Daily Archives: 09/02/2021

Azerbaijan: Azerbaijani rights lawyer vows to fight on despite disbarment proceedings

09/02/21

Prominent Azerbaijani human rights lawyer Shahla Humbatova has vowed to fight disbarment procedures against her despite what she says is a campaign of ‘harassment and threats’ from the Bar Association.

The Azerbaijani Bar Association has accused Humbatova of submitting a fake document as evidence during a civil case she was litigating, a criminal offence. They have also accused her of owing ₼460 ($270) in membership fees. 

The association has taken her to court in an attempt to disbar her, which would strip her of the right to practice law.

Humbatova is well known in Azerbaijan for taking on high-profile human rights cases, including those of queer Azerbaijanis as well as blogger Mehman Huseynov. The move to disbar her follows the disbarment of dozens of other human rights lawyers in recent years, leaving few remaining lawyers taking on such cases. 

Speaking with OC Media, Humbatova insisted the accusations were politically motivated.

She said the allegation she submitted fake documents was baseless, and that her defence had submitted evidence proving this.

She also said that Anar Baghirov, Chair of the Presidium of the Bar Association, had already requested that the Prosecutor’s office investigate this. Earlier this year the Anti Corruption Department found no evidence of a crime in her actions. 

She confirmed that she had owed eight months of membership fees, but insisted the association did not make any effort to notify her of this.

‘I learned about this from the media the day after the Board’s decision [to take me to court]’, she said. 

Humbatova stated that she immediately made the payment, so when the Bar went to court with her disbarment request, there was no longer any debt. 

[…]

https://www.djs-jds.ch/fr/1854-day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-fr

[:en]Lawyer Shahla Gumbatova refused to testify at the prosecutor’s office[:]

Click to access List-of-disbarred-lawyers-in-Azerbaijan-Feb-2020.pdf

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

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shahla_Humbatova (FRANCAIS)

Iran/Canada: Iranian Professor Jailed After Attending Training Course In Prague

09/02/21

Reza Eslami is a professor at Tehran's Shahid Beheshti University.

A Revolutionary Court in Iran has sentenced a law professor to seven years in prison after convicting him of “cooperating with an enemy state.”

The U.S.-based Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) reported on February 8 that Reza Eslami, a professor at Tehran’s Shahid Beheshti University, had been also banned from teaching and leaving the country.

The sentence, subject to appeal, was issued by Judge Abolghassem Salavati, who presides over Branch 15 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court. Salavati was placed under U.S. sanctions in 2019 for issuing harsh sentences against journalists, activists, and others.

Eslami, a dual Iranian-Canadian national and a graduate of Canada’s McGill University, was arrested in May and charged with “cooperating with an enemy state through his participation in a law training course in the Czech Republic,” HRANA reported.

Eslami reportedly dismissed the charges against him as “baseless” in an audio recording released from prison, where he also said that his academic work was free of “political, security and foreign-relations issues.”

A total of 15 people have reportedly been charged over the case. Of those, 14 have been acquitted of the charge of cooperating with the United States.

People close to the professor have said that the training course was organized by a Czech NGO that receives funds from the United States.

They had said that Eslami, who taught human rights and the rule of law before his arrest, had no contacts with anyone from the U.S. administration.

[…]

https://www.rferl.org/a/iranian-professor-jailed-after-attending-training-course-in-prague/31093818.html

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iran/090220211

UK/USA/Ireland/Kashmir etc: International lawyers coalition condemns erosion of protection for legal advocates in letter to UN rights expert

08/02/21

Image result for hands off lawyers

A coalition of international legal advocates sent a joint letter Saturday to Professor Mary Lawlor, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, condemning the growing trend of government officials intimidating and endangering the legal representatives of politically controversial clients. They also called for greater protections to be granted to advocates, the clients they represent, and for the UN to address the diminishing safety of legal advocates worldwide.

The UK based advocacy organization CAGE submitted the joint letter on behalf of 45 signatories. The list of signatories comprises numerous well-known legal professionals including Stanley Cohen, Aamer Anwar, Michael Finucane, Fahad Ansari, David Hugh Southey, David Gottlieb, and Gareth Pierce. The letter cites many examples of these deteriorating protections for human rights advocates and NGOs that represent individuals accused of politically motivated violence. The group also asserts that these advocates are “routinely harassed and vilified by the press, threatened by the public, and intimidated, incarcerated, and assassinated by the state and its agents.” Despite suffering from systemic abuse, the group claims that these advocates have no legal recourse because the governments themselves are often complicit in the abuse.

While many autocratic regimes are well-known for their persecution of human rights advocates and legal representatives, the group underscores that despite chronic underreporting on the subject, there is a growing prevalence of these state abuses in “developed” nations. Solicitor Fahad Ansari elaborated on this point by saying that “lawyers in many parts of the developed world fare much better than their counterparts in the global South” when advocates “hail from minority communities and share the religion and/or ethnicity of their clients, the animosity towards the client is projected by extension to their lawyer.” The letter also provides many prominent examples of such politically motivated animus by government officials and the sometimes deadly repercussions this normalization of degrading legal representatives can have for the advocates themselves.

[…]

https://www.jurist.org/news/2021/02/international-lawyers-coalition-condemns-erosion-of-protection-for-legal-advocates-in-letter-to-un-rights-expert/

https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/SRHRDefenders/Pages/MaryLawlor.aspx