Daily Archives: 24/01/2021

Australia/Azerbaijan etc: Day of the Endangered Lawyer 2021


Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) calls on all countries, including Australia, to ensure that lawyers are able to perform their professional obligations without fear of retribution. 

On 24 January 2021, the 11th Day of the Endangered Lawyer, lawyers across the world are given a specific opportunity to reflect on the grave infringement of human rights experienced by some of our colleagues, and to advocate for systemic change in their treatment. ALHR finds it highly concerning that lawyers risk danger for upholding the human rights of others and protecting vulnerable clients. 

ALHR President Kerry Weste said “ALHR gives thought to the many human rights lawyers around the world who remain in prison or are at risk for simply doing their job and attempting to carry out their duties in line with international standards. Unfortunately, this now includes Australian lawyers facing prosecution for performing their duties.


In 2021 the global focus of the Day of the Endangered Lawyer is on the experiences of lawyers in Azerbaijan. Serious human rights violations have affected Azerbaijani lawyers who represent the victims of human rights violations and have spoken up about torture and ill-treatment in police custody. Lawyers who assisted in bringing the cases of human rights defenders to the European Court of Human Rights have been disbarred or even detained on various charges. The Azerbaijani authorities have failed to respect the rights of lawyers by not adequately enabling them to perform their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference. Furthermore, the Azerbaijani authorities have failed to take substantive steps to uphold the right to a fair trial and to guarantee that every citizen has effective access to justice and legal assistance of their choice.”

“ALHR calls on all countries to comply with the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers and ensure that lawyers can act in accordance with the law and without improper interference or persecution,” Ms Weste said. 




https://www.consiglionazionaleforense.it/web/cnf-calendario/-/748260 (ITALIANO)


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Zimbabwe: Lawyer Tendai Biti Receives Death Threats After Brief Arrest


Tendai Biti

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said Harare lawyer and opposition politician, Tendai Biti was arrested by police in Karoi early on Saturday and later released without a charge.

Biti, a former Finance Minister and critic of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government also received deaths threats after a heated telephone conversation with a person identifying himself as Gakanjwe. ZLHR posted on Twitter:

At about 09:25 hours today, we received a distress call from [Tendai Biti] advising us that he had been arrested by police in Karoi. He was not informed of any charge. He was eventually released without any charges against him.

[Biti] has since advised us that he has been receiving death threats. This follows a heated telephone conversation with a person identifying himself as Gakanjwe quizzing [Biti about] tweeting on [government’s] failure to deal with COVID-19.

According to ZLHR, at about 4 PM today, they received another distress call that some unidentified people two men and a woman were affixing cardboard boxes with threatening messages at Tendai Biti Law Firm in Harare.

This follows a press statement on COVID-19 situation by ZANU PF in which [Biti] was mentioned.

Our member lawyer [Biti] has been subjected to harassment, ill-treatment, prosecution and persecution in recent months.

The three people who put up the cardboard boxes with those messages, threatened to come back and burn down the law firm.


Turkey: Human rights lawyers become “endangered species” in Turkey


Human rights lawyers become “endangered species” in Turkey | Amnesty  International

At the end of each year, the demise of the world’s most endangered species is charted in a sadly familiar list, from tigers and snow leopards to rhinos and gorillas.

But it’s not just wildlife that is at risk. Today marks the Day of the Endangered Lawyer, a moment to recognize the threats facing lawyers around the world who dare to stand up for human rights. In recent years Amnesty International has felt the impact of these threats close to home, through the government crackdown on our colleagues in Turkey.  

One was a sunny morning in June 2017 I got a call. Taner Kılıç, our then chair of Amnesty International Turkey and a tireless asylum rights lawyer in Izmir, had been arrested in a dawn raid. Detention orders for 22 other lawyers had also been issued.

Today marks the Day of the Endangered Lawyer, a moment to recognize the threats facing lawyers around the world who dare to stand up for human rights”

Stefan Simanowitz

A month later, Idil Eser, then director of Amnesty Turkey, was arrested along with nine others, including human rights lawyer Günal Kurşun.

Taner Kılıç, Idil Eser and the other nine arrested were all accused of absurd terrorism-related charges and held in pre-trial detention for many months – almost 15 in Taner’s case.

During a three-year trial involving 12 court hearings, each and every allegation presented by the government was comprehensively exposed as a baseless accusation.

And yet, last July, Taner was sentenced to six years and three months in prison for ‘membership of the Fethullah Gülen terrorist organization’. Turkey blames the Gülen movement for the 2016 attempted coup.

İdil Eser, Günal Kurşun and another human rights defender, Özlem Dalkıran, were also convicted and sentenced to one year and 13 months for ‘assisting the Fethullah Gülen terrorist organization’. A few months later in November, a regional appeals court upheld the unfathomable convictions, rubberstamping the miscarriage of justice. The four defenders have taken their case to the highest appeals court.

The fact that these politically motivated verdicts swept up several lawyers drove home the increased danger to the legal community in Turkey. Their cases are far from rare. Detaining lawyers has become routine practice, deepening the climate of fear and repression across the country.

Hundreds of lawyers are now believed to be in pre-trial detention or serving prison terms in Turkey’s overcrowded jails. They are regularly targeted through abusive criminal investigations and unfair prosecutions, accused of the alleged crimes of their clients.

Veteran human rights lawyer, Eren Keskin, has been on the receiving end of more than 100 criminal prosecutions for her role as a ‘symbolic editor’ of the now shuttered Özgür Gündem newspaper. If the sentences pending against her, Taner and Günal are upheld on appeal, all three, who are currently on bail, would be sent to prison and unable to practice law again.







Day of the Endangered Lawyer