Daily Archives: 03/12/2020

Egypt: Conditional release and continuing judicial harassment of human rights lawyer Mohamed Ramadan



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

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the conditional release and continuing judicial harassment of Mr. Mohamed Ramadan, a human rights lawyer who previously worked for the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI)[1].

According to the information received, on December 2, 2020, Alexandria Criminal Court ordered the release of Mr. Mohamed Ramadan, with a bail of 5,000 EGP (approximately 270 Euros), pending Criminal Case 16576/2018, after nearly two years of pre-trial arbitrary detention. The order had not been executed at the time of publication of this Urgent Appeal.

The Observatory recalls that Mr. Ramadan was arrested on December 10, 2018 shortly after posting a picture of himself wearing a yellow vest in solidarity with French anti-government protesters (see background information). His arrest came as the Egyptian authorities set restrictions to sales of yellow vests fearing opponents may use them in anti-government protests around the eighth anniversary of the January 2011 uprising that toppled former autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

The Observatory welcomes the Court’s decision to release Mr. Mohamed Ramadan on bail, but recalls that he should never have been detained in the first place, his detention being arbitrary as it only aimed at sanctioning his legitimate human rights activities and exercice of his freedom of expression.

The Observatory calls on the Egyptian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Mohamed Ramadan, and to put an end any act of harassment, including at the judicial level, against him and all human rights defenders in the country.






https://www.ifedl.org/france-macron-s-appr%C3%AAte-%C3%A0-recevoir- (FRANCAIS)

Australia/Timor Leste: Witness K lawyer Bernard Collaery wins international free speech prize


Lawyer Bernard Collaery addresses the media outside the supreme court in Canberra, 6 August 2019

The Australian lawyer Bernard Collaery has won a prestigious British free speech prize for his efforts exposing a secret Australian operation to bug Timor-Leste’s fledgling government during sensitive oil and gas negotiations.

Collaery is still being pursued by the Australian government through the criminal courts and, if convicted, the barrister and former ACT attorney general faces jail for allegedly sharing protected intelligence information.

The charge stems from an episode during which Collaery, who frequently acted for intelligence officers, represented an Australian spy known as Witness K, who had grown increasingly concerned about a 2004 mission to bug the government offices of Timor-Leste during commercial negotiations with Australia, an ally, to carve up the resource-rich Timor Sea.

The actions of Witness K and Collaery helped Timor-Leste, one of the world’s poorest nations, take a case to the international courts and, eventually, renegotiate a fairer deal.

Now, Collaery has been recognised with the International Blueprint for Free Speech Whistleblowing prize, which recognises the bravery and integrity of whistleblowers who have made a positive impact in the public interest. Previous winners of Blueprint for Free Speech awards include Chelsea Manning, who won while behind bars in 2016 at a maximum security prison in Kansas, and Nick Martin, the doctor who blew the whistle on Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers on Nauru.






Image may contain: 2 people, text that says "The AOFES END #BREAKING Bernard Collaery has won the UK's Blueprint for Free Speech whistleblowing prize for his efforts exposing Australia's S spy operation in Timor-Leste"

China: One year since the formal arrest of Qin Yongpei


One year since the formal arrest of Qin Yongpei

Precisely one year ago, on 3 December 2019, Chinese human rights lawyer Qin Yongpei was formally arrested. Until this day, Qin Yongpei remains detained in prison.

On 31 October 2019, Qin Yongpei was detained in an apparent retaliation for criticising the corruption of high-level Chinese officials on social media. Consequently, the police raided his office. More than a month after being taken in for detention, Qin Yongpei was formally arrested on 3 December 2019 for “inciting subversion of state power” and has been in police custody since then.

According to information that has been received by Lawyers for Lawyers, the Chinese authorities have continuously refused requests by Qin Yongpei’s lawyer to meet his client and reportedly, visited and harassed Qin Yongpei’s family multiple times. On 26 May 2020, Qin Yongpei was allowed to meet his lawyer for the first time since his arrest in 2019. After his case being transferred multiple times for additional investigation, the Nanning procuratorate prosecuted Qin Yongpei on 29 May 2020 for “inciting subversion of state power”.

In his legal career, Qin Yongpei has defended various other human rights lawyers facing reprisals from the authorities, provided legal assistance to vulnerable groups, and took up cases involving unlawful administrative detention, industrial pollution, forced demolition of housing and wrongful convictions. Furthermore, he is the founder and director of the Guangxi Baijuming Law Firm.




Russia: Human Rights Lawyer Ordered to Leave Russia


Photo showing Vanessa Kogan. 

Today, Russian authorities informed Vanessa Kogan, executive director of Stichting Justice Initiative (SJI), a prominent human rights group, that her Russian residence permit was revoked and she has two weeks to leave the country. Vanessa has lived legally in Russia for 11 years and is married with her family there. Now she must uproot herself and leave her life in Moscow behind. It is not clear if she’ll ever be allowed to return, but the prospects are dim.

Vanessa is American, and her husband and children are Russian nationals. Several months ago, she applied for Russian citizenship. Today, the migration office informed her that her application was rejected and her current residence permit annulled based on a law permitting authorities to do so if a person is “advocating for violent change of constitutional regime or otherwise presents danger to the Russian national security or to its nationals.”

The authorities did not explain how this relates to Vanessa, but it seems clear they view her work, leading an organization that represents victims of grave human rights abuses in the North Caucasus and survivors of domestic violence—as a threat. Maybe if Vanessa and SJI were not so successful at helping victims, Russian authorities would care less. SJI has submitted over 400 cases to the European Court of Human Rights and other bodies, and has won nearly 270, in which Russia had to pay over 25 million euro in compensation to victims.

For years, authorities have sought to hinder the organization’s work, through office raids and bureaucratic interference.  

Vanessa’s expulsion also raises concerns for her right to family life. Given travel and entry limitations during the Covid-19 pandemic, it is unclear whether her husband could join her in the US. Their children are dual nationals, but now risk being separated from one of their parents.





https://www.bbc.com/russian/news-55162047 (RUSSIAN)

Cameroon: Grève des avocats au Cameroun : les robes noires en guerre contre les magistrats


Palais de justice de Douala

Le mouvement de protestation entamé ce 30 novembre par les avocats camerounais met en lumière une crise latente qui les oppose depuis plusieurs années aux autorités judiciaires.

Plus aucune robe noire, ou presque, dans la salle des pas perdus. Depuis lundi, et jusqu’à ce vendredi 4 décembre, les avocats camerounais ont décidé de déserter les tribunaux. Un mouvement de grève lancé pour dénoncer ce que l’ordre des avocats considère comme une « persécution organisée » à l’encontre de leur corporation, dont les représentants sont « transformés en délinquants ».

La libération, jeudi 26 novembre, de Me Armel Tchuemenge et de Me Richard Tamfu, deux avocats qui avaient été incarcérés une semaine auparavant pour « outrage à magistrat » et « destruction de biens publics », n’a pas suffi à calmer la colère du barreau.

Le feu aux poudres

Si les critiques des avocats à l’encontre de l’exécutif et des magistrats ne sont pas nouvelles, le procès particulièrement houleux qui s’est tenu le 10 novembre au palais de justice de Douala-Bonanjo a mis le feu aux poudres.



https://www.businessghana.com/site/news/Politics/228085/Lawyers-boycott-all-courts-in-Cameroon (ENGLISH)

Pakistan: Muzaffargarh Bar Observes Strike To Protest Lawyer’s Murder


District Bar protests lawyer's murder - Pakistan Observer

District bar association observed full-day strike of local courts on Tuesday following heinous murder of bar member of Vehari who was gunned down by unidentified assailants yesterday.

No lawyer appeared before the court which left visitors, especially those approaching from far-flung areas in lurch.

Newly elected member of Punjab bar council from here, Jam Muhammad Yunis and president bar Malik Arshad Bhatti condemned murder of Asif Iqbal Dhakku with demanding incumbent government to assure foolproof security of the fraternity forthwith.

“Despite repeated appeals, the authority concerned turned deaf ears to our request of framing a specific law for protecting lives and goods of lawyers community ” they said while expressing concern.






Nigeria: DSS arrests human rights lawyer, Omoribo for protesting at Presidential Villa


A Lagos based human rights lawyer, Malcolm Omirobo has been arrested for embarking on a one-man protest and demanding to see President, Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

DAILY POST reports that while attempting to progress into the villa, omirobo was approached by CSP Isah Hadejia who tried to stop him from continuing with the protest.

Hadejia had promised to transmit his demands to the appropriate quarters.

Speaking to newsmen, Omirobo insisted on proceeding with his match, adding that he has a constitutional right as a law-abiding citizen to protest at the villa as long as he remains peaceful without requiring to pre-inform any authorities of such visit.

The Human Rights lawyer stressed that his protest was aimed at meeting the President with regards to what he described as genocide against Nigerians especially in the North East.

He lamented the killing of about 43 Nigerian farmers who were working to promote Federal Government’s rice sufficiency policy but were left unprotected and allowed to be gruesomely killed by members of Boko Haram.



Iran: Human Rights Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh Being Returned to Gharchak Prison


Human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh photographed in Tehran in 2008.

The return of Nasrin Sotoudeh to Gharchak Prison, reported today, December 2, 2020, by her husband, is condemned in the strongest terms, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) said in a statement today.

“Nasrin Sotoudeh’s return to prison is a travesty of justice that endangers her life and reflects the Iranian authorities’ complete contempt for the rule of law,” said Hadi Ghaemi, CHRI executive director.

Sotoudeh’s husband, Reza Khandan, reported that she had received a summons ordering her to return to Gharchak Prison. He posted the following message from Sotoudeh on Facebook:

Dear friends and human rights activists,

They told me to go back to prison and today I will return to prison, where I left behind hundreds of cellmates, a place where I left my heart behind. It’s always this way. Under these circumstances, I don’t like to talk about what it was like being unable to hug my children during these three weeks because of the coronavirus.

But I do have a duty to declare my concern about Ahmadreza Djalali’s situation and appeal to everyone who can muster support to pay attention to his case. Free Ahmadreza Djalali, today.

Nasrin Sotoudeh

Sotoudeh, who has been jailed multiple times for her peaceful human rights work as a defense attorney in Iran, has been in prison since she was arrested in June 2018 for “encouraging prostitution” for advocating against compulsory hijab.








https://iranhr.net/fa/articles/4490/ (FARSI)

https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1243325/lavocate-nasrin-sotoudeh-retourne-en-prison.html (FRANCAIS)