Daily Archives: 25/11/2020

Egypt: Egypt urged to release two women whose pretrial detention has expired


The pretrial detentions of Egyptian lawyer and human rights defender Hoda Abdelmonem and political prisoner Aisha al-Shater have expired, Amnesty International has said, calling for their immediate release.

Abdelmonem and Shater had been arrested on 1 November 2018 and went missing until they appeared at the Supreme State Security Prosecution in Cairo a few weeks later on 21 November. 

On Saturday, the two women completed two years in provisional detention, and therefore must be released, says Amnesty. 

“Their detention has bypassed the absolute legal limit set forth by article 143 of the code of criminal procedures,” said Hussein Bayoumi, Egypt researcher at Amnesty International. 

“That being said, their detention has always been unlawful,” he told MEE.

According to article 143, the maximum two-year limit is only applicable if the detainee was facing charges that could see them sentenced to death or life in prison. But if the detainees were facing charges in a felony punishable by less than life in prison, the maximum limit was 18 months, Bayoumi explained.

“We call on Egyptian authorities to release Hoda and Aisha, as their detention was arbitrary in the first place,” he said.




Lesotho: Three lawyers face jail for contempt



THREE lawyers who are representing soldiers accused of murder are facing a seven-day jail sentence for contempt of court.
High Court judge Justice Charles Hungwe has issued an ultimatum for the lawyers, saying they should give reasons within two days, why they should not be locked up.

Justice Hungwe issued the ultimatum after the lawyers failed to appear before him on Monday in a case in which their clients are facing murder charges.
If convicted, the soldiers could be sentenced to death.
An irate Justice Hungwe said he would issue a warrant of arrest for the three lawyers if they failed within 48 hours to give cogent reasons why they failed to appear in court.

The three lawyers are Advocates Karabo Mohau Karabo, Napo Mafaesa and Lintle Tuke.
Meanwhile, Justice Onkemetse Tshosa, who was also roped in to deal with the high-profile cases, expressed concern over the delays which he blamed on the defence lawyers.



Sri Lanka: Seven Months On the Bar is Silent About Hejaaz


Justice for Hejaaz: The bell tolls, but the Bar is silent – Gehan  Gunatilleke | Sri Lanka Brief

Seven months have passed since the arrest and detention of human rights lawyer, Hejaaz Hizbullah. When he was taken into custody on 14 April, his friends and family, and some within his fraternity, decried the obvious injustice. They were quickly told to quieten down and ‘let the justice system do its work’. They were told not to interfere with the investigation. They were told to be patient, as the truth would eventually emerge, and perhaps set Hejaaz free.

Seven months have passed. The investigations continue with no indictment in sight. If law enforcement authorities and prosecutors actually had a case against Hejaaz, wouldn’t they have framed charges by now? Should we let the authorities investigate in perpetuity?

Seven months have passed, and the media circus has dissipated, making clowns out of all those who prejudged Hejaaz’s guilt. The media callously aired so-called ‘damning’ evidence, and set out to make a monster out of Hejaaz. They have only made him a martyr, as none of the evidence appears to be credible.

Seven months have passed. Hejaaz is yet to be produced before a judge. A Magistrate has repeatedly expressed concerns over the handling of the investigations. But he has no power under our draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act to insist that Hejaaz be produced in court. So Hejaaz’s virtually incommunicado detention continues without any judicial supervision.

Hejaaz’s case is no outlier. It reflects both the danger faced by lawyers who dare do the work of justice, and the indifference of many others who care not to question injustice. So it is not just Hejaaz who is on trial right now. The bell tolls for the entire profession. Those who walk in Hejaaz’s footsteps will feel the deterring weight of the sheer absurdity of his predicament; they will be tempted to abandon their path because they know they could be next. If the injustice against Hejaaz is left unaddressed, it sets a new precedent for all lawyers: they now confront the risk of being punished for doing their job, and face the danger of being abandoned by their colleagues.