Daily Archives: 15/12/2020

Zimbabwe: Order barring Beatrice Mtetwa from handling a case overturned

15/12/20

Order barring Beatrice Mtetwa from handling a case overturned

On 17 August 2020, the Zimbabwean Magistrate Nduna attracted global outrage after he disqualified the lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa from representing her client journalist Hopewell Chin’ono, and accepted a request by prosecutors to bar her from the case. Today, on the 15th of December, there has been a very welcome development in the case.

In their application for review of Magistrate Nduna’s decision filed in September 2020, Mtetwa & Chin’ono argued that the Magistrate’s ruling is unconstitutional and effectively deprives the freelance journalist of his right to legal representation of his choice. In the hearing of the application today, Advocate Taona Nyamakura, representing Mtetwa and Chin’ono, told Justice Zhou that the filing of the State’s application in Magistrate court which led to the barring of Mtetwa was malicious. The review application proved successful. Justice Zhou has set aside Magistrate Nduna’s ruling and ordered that he must be disqualified from further participation in Chin’ono’s criminal trial.

[…]

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/human-rights-defender-hopewell-chinono-detained-and-charged

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beatrice_Mtetwa

The Philippines: ICC prosecutor sees ‘crimes against humanity’ in Philippines

15/12/20

Human rights advocates say as many as 27,000 people were killed in the drug war as of mid-2019 - including the victims killed by 'unknown gunmen' [File: Bullit Marquez/AP]

The International Criminal Court’s (ICC) chief prosecutor said on Monday that there is “reasonable basis to believe” the Philippines has committed crimes against humanity in connection with President Rodrigo Duterte’s so-called war on drugs operation.

Fatou Bensouda’s office, in its annual report, said those crimes included murder, torture, infliction of serious physical injury and mental harm. They took place between July 1, 2016 and March 16, 2019.

The ICC prosecutor’s office has been examining the Philippines’ case since 2018, focusing in particular on allegations that Duterte and other government officials have actively promoted and encouraged the killing of suspected drug users and dealers, as well as claims that law enforcement officials and unidentified assailants have carried out thousands of unlawful killings in the Philippines.

A final decision on a formal ICC investigation could come in the first half of 2021, the report said, attributing the delays to the coronavirus pandemic.

Duterte, who assumed office in 2016, has promised a relentless war against drugs – an issue he campaigned on during the presidential election of that same year. On several occasions, the Philippine president had told police officers to “shoot and kill” drug suspects, saying in 2017 that “I will kill more if only to get rid of drugs”.

The ICC report noted that law enforcement officials were involved in the deaths of more than 5,300 people during their anti-drug crackdown.

It also said there were thousands of more killings by unidentified assailants, noting there were allegations these murders “were planned, directed, and or/coordinated”, if not actually committed by law enforcement officers themselves.

ICC withdrawal

According to the Philippine police, at least 5,552 people were killed during police operations between December 2019 and June 30, 2016, the day Duterte was sworn in as president. An earlier report published in June 2019, however, showed a death toll of 6,600. The police did not explain why the number was revised down.

Meanwhile, rights advocates say as many as 27,000 people were killed as of mid-2019 – including the victims killed by “unknown gunmen”, some of whom later turned out to be police officers.

Among those who were killed were more than a dozen town mayors and other local officials as well as lawyers and judges.

[…]

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/12/15/icc-reasonable-basis-of-crimes-against-humanity-under-duterte

https://www.rappler.com/nation/international-criminal-court-report-finds-basis-believe-crimes-against-humanity-duterte-drug-war

https://cnnphilippines.com/news/2020/12/15/Duterte-drug-war-ICC-prosecutor-investigation-Philippines.html

https://www.philstar.com/nation/2020/12/11/2062908/cops-nab-editor-red-linked-news-portal

https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2020/12/15/2063874/lawmaker-block-leonen-removal-quo-warranto

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippine_drug_war

Egypt: “We want to create a new life”: Detained labour lawyer Haitham Mohamedain Struggles for Justice

03/12/20

Haitham Mohamedain is a labor activist and human rights lawyer who advocates for independent and worker-led trade unions. He has organized and led numerous social justice and democracy protests throughout Egypt. Since 2011, successive Egyptian governments have attempted to silence him. 

National Security and police officers arrested Mohamedain on May 13, 2019, in al-Saff police station, Giza and forcibly disappeared him until May 16, 2019. He then appeared before the Supreme State Security Prosecution (SSSP) as a defendant in Case No. 741/2019. The SSSP accused him of collaborating with a terrorist organization with the intention of organizing anti-government protests during the Africa Cup of Nations football championship hosted by Egypt in 2019 and detained him at al-Qanater Men’s Prison. The decisions of the SSSP and criminal courts to order and extend Mohamedain’s pre-trial detention have violated Egyptian laws and international and regional treaties. To date, he remains unjustly imprisoned. 

Methodology

DAWN researchers interviewed sources close to the detainee, investigated official documents, and consulted other information from published sources that we consider to be reliable. DAWN is not disclosing the identity of the interviewees to protect their security. They are referred to as indicated below, including the dates of the interviews:

[…]

Click to access EN_HR_20201126_PR_0620.pdf

https://www.lawsociety.ie/gazette/top-stories/ccbe-awards-2020-prize-to-egyptian-lawyers/

https://www.lawfareblog.com/egypts-crackdown-eipr-instrumentalizing-counterterrorism-silence-dissent

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haitham_Mohamedain

(ARABIC)

https://www.cfjustice.org/%d9%85%d9%82%d8%b1%d8%b1%d9%88%d9%86-%d8%a3%d9%85%d9%85%d9%8a%d9%88%d9%86-%d9%8a%d8%b9%d8%b1%d8%a8%d9%88%d9%86-%d8%b9%d9%86-%d9%85%d8%ae%d8%a7%d9%88%d9%81%d9%87%d9%85-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%b4%d8%af%d9%8a/?lang=ar

https://www.lemondedudroit.fr/institutions/72616-prix-droits-humains-ccbe.html (FRANCAIS)

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Algeria: Déchaînement des islamistes contre l’avocate Aouicha Bekhti

13/12/20

IMG

Depuis 48 heures, Aouicha Bekhti, avocate et défenseure des droits humains, est victime d’un déchaînement de haine sur la toile. Un déluge de propos violents, d’insultes et d’injures s’est abattu sur elle, particulièrement de la part de militants du mouvement islamiste Rachad et de ses relais qui sont allés jusqu’à proférer des menaces et appeler à sa «liquidation physique».

Pour cause, des propos qu’elle a tenus lors de sa participation, jeudi dernier, au débat hebdomadaire organisé par le mouvement Double Rupture portant sur les détenus d’opinion parmi lesquels Abdellah Benaoum. L’avocate a, en effet, estimé que ce dernier qui rappelons-le, «est un ancien cadre de l’Armée Islamique du Salut (AIS), ne méritait pas son soutien ni sa solidarité», car «il a encore les mains tachés du sang de ses compatriotes».

L’affaire sera bien évidemment relayée sur les réseaux sociaux par de nombreux militants qui ont exprimé leur soutien à l’avocate, entre autres, Mourad Amiri qui dénonce le fait de publier la photo de Aouicha Bakhti sur la toile rappelle les années de braise où «on affichait dans les mosquées les noms de personnes à liquider». Connu pour ses opinions tranchées sur les intégristes, le militant dira que «les pratiques et les réflexes des islamistes sont toujours les mêmes», mais qu’«ils ne resteront pas impunis».

Le mouvement Double Rupture a également réagi au déchaînement de haine qu’a connu l’avocate et apporte son«total soutien à Me Aouicha Bekhti, lynchée sur la toile par les islamistes qui appellent publiquement à sa liquidation physique». «Notre avocate, connue pour son dévouement pour les valeurs universelles, son combat pour la libération des détenus d’opinion et les luttes démocratiques et progressistes, s’est attirée la foudre des islamistes, ces Daeshistes qui forment la mouvance terroriste dont Rachad et ses activistes incrustés dans le mouvement populaire, dit Hirak», dénonce le mouvement dans un communiqué rendu public hier soir (12 décembre 2020, ndlr). De fait, il considère que «ces comportements prouvent encore une fois que si les islamistes ont modifié leur stratégie pour leurrer une énième fois les algériens, ils n’ont aucunement dévié de leur objectif initial. Leur soif de sang et de pouvoir est toujours d’actualité, notamment depuis l’avènement du mouvement populaire».

[…]

https://www.lavantgarde-algerie.com/article/la-lutte/dechainement-des-islamistes-contre-lavocate-me-aouicha-bakhti

https://www.courrierinternational.com/une/presse-algerie-le-choc-apres-la-condamnation-du-journaliste-khaled-drareni

https://www.lematindalgerie.com/lavocate-aouicha-bekhti-arretee-alger

Iran: Lawyer Hoda Amid sentenced to 8 years imprisonment plus 2 years disbarment

12/12/20

Two women’s rights activists, Hoda Amid and Najmeh Vahedi, were sentenced to 15 years in prison, in addition to depriving them of social activities by the Revolutionary Court of Tehran.


The 15th Branch of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran sentenced Hoda Amid, a lawyer and women’s rights activist, to 8 years in prison, banning her from her social rights for two years, and from practicing law for two years.

The court also sentenced Najmeh Vahedi to 7 years in jail and deprived from some of her social rights for two years.

It should be mentioned that, the head of the court, Abolghassem Salavati, was involved in the massacre of political prisoners in 1988, and is still sitting on a decision-making bench.

Hoda Amid and Najmeh Vahedi were separately arrested on 1 September 2018, at their places of residence. Najmeh Vahedi is a graduate of sociology from Tehran’s Allameh University and she is a women’s rights activist. She is presently a student of women’s studies. The two women’s rights activists used to hold educational workshops for women to teach them about their rights.

[…]

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2020/12/13/Iran-sentences-two-women-s-rights-activists-to-total-of-15-years-in-prison-

https://www.freeiranslawyers.org/post/statement-by-free-iran-s-lawyers-organization-regarding-lawyers-imprisoned-in-iran (ENGLISH/FARSI FREE IRAN’S LAWYERS STATEMENT)

https://amp.dw.com/fa-ir/%D8%A7%D8%AD%DA%A9%D8%A7%D9%85-%D8%B3%D9%86%DA%AF%DB%8C%D9%86-%D8%A8%D8%B1%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D9%87%D8%AF%DB%8C-%D8%B9%D9%85%DB%8C%D8%AF-%D9%88-%D9%86%D8%AC%D9%85%D9%87-%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%AD%D8%AF%DB%8C-%D9%81%D8%B9%D8%A7%D9%84-%D8%AD%D9%82%D9%88%D9%82-%D8%B2%D9%86%D8%A7%D9%86/a-55921188 (FARSI)