Daily Archives: 22/12/2020

Uganda: Human rights lawyer Nicholas Opiyo arrested

22/12/20

Human rights lawyer Nicholas Opiyo arrested

Human rights lawyer Nicholas Opiyo was on Tuesday picked up by men in plain cloth from a restaurant in Kamwokya, a Kampala suburb, and taken away to an unknown destination.

Details about the arrest remained scanty but sources present noted that he was picked from the restaurant where he had reportedly gone for lunch, handcuffed, and placed into a saloon car before it sped off to an unknown destination.

Kampala Metropolitan Police Spokesperson Patrick Onyango noted they were not aware of the incident. “Let me cross-check and get back to you,” Onyango noted.

The controversial lawyer had built his name as a human rights defender and often times has been at loggerheads with the government over a number of human rights abuses.

His interviews on international media outlets have often drawn a backlash with the government, accusing him of working for foreign interests.

https://www.newvision.co.ug/news/1535932/human-rights-lawyer-nicholas-opiyo-arrested

https://www.monitor.co.ug/uganda/news/national/human-rights-lawyer-nicholas-opiyo-arrested-3236484

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/tassc-international-statement-on-the-abduction-of-ugandan-human-rights-lawyer-nicholas-opiyo-and-fellow-lawyers-301197878.html

https://www.tassc.org/

https://www.movedemocracy.org/person/nicholas-opiyo

STATEMENT ON ABDUCTION AND INCOMMUNICADO DETENTION OF NICHOLAS OPIYO

(Kampala / December 22, 2020) Chapter Four Uganda is deeply concerned about the abduction and incommunicado detention of our Executive Director, Nicholas Opiyo earlier today afternoon by unknown security operatives.

Chapter Four is further concerned about the safety and well-being of Mr. Opiyo, considering that he is being held outside of the protection of the law.

We are in the process of gathering facts and reviewing the situation and we will be taking measures to ensure his prompt release.

We condemn this brutal abduction and we call upon our colleagues and partners to condemn the arbitrary violation of his personal liberty, incommunicado detention, and call for his immediate unconditional release.

Chapter Four legal team is taking action to ensure that Mr. Opiyo’s rights are respected and to ensure his prompt and unconditional release.

Chapter Four Board

https://chapterfouruganda.org/

Image may contain: text that says "Uganda Police Force @Police... We would like to confirm the arrest of Lawyer Nicholas Opio, by a Joint Task team of Security and Financial Intelligence, on allegations of money laundering and related malicious acts. 1 78 17 Uganda Police Force @Police... The investigations are progressing well well and any new developments will be communicated in due course. He remains in our custody at the Special Investigations Division."
Image may contain: 1 person, text that says "#FreeNicholasOpiyo #StopPoliceBrutalityinUganda #CanaryReports Just in: Human rights defenders Nicholas Opiyo has been arrested a few min ago by security. was picked from Lamaro restaurant located Kamwokya, handcuffed and taken to an unknown location he owner of the restaurant has confirmed"
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The Philippines: Legal experts ask Supreme Court to act on killings of 54 lawyers under Duterte’s watch

22/12/20

More than 70 lawyers ran to the Supreme Court on Tuesday to demand immediate action to stop violence against law practitioners, with 54 killed in the past four years.

Law school deans, former lawmakers, and ex-government officials trooped to the high court with a letter addressed to Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta to seek his help in prodding the Executive branch to solve these murders and protect other practitioners from harm.

“There have been at least 54 lawyers and judges who have become victims of extrajudicial killings and violent crimes since 2016 and we fear that the state of impunity in the country today will further fuel the spate of killings, not just against members of the legal profession but also ordinary people,” the two-page letter read. “We ask the government to act and put a stop to this continuing violence.”

Among those who signed the letter of appeal were former Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares, former SC spokesperson Theodore Te, and National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers secretary general Edre Olalia.

Law professors and firm partners are also part of the initiative. Among them are Atty. Howard Calleja, Far Eastern University Institute of Law Dean Mel Sta. Maria, and former Ateneo Law School dean Antonio La Viña.

“The continuing, increasing and more brazen killings on Filipino lawyers and judges have been going for many years now but we noticed a sharp increase since Pres. Rodrigo Duterte came to office in 2016 and has made the legal profession one of the most dangerous careers in the country,” the lawyers said while citing the duty of the government under the United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers to ensure the safety of legal professionals.

[…]

https://cnnphilippines.com/news/2020/12/22/lawyers-ask-Supreme-Court-stop-killings.html

https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/nation/768965/lawyers-groups-rally-outside-sc-to-condemn-killings-in-legal-community/story/

https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2020/12/22/2065600/lawyers-demand-action-over-rise-attacks-colleagues

https://journal.com.ph/news/provincial/govt-asked-to-end-slay-of-lawyers-judges/

https://www.rappler.com/nation/legal-experts-ask-supreme-court-duterte-act-lawyer-killings

https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/12/22/20/duterte-robredo-urged-to-act-on-killings-of-lawyers

https://news.tv5.com.ph/breaking/read/killings-lawyers-groups-urge-supreme-court-to-investigate-killings-of-legal-professionals-in-the-philippines

https://www.rappler.com/voices/thought-leaders/opinion-the-monster-will-come-for-you-why-tarlac-killings-threaten-all-filipinos

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/12/22/architecture-of-impunity-under-duterte-hit-amid-brutal-killings

Lawyers' groups rally outside SC to condemn killings in legal community

Romania: Romanian Bar Condemns Lawyer’s Conviction For Representing Fraudster ‘Prince’

21/12/20

Romanian lawyers say conviction and heavy jail term for colleague who acted as the legal representative of a self-proclaimed prince found guilty of corruption is unjust and could deter other lawyers from doing their job.

Dozens of Romanian lawyers protested at Bucharest’s High Court on Monday against the conviction of a lawyer for his “direct involvement in sealing contracts” and “transmitting notifications” on behalf of a self-styled Romanian prince convicted and sentenced last week over a fraudulent restitution of land.

Protesters say Robert Rosu merely fulfilled his duties as a lawyer, representing his client, a businessman who was acting in on behalf of Paul Philippe of Romania, who styles himself Prince Paul, and who is now at large, having fled a court verdict. They argue that the conviction sets a dangerous precedent that might interfere with the ability and willingness of other lawyers to conduct their work.

Rosu’s five-year prison sentence was condemned also by the National Union of Romanian Bar Associations, UNBR. Its president told state TV that the verdict “creates fear in the exercise of the profession”.

Together with three businessmen that were also found guilty in the case, Rosu was convicted of constituting a criminal group in support of a former king’s illegitimate grandson’s claim to two swathes of land situated north of Bucharest. He eventually obtained the land from the Romanian state.

Paul Philippe of Romania, aka Prince Paul, is the son of an illegitimate child of King Carol II of Romania. He claims to be the head of Romania’s royal house, dethroned in 1947.

[…]

https://www.agerpres.ro/english/2020/12/21/protest-at-palace-of-justice-following-conviction-of-lawyer-robert-rosu-in-ferma-baneasa-case–631471

https://adevarul.ro/news/eveniment/o-parte-baroul-bucuresti-protesteaza-avocatul-condamnat-robert-rosu-fost-trimis-gratii-dosarul-ferma-baneasa-video-1_5fe078365163ec42711fe51f/index.html (ROMANESC)

http://www.defendre.eu/observatoire-roumanie201217.htm (FRANCAIS)

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Russia: Moscow Police Briefly Detain Navalny Foundation Lawyer Who Tried To Meet Duped FSB Agent

22/12/20

Lyubov Sobol

Moscow police briefly detained Lyubov Sobol, a lawyer for Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, after she tried to meet an agent who has implicated the Federal Security Service (FSB) in the poisoning of the 44-year-old Kremlin critic.

Navalny wrote on Twitter that Sobol was detained late on December 21 when she arrived at the Moscow apartment of Konstantin Kudryavtsev, the agent who was duped by Navalny into revealing details of the FSB’s operation to poison him with a nerve agent earlier in August.

Kudryavtsev refused to open the door and talk about the poisoning incident with Sobol, and then called police, Navalny said.

Before her detainment, Sobol told Current Time that she knocked on Kudryavtsev’s door, but he did not open it. Current Time is the Russian-language network run by RFE/RL in cooperation with VOA.

“I saw a light that appeared in the door hole [of Kudryavtsev’s apartment’s door], but nobody opened the door. In 10 minutes after the news broke on the news channel ‘Aleksei Navalny’, the video was watched by several million [people] in three hours, as far as I know. The [authorities] reacted very quickly; many police officers were deployed here. One car came first, then several more vehicles came. I saw civil cars with police officers inside. Police forced out all those who were inside the apartment block’s hall along the stairs and they blocked me in the car,” Sobol said.

[…]

https://www.rferl.org/a/navalny-sobol-moscow-detained-fsb/31013367.html

https://meduza.io/en/news/2020/12/21/lawyer-lyubov-sobol-arrested-near-home-of-fsb-operative-implicated-in-poisoning-navalny

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2020/12/22/navalny-ally-sobol-faces-criminal-charges-after-poisoning-call-a72433

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/12/21/europe/russia-navalny-poisoning-underpants-ward/index.html

https://www.dw.com/en/alexei-navalny-dupes-fsb-agent-into-admitting-role-in-poisoning/a-56013446

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2020/12/22/russia-announces-travel-bans-against-eu-officials-over-navalny-a72442

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

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

Cameroon: Me Gérard Wolber décède un mois après son agression

21/12/20

Le célèbre avocat, propriétaire d’un cabinet d’avocats dans le comté d’Akwa, était basé au Cameroun depuis 44 ans.

En fin de compte, il n’a pas été blessé. L’avocat inscrit au barreau du Cameroun a été agressé et poignardé à mort par des inconnus à son domicile du quartier de Bonapriso dans la nuit du 16 novembre 2020. Depuis, il est à l’unité de soins intensifs de l’hôpital général de Douala. Malheureusement, ce dimanche 20 décembre 2020, à 73 ans, il a abandonné son âme.

« Le moment est difficile: celui pour vous informer du départ de mon frère et collègue Gérard Wolber vers l’Est éternel, où demain tout était fait pour son évacuation. L’attaque qu’il a subie l’a emporté, malgré deux opérations sur lui. Mes condoléances vont à ses enfants, sa famille et sa compagne Gémissons, Gémissons, Gémissons », a répondu Me Dominique Fousse, avocat au barreau du Cameroun, très proche du défunt.

Maître Gérard Wolber est expatrié au Cameroun depuis 1976 et disparaît sans connaître l’identité de son agresseur. L’enquête lancée par la gendarmerie au lendemain de son attaque au couteau n’a encore tiré aucune conclusion.

http://www.cameroon-info.net/article/cameroun-un-mois-apres-son-agression-a-douala-le-francais-maitre-gerard-wolber-a-rendu-391290.html

https://www.msn.com/fr-xl/afrique-centre-et-est/cameroun-actualite/cameroun-n%C3%A9crologie-lavocat-de-paul-biya-me-g%C3%A9rard-wolber-est-mort/ar-BB1c7gPy

The Philippines: IBP urges gov’t to address continued killing of lawyers

22/12/20

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) on Tuesday (Dec. 22) urged the government to address the continued killing of lawyers in the country.

“The unabated killing of lawyers, too often with impunity, is a sad reflection of the spiralling violence and disregard of, if not contempt for the rule of law in our land,” said IBP President Domingo Egon Cayosa in a statement.
 
Cayosa issued the statement after the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) confirmed that the remains which was recovered in Capas, Tarlac last Oct. 30 was that of missing retired Court of Appeals (CA) Justice Normandie Pizarro.
 
For its part, Cayosa said the IBP has been engaged in “novel and proactive measures for lawyer security and justice for our slain colleagues.”
 
“As we recognize our responsibilities and limitations, we seek concerted action on the part of our leaders in the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government, many of whom are fellow-lawyers,” the IBP chief said.
 
“We appeal to those who have been entrusted with great authority, power and public funds to do MORE, BETTER, FASTER lest shocking situations where law enforcers/peace keepers readily and publicly shoot helpless unarmed neighbors-mother and son become the norm,” he added.  
 
Aside from the government, Cayosa said the IBP also “encourage and support lawyer groups and lawyers as well as other sectors to contribute to a common clamor and action to STOP KILLINGS and END IMPUNITY.”

[…]

https://www.rappler.com/nation/senators-seek-probe-killings-after-years-impunity-duterte

https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/12/21/20/senators-call-for-probe-into-series-of-unlawful-killings

https://cnnphilippines.com/news/2020/12/21/resolution-600-probe-into-killings.html

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-55376421

https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2020/12/22/2065597/duterte-tarlac-killings-not-part-how-cops-should-do-their-jobs

https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/politics/article/3114850/dutertes-war-drugs-global-human-rights-coalition-aid