A former regional director of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency was arrested for allegedly “supervising” the murder of a lawyer in Cebu City last November 2020.
National Bureau of Investigation-7 Regional Director Renan Oliva said on Monday’s briefing that they have arrested retired Army Col. Edwin Layese on January 12 over the death of lawyer Joey Luis Wee who was gunned down near his office,
Oliva said Layese was not the mastermind, but did the planning and execution of the killing.
“We have documentary, electronic and testimonial evidence to show that Edwin Layese was involved not just a participant but a supervisor in the killing of Wee,” Oliva explained.
He added that Layese may also be involved in the ambush of another lawyer last October.
“We have arrested him in connection of the murder of Joey Wee and in the frustrated murder of James Gupana,” said Oliva.
A Chinese lawyer nominated for a top human rights award is in poor health after years in prison, his wife told AFP Tuesday.
Yu Wensheng was detained in Beijing in January 2018 in front of his young son just hours after he wrote an open letter calling for constitutional reforms, including multi-candidate elections.
He was tried in secret and sentenced to four years in prison last June for “inciting subversion of state power”.
“His physical state is very poor. His right hand is deformed and trembles so much that he cannot write,” his wife Xu Yan told AFP.
Yu was nominated Monday for the Martin Ennals Award, which organisers hope will shine a light on abuses in authoritarian states.
Xu said her husband’s nomination “not only supports and honours (him), but is also an encouragement and affirmation to other human rights lawyers and defenders”.
China has seen a dramatic crackdown on civil liberties and freedoms since President Xi Jinping took power in 2012, with hundreds of human rights lawyers and activists detained in recent years.
Yu was known for taking on a number of high-profile rights cases, including the defence of fellow lawyer Wang Quanzhang, who was among more than 300 legal professionals and activists arrested in a July 2015 crackdown.
He also became well known for suing the Beijing government for the city’s chronic air pollution.
Yu’s defence lawyer Lu Siwei had his legal license revoked by authorities last week after handling several sensitive human rights cases.
The webinar will be translated in English, French, Italian and Spanish.
This year’s International Day of Lawyers in danger focuses on Azerbaijan, where multiple cases of harassment of lawyers in violation of international law and international standards on the independence of the profession have been documented.
About the International Day of Lawyers in Danger:
Since 2009, the European Democratic Lawyers’ Association has been organizing, in collaboration with the “Day of the Endangered Lawyer” Foundation and other lawyers’ and bar associations, each year, the Day of the Endangered Lawyer in as many cities, countries and continents as possible.
The purpose of this international day is to focus the attention of civil society and public authorities on the situation of lawyers in a particular country in order to raise awareness of the threats faced by lawyers in the exercise of their profession. After the situation of lawyers in Iran, Turkey, the Philippines, the Basque Country, Honduras, China and Egypt, the Day of the Endangered Lawyer 2021 will be dedicated to the situation of lawyers in Azerbaijan.
According to the latest version of the report, since 2016’s coup attempt more than 1600 lawyers have been arrested and prosecuted while 615 lawyers have been remanded to pretrial detention. So far, 450 lawyers have been sentenced to a total of 2786 years in prison on the grounds of membership of an armed terrorism organization or of spreading terrorist propaganda.
15 of the persecuted lawyers are presidents (or former presidents) of their respective provincial bar associations, for example; President of the Konya Bar Association, Fevzi Kayacan, President of the Trabzon Bar Association, Orhan Öngöz, President of the Siirt Bar Association, Cemal Acar, President of the Gumushane Bar Association, Ismail Tastan were arrested and unlawfully unseated. Furthermore, the presidents of the Aksaray and Kahramanmaras Bar Associations, Levent Bozkurt and Vahit Bagci, respectively, and the former presidents of the Yozgat Bar Association, Haci Ibis and Fahri Acikgoz, were detained for a certain time before they were released on bail. In January 2021, former president of Diyarbakir Bar Association, Mehmet Emin Aktar was sentenced to six years and three months in prison under Art. 314 of Penal Code.
Report presents that all of the persecuted lawyers are being charged with terror-linked offenses; the two main accusations imputed to them are membership of an armed terrorist organisation, and forming and leading an armed terrorist organisation.
Lawyers have particularly been targeted due to the identity or affinity of their clients.