On 6 November 2020, Ding Jiaxi’s defence lawyer telephoned the Linyi Municipal Public Security Bureau to inquire about the status of the case against the defender. The police informed the lawyer that the investigation is still on-going and they cannot say when the case would be transferred to the procuratorate. The investigative period has already been extended twice, but the police refused to say whether they would apply for another extension when the current period ends on 19 November 2020.
The public security authorities have repeatedly rejected applications for bail submitted by Ding Jiaxi’s lawyers as well as their requests to meet the defender. Ding Jiaxi has now been held without access to legal counsel for over 315 days.
Ding Jiaxi is a lawyer and a prominent figure within the New Citizens Movement which campaigned for greater transparency among Chinese Communist Party officials, greater equality within the education system as well as for Constitutional Government. In 2012 and 2013, he participated in a number of small protests in Beijing calling on Chinese officials to reveal their personal assets.
The ICJ, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), the Defender Center for Human Rights (DCHR), Lawyers for Justice in Libya (LFJL) and the Libyan Women’s Platform for Peace (LWPP) have issued today a joint statement on the assassination of lawyer and political activist Hanan al-Barassi .
The undersigned human rights groups are appalled by the assassination of lawyer and political activist Hanan al-Barassi in Benghazi on 10 November 2020, and call on the competent authorities to launch an independent, impartial and effective investigation into the killing and bring those responsible to justice through fair trials.
On 10 November, a group of unknown armed men shot al-Barassi in Benghazi city centre in broad daylight. Al-Barassi was known for her political engagement and criticism of the human rights violations and abuses and corruption allegedly committed by authorities in Eastern Libya and their affiliated militias. Al-Barassi was active on social media, and often posted videos on Facebook in which she criticised the Libyan Arab Armed Forces (LAAF). Her last video was posted a few hours before her killing.
Al-Barassi’s murder follows a disturbing pattern in recent years of violent attacks against prominent women activists who are critical of the authorities and affiliated militias. In June 2014, gunmen assassinated prominent human rights activist and lawyer Salwa Bugaighis. This was followed by the killing of former Derna Congress member Fariha Al-Berkawi on 17 July 2014, and human rights activist Entisar El Hassari on 24 February 2015. Women’s rights defender and member of the Tobruk-based House of Representatives Seham Sergiwa was abducted from her home by armed men on 17 July 2019, and her whereabouts remains unknown.