On December 20, 2019, police lured Magoti to a meeting through phone text messages from Giyani, who had been previously arrested. The police then handcuffed and blindfolded Magoti, and then drove him away. He was held at several different police stations for five days before being charged with “economic crimes,” including money laundering and leading organized crime. The Legal and Human Rights Centre, where Magoti worked, said the police questioned Magoti about his online activism and his involvement with other rights activists and opposition members, and believe this was the reason he was arrested.
Magoti, a 27-year- old lawyer, and Giyani have since been held in Segerea Prison in Dar es Salaam pending trial. Under Tanzanian law, money laundering is non-bailable, meaning there is no possibility of release before they are tried. Their trial has been postponed 26 times, with the state yet to present any evidence against them. The prosecution says investigations have not been completed.
In August, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued a decision that Magoti’s pre-trial detention was arbitrary and in violation of his rights under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The Working Group called on the Tanzanian government to immediately release and compensate him.
Magoti is not the first critic of the government to face reprisals.
A lawyer was shot dead by a man on a road near his home on Thursday in Greater Noida, with police suspecting it to be a fallout of a property dispute, officials said.
Lawyer Fateh Mohammad Khan lived in Sector 36 and had gone to meet a client when the incident took place around 11 am, they said.
“The lawyer was on a service lane where he had gone to meet his client. He was shot at by a man who had followed him right from his home,” Deputy Commissioner of Police, Greater Noida, Rajesh Kumar Singh said.
“The incident appears to be fallout of a rivalry over a property dispute involving the deceased lawyer. We are, although, investigating all possible links in the case,” Singh said.
A lawyer in Cebu was shot dead on Thursday afternoon by unidentified gunmen, joining the list of now over 50 individuals in the legal profession killed in recent years.
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines – Cebu said Baby Maria Concepcion Landero-Ole was gunned down in Looc, Danao City on broad daylight, flagging the rising number of lawyers being killed as “something that we cannot take just with a grain of salt.”
“We condemn the atrocities being cast against fellow lawyers and we must not allow this system of violence to persist in our midst,” IBP-Cebu said. “We have been nothing but cooperative with all investigations done by authorities. And we will continue to take this high route.”
Police in Danao have confirmed the death of Landero-Ole based on a report by The Freeman, with perpetrators still at large.
No other details on Landero-Ole’s death have been made available so far, but the IBP has since renewed calls for reforms to put an end to the murder of lawyers, prosecutors and judges since the Duterte administration began in 2016.
Paves Way for Arbitrary Discipline; Likely to Be Used against Human Rights Lawyers
Further Blow to Iranian Legal Profession’s Independence
In a new assault on the already diminished independence of the legal profession in Iran, a new directive has been issued by the judiciary that allows it to investigate complaints against lawyers, sidestepping the Iranian Bar Association’s own tribunal for such investigations and effectively asserting judicial control over any attorney in Iran.
The directive will open the door to the arbitrary disciplining of lawyers by the judiciary, and is likely to be used against human rights lawyers, according to Iranian legal experts.
Previously, any complaints against attorneys were investigated by the Bar Association’s own disciplinary tribunal. Now, complaints can be handled by the judiciary’s own court for judges, stripping the association of independence from a judiciary that is controlled by Iran’s security agencies.
On November 14, 2020, Mohammad Mosaddegh, the Iranian judiciary’s deputy chief for legal and parliamentary affairs, issued the 11-point directive to the heads of justice departments in all provinces, in order to enforce Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi’s earlier mandate to put new restrictions on the legal profession.
Raisi’s mandate, “Honoring and Promoting the Status (of lawyers), Transparency of Lawyers’ Monetary Contracts and the Creation of a System for Proposals from Lawyers” was issued on May 19, 2020. Several months later, on October 14, 2020, Mosaddegh announced the creation of a new judicial body “to exercise effective supervision over lawyers.”
At a seminar revealing the new body, the deputy stated: “The General Office for the Supervision of Lawyers, Experts, Family Counselors and Official Translators has been created under the Office of the Deputy Judiciary Chief for Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, whose representatives will be appointed to every justice department in the provinces to coordinate and supervise lawyers, experts, counselors and official translators throughout the country.”
The new regulations must be followed “to confront violations,” Mosaddegh added.