliver-justice-truth-and-reparation-to-families-of-the-disappeared/

https://www.tamilguardian.com/content/jaffna-university-lecturer-dr-guruparan-compelled-resign-sri-lankan-militarys-benefit-former

https://www.tamilguardian.com/content/tamils-and-muslims-must-recognise-we-are-fight-together-kumaravadivel-guruparan

https://www.tamilguardian.com/content/solidarity-guruparan

https://english.theleader.lk/news/749-female-human-rights-lawyer-facing-continuous-death-threats

Egypt: Alaa Abdel Fattah and Mohamed El-Baqer arbitrarily added to a “terrorist list”

27/11/20

PERMANENT STATE OF EXCEPTION | Amnesty International

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Egypt.

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the decision to arbitrarily add Mr. Alaa Abdel Fattah, blogger and member of the “No to Military Trials for Civilians” movement[1], and Mr. Mohamed El-Baqer, human rights lawyer and Director of Adalah Center for Rights and Freedoms, to the “terrorist list” in Egypt.

According to the information received, on November 23, 2020, the Cairo Criminal Court published in the Egyptian Official Gazette the decision it made on November 19, 2020 to add Mr. Alaa Abdel Fattah and Mr. Mohamed El-Baqer, along with 27 other activists, to Egypt’s “terrorist list” for a period of five years in connection with State Security Case 1781/2019. The ruling includes restrictions such as a travel ban and a freeze on assets for three years.

The Observatory denounces the Court’s decision and condemns the Egyptian authorities’ use of the fight against terrorism to target human rights defenders. The Observatory further recalls that Egyptian authorities have increasingly employed repressive tactics such as prolonged pre-trial detention, enforced disappearance, torture, and judicial harassment to silence all critical voices, including through unfounded investigations for national security and counter-terrorism related charges.

The Observatory condemns the ongoing arbitrary detention of Messrs. Mohamed El-Baqer and Alaa Abdel Fattah, which is part of a clear human rights crackdown which Egypt has been suffering from in recent years. 

[…]

https://www.omct.org/human-rights-defenders/urgent-interventions/egypt/2020/11/d26206/

https://www.registercitizen.com/news/article/Egypt-adds-leading-activist-politician-to-terror-15748248.php

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/arrest-mohamed-el-baqer

https://www.facebook.com/freebaker/

(FRANCAIS)
Human Rights Behind Bars in Egypt - activists at risk

Turkey: 5th anniversary of extrajudicial killing of human rights lawyer Tahir Elçi: Effective investigation remains lacking | Joint Statement

26/11/20

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The undersigned organisations have been following recent developments in the case involving the prosecution of police officers allegedly involved in the killing of human rights lawyer Tahir Elçi in November 2015. We are concerned that the prosecution, as well as the court before which this case is being heard, fails to respect fair trial rights. We are further troubled by the Turkish authorities’ continued violation of Turkey’s international legal obligations to carry out a prompt, effective, impartial, and independent investigation into the death of one of its citizens and to ensure a fair trial by an impartial and independent tribunal for those accused of the killing of Tahir Elçi. The first hearing in this case, as described below, raises significant doubts that proceedings will be independent, impartial, and capable of establishing the facts and truth around the killing of Mr. Elçi and holding accountable those responsible for that killing, in accordance with international law binding on Turkey, as well as the 2016 United Nations (UN) Manual on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-Legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions (Minnesota Protocol) on the Investigation of Potentially Unlawful Death.[1]

We are also concerned that the rights of the family of Tahir Elçi have not been respected during the criminal proceedings, as required by the Turkish Code of Criminal Procedure. Mr. Elçi’s family members have not been assured of their right to full and effective remedies and a fair trial, as guaranteed by Turkey’s international obligations, including access to justice and reparations as set out in the Minnesota Protocol.[2]

Background

Tahir Elçi was a prominent figure within the international and domestic lawyers’ community. He had practiced law for around 25 years. At the time of his death, he was the President of the Diyarbakir Bar Association. He was well known for having acted for victims in a number of leading cases brought before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) concerning, for example, the forced evictions of Kurdish villages, enforced disappearances, summary executions, and torture and ill-treatment by the security and/or state-affiliated forces.[3] Through his work on these cases, he contributed to the ECtHR’s case-law, especially on the right to life and prohibition of torture. Throughout his personal and professional life, he fought against impunity and contributed to this struggle significantly. In addition to his work before the ECtHR, he was engaged with, and in some cases was a founding member of, several prominent non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey and Amnesty International Turkey. He has received several prestigious awards nationally and internationally.

On 12 October 2015, during a TV interview, he shared his views on the Kurdish issue and the end of the peace process on a national channel, CNN Turk. Following his interview, he received numerous death threats and insults through social media and telephone. Government supporters and pro-government media appeared to start a campaign of intimidation and harassment against him. A few days later, after a request from the Bakırköy Public Prosecutor, an arrest warrant was issued against him by the Bakırköy 2nd Criminal Judgeship of Peace. He was arrested and subsequently charged with an alleged offence of “propagandising for a terrorist organisation through the press,” which carries a sentence of imprisonment of up to 7.5 years.[4]

During the summer of 2015, violent clashes occurred between the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Turkish state forces in south-eastern Turkey. The government adopted stringent measures affecting the lives of thousands of civilians in the region and imposed 24-hour curfews in many cities, sometimes for months on end. Tahir Elçi, amongst others, commenced legal actions against the unlawful security measures of the government and its local administrative personnel. He also advocated to address the increasingly violent situation in the region. As a part of these activities, as the president of Diyarbakir Bar Association, he helped to organise a press conference to draw attention to the damage inflicted on the cultural and historic heritage in the region during the armed clashes. The press conference took place in front of a historic minaret damaged by security operations on the morning of 28 November 2015. During this conference, an armed clash took place between two armed PKK militia members and the police, during which Tahir Elçi was shot dead. His killing was publicly denounced by the international community.[5]

[…]

Click to access Tahir+Elci+Statement+%28final%29+26+Nov+2020.pdf

https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/campaigns/international-rule-of-law/intervention-letters/killing-of-tahir-elci

https://bianet.org/english/law/235142-we-won-t-let-impunity-in-tahir-elci-murder

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2020/10/turkey-hopes-of-justice-for-assassinated-human-rights-lawyer-as-three-police-officers-go-on-trial/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tahir_El%C3%A7i

https://artigercek.com/haberler/tahir-elci-anma-programi-aciklandi-pandemi-nedeniyle-temsili-katilim-saglanacak (TURKCE)

https://www.adanabarosu.org.tr/tr/barodan-haberler/diyarbakir-barosu-baskani-av-tahir-elci-yi-katledilmesinin-5-yilinda-saygiyla-ve-ozlemle-aniyoruz

https://anfturkce.net/guncel/tahir-elci-hayatini-adadigi-davalarin-oznesi-oldu-dosya-i-148737

https://www.durushaber.com.tr/gundem/tahir-elci-icin-temsili-yuruyus-duzenlenecek-h57488.html

https://www.yuksekovahaber.com.tr/haber/tahir-elci-icin-temsili-yuruyus-duzenlenecek-240265.htm

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tahir_El%C3%A7i (FRANCAIS)

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