Daily Archives: 25/03/2021

The Philippines: De Lima to Supreme Court: So many lawyers had to die before you spoke

24/03/21

The road to rare SC statement on attacks on lawyers: Threats, killings, and pleas to courts

Senator Leila de Lima says President Rodrigo Duterte is ‘a monster that the SC helped create’

Detained opposition senator Leila de Lima was not so pleased with the rare public statement of the Supreme Court (SC) on lawyers’ killings, saying it came too late.

“It is unfortunate that so many lawyers had to die before the Supreme Court acted,” De Lima said in a dispatched message from Camp Crame on Wednesday, March 24.

The SC, acting en banc or as a whole, issued a rare statement on Tuesday, March 23, condemning killings of lawyers and laying out an action plan to collate reports for 5 weeks, and assess what institutional changes can be made to protect the legal profession.

Based on the last consolidated data, there have been 61 lawyers, judges, and prosecutors killed in the last 5 years of the Duterte administration. This is a disproportionate number because the same data would show 49 lawyers, judges, and prosecutors were killed in a span of 44 years under the presidencies of Ferdinand Marcos to Benigno Aquino III.

There were successive killings in November 2020, and by January 2021 when the SC and the Department of Justice started dialogues, another lawyer died in Bukidnon.

[…]

The SC’s rare public statement did not specifically address the surge of lawyers’ killings under Duterte. Its data gathering, in fact, will cover the last 10 years. The statement also did not address the accusation that some state agents are behind the killings and threats.

A study by the Free Legal Assistance Group showed at least 4 of the 61 cases had police as perpetrators. The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers has a pending appeal to the SC for the writ of amparo – a protective remedy – from harassment they claim is from the military.

“We are aware that there are wayward elements who, in their zeal to do what they think is necessary, would simply brush aside the limitations in our law as mere obstacles,” said the SC’s statement, not specifying who the elements are.

“This should never be countenanced, for it is only in the enjoyment of our inalienable and indivisible rights that our freedoms become meaningful,” added the Court.

[…]

https://www.rappler.com/nation/de-lima-message-supreme-court-many-lawyers-had-to-die-before-speaking

https://cnnphilippines.com/news/2021/3/24/senate-resolution-vs.-killings–violence-against-lawyers–judges.html

https://manilastandard.net/news/national/350368/ibp-lawmakers-laud-sc-stance-on-law-threats.html

Statement of CHR spokesperson, Atty Jacqueline Ann de Guia, on the Supreme Court’s courses of action in addressing cases of killings and harassment of lawyers and judges

https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2021/03/24/2086683/road-rare-sc-statement-attacks-lawyers-threats-killings-and-pleas-courts

https://abogado.com.ph/ibp-grateful-with-supreme-courts-statement-vs-abogado-killings/

https://www.thestar.com.my/aseanplus/aseanplus-news/2021/03/24/philippines039-top-court-probes-deadly-violence-against-lawyers-judges

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Nigeria: Lawyers in Imo suspend court sittings over abduction of colleague

24/03/21

Lawyers, AGF

Lawyers and judiciary workers in Imo suspended court sitting yesterday to protest against the kidnap of a lawyer Barr. Chima Awurum.

Awurum was kidnapped by gunmen last Friday in Mbano/Etiti, Imo.

Secretary of the Imo branch of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Chinedu Agu, said in a memorandum yesterday that there must be strict compliance with the directive to down tools.

Agu said that the request to suspend court sitting was approved by the Acting Chief Judge on the state, Ijeoma Oguguo and signed by the Chief Registrar, C.N Okereke.

The memorandum read: “The Office of the Chief Registrar, High Court of Imo State, has declared that in  solidarity with the Mbano/Etiti Branch of the NBA, the High Courts and Magistrates Courts will not sit on Tuesday.’’

[…]

https://guardian.ng/news/imo-bar-bench-protest-against-kidnap-of-lawyer-suspend-sitting/

https://dailytrust.com/imo-lawyers-ground-court-activities-to-protest-colleagues-kidnap

Belarus: Lawyer Siarhej Zikratski, who defended activists & journalists, disbarred

24/03/21

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Authorities intensified their crackdown on dissent in Belarus ahead of planned protests against the nation’s authoritarian president and detained dozens of people Wednesday, according to human rights activists.

The opposition is planning demonstrations Thursday to mark Freedom Day, the anniversary of the country’s 1918 declaration of independence.

Protests have rattled Belarus since the summer, when official results from an August presidential election gave President Alexander Lukashenko a sixth term in office by a landslide. The opposition and some poll workers have said the election was rigged.

The president’s top challenger, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, urged Belarusians to launch a new wave of anti-Lukashenko rallies starting Thursday.

Authorities have banned any demonstrations. The chief of Belarus’ security agency, which still goes by the Soviet-era name KGB, warned against “attempts to destabilize the situation in the country.”

Police detained at least 42 people in 10 Belarusian cities on Wednesday, according to the Viasna human rights center.

Earlier this week, police also arrested Mikalay Kazlou, the leader of the opposition United Civic Party, and Andżelika Borys, head of the Union of Poles of Belarus.

Borys was sentenced to 15 days in jail on charges of organizing an unsanctioned meeting, which her group dismissed as “an act of intimidation of the Polish minority.”

In another move to stifle dissent, Belarus’ Justice Ministry announced Wednesday that it had stripped a lawyer who has defended opposition activists and independent journalists, Siarhej Zikratski, of his license to practice.

[…]

https://www.startribune.com/belarus-authorities-arrest-dozens-ahead-of-planned-protests/600038026/

https://www.volkskrant.nl/nieuws-achtergrond/bereik-als-advocaat-in-belarus-nog-maar-eens-een-rechtszaal-de-wet-werkt-niet~b1f0f713/ (NEDERLANDS)

https://www.impala.pt/noticias/politica/bielorrussia-autoridades-fazem-dezenas-de-detencoes-na-vespera-de-protestos/ (PORTUGUES)