Monthly Archives: June 2021

Morocco/Belgium: Christophe Marchand, l’avocat de Omar Radi interdit d’accès au Maroc

29/06/21

L’avocat belge Christophe Marchand a été interdit d’accès au Maroc, à son arrivée à l’aéroport Mohammed V de Casablanca, le lundi 28 juin vers 21 heures. Il devait assister au procès du journaliste Omar Radi, prévu le lendemain, a rapporté le journal belge lesoir.be.

Dans une vidéo mise en ligne par l’avocat sur Facebook, Me Marchand précise que « j’ai passé la nuit dans une salle dans la zone de transit. Je n’ai pas mon passeport. Le vol pour Bruxelles est prévu à 12h50 (mardi 29 juin). »

Le cabinet d’avocats “Jus Cogens” précise dans un communiqué de protestation que l’avocat sera expulsé vers la Belgique dans le courant de la journée du mardi, “l’avocat a passé la nuit du lundi à mardi dans la zone de transit de l’aéroport de Casablanca.”

En Europe, l’avocat belge est connu pour sa défense de plusieurs personnalités dans des affaires médiatisées. C’est le cas notamment du fondateur de Wikileaks, Julian Assange. Au Maroc, il avait pris la défense du détenu belge Ali Aarass mais aussi d’Abdelkader Belliraj.

https://www.yabiladi.com/articles/details/111769/affaire-omar-radi-l-avocat-christophe.html

https://plus.lesoir.be/381201/article/2021-06-29/un-avocat-belge-expulse-du-maroc

https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2021/06/343151/moroccos-decision-to-deny-entry-to-belgian-lawyer-christophe-marchand-is-sovereign (ENGLISH)

https://manilastandard.net/news/world-news/358446/moroccan-journalist-radi-protests-detention-before-judge.html

https://myprivacy.dpgmedia.be/consent/?siteKey=Uqxf9TXhjmaG4pbQ&callbackUrl=https%3a%2f%2fwww.hln.be%2fprivacy-gate%2faccept-tcf2%3fredirectUri%3d%252fbuitenland%252fbelgische-advocaat-wordt-marokko-uitgewezen%257ea20dca9f%252f (VLAAMS)

https://www.swissinfo.ch/spa/marruecos-libertades–actualizaci%C3%B3n-_marruecos-expulsa-a-un-abogado-belga-que-asist%C3%ADa-a-juicio-de-un-periodista/46746256 (ESPANOL)

https://www.noticiasaominuto.com/mundo/1785115/marrocos-expulsa-advogado-belga-que-compareceu-a-julgamento-de-jornalista (PORTUGUES)

Nicaragua: Jailed Opposition Leaders Denied Legal Representation

28/06/21

Lawyers chosen by relatives of those in jail are “annulled” by the courts and are now being threatened and told to abandon these cases.

The 21 hostages imprisoned by the Ortega-Murillo government over the last few weeks have been stripped of their Constitutional protections, as well as their freedom. Since being imprisoned, their rights and guarantees are ignored, and the police won’t allow them to meet with their lawyers and relatives.

In addition, the Public Prosecutor’s Office has demanded 90 days of detention, supposedly for purposes of conducting an investigation. The Court rejected all the legal appeals that were filed and has assigned them public defenders. All of this leaves the victims completely defenseless.

The lack of guarantees and the due process violations “have been generalized” over the last three years, states Attorney Gonzalo Carrion of the Nicaragua Nunca+ [Never again] Human Rights Collective. But it’s more notorious now, because it’s happening in 100% of the cases.

The lawyers chosen by the prisoners’ relatives “were annulled” by the Court “only one, as an exception, had a very short interview with their client. That’s not a defense,” Carrion emphasized.

[…]

Lawyers receive threats

Even though the efforts of the detainees’ lawyers have been fruitless, in the last few weeks they’ve begun receiving threats via their cellphones. This has caused some to abandon these cases, while others have stopped offering declarations to the media. This situation was denounced by relatives of the detained.

A source close to Jose Adan Aguerri explained that the lawyer in charge of his case told them he’d decided to drop it, “due to threats I’ve had”.  “We spent two days without a lawyer,” the source stated. During that time, the family had to knock on a number of doors to obtain a defense attorney for their relative. Aguerri is the former president of the Superior Council of Private Enterprise (Cosep).

Ana Lucia Alvarez, who is Ana Margarita Vijil’s niece, and Tamara Davila’s sister, confirmed that finding a legal defense for the imprisoned opposition members has been, “a completely complex matter in itself”. In addition to the lawyers not being allowed to meet with their clients, they’re “being targeted.”

The threats to the attorneys coincide with the broadcast of an official program where the announcer read off a list of lawyers that defend political prisoners. He then declared that they’re “paid by Cosep”, an organization he classified as a “foreign agent”.

https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/06/22/nicaragua-crackdown-critics-ahead-election

https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/06/1093292

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/un-human-rights-council-47-joint-statement-on-nicaragua-presented-by-the-nicaragua-core-group

https://www.news4jax.com/news/world/2021/06/22/rights-group-calls-for-more-pressure-on-nicaragua-government/

https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/mexican-president-urges-nicaragua-guarantee-rights-free-elections-2021-06-25/

https://edition.cnn.com/2021/06/14/americas/nicaragua-democracy-detentions-analysis-intl-latam/index.html

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2021/06/nicaragua-autoridades-recrudecen-estrategia-represiva-periodo-preelectoral/

https://www.npr.org/2021/06/23/1009339843/has-nicaraguas-president-become-a-dictator-hes-jailing-political-opponents

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/6/8/nicaragua-detains-third-presidential-hopeful-criticism-grows

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/nicaragua-oretga-ensures-pre-election-period-plagued-repression-political

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/nicaraguas-police-spread-fear-with-arrests-raids-daniel-ortega-nicaragua-families-police-two-b1874306.html

https://www.saltwire.com/atlantic-canada/news/world/nicaraguas-ortega-shrugs-off-global-pressure-in-rare-speech-100603832/

https://www.miragenews.com/un-expert-deplores-spate-of-attacks-and-arrests-571153/

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2020/09/trans-women-speak-out-about-nicaraguas-prisons-during-covid19/

(ESPANOL)

https://www.hrw.org/es/news/2021/06/22/nicaragua-represion-de-criticos-de-cara-las-elecciones

https://www.hrw.org/fr/news/2021/06/22/nicaragua-repression-contre-les-opposants-lapproche-de-lelection-presidentielle (FRANCAIS)

https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2021/06/07/au-nicaragua-ortega-prepare-la-voie-a-une-election-sans-opposition_6083207_3210.html

https://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-america-latina-57606688 (PORTUGUES)

Azerbaijan/Belarus: HRC47: Statement on Judges and Lawyers

28/06/21

Human Rights House Foundation has raised the situation for legal professionals in Azerbijan and Belarus during the 47th session of the UN Human Rights Council. The statement was released on the sidelines of the Interactive Dialogue under Item 3, and in response to the Special Rapporteur on the independence of Judges & Lawyer’s report.

We agree with the Special Rapporteur that justice systems have been affected in a number of countries, including through threats or attacks against human rights lawyers.

Prior to the onset of the pandemic, the Azerbaijani lawyer Fuad Aghayev, argued that Azerbaijan “employs several methods to pressure human rights lawyers… It has established political bias in the admission process to the Bar, and suspended or disbarred human rights lawyers”. These continue to be employed in Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan has exploited the pandemic to increase pressure on human rights lawyers. It has used the pandemic to justify insufficient implementation of European Court of Human Rights judgements. In addition, human rights lawyers continue to be harassed and disbarred. In 2020, Azerbaijani Bar Association reprimanded human rights lawyer Javad Javadov for raising a legitimate concern about alleged ill-treatment of his client linked to Covid-19 measures.

In 2021 Shahla Humbatova, one of the handful offew independent human rights lawyers left in the country was disbarred and then reinstated after major international pressure.

A dozen of lawyers remain unlawfully disbarred in Azerbaijan, including human rights lawyers Alaif Hasanov and Khalid Baghirov. Moreover, just like prominent lawyers Intigam Aliyev and Annaghi Hajibeyli, several of the younger human rights lawyers are arbitrarily precluded from joining the Bar Association.

Belarus, in the midst of its own human rights crisis, has carried out numerous disbarments in recent months.

Liudmila Kazak is a prominent Belarusian lawyer with over 20 years defending human rights cases, including many cases involving human rights defenders. She was sentenced and fined for allegedly participating in peaceful protests in September 2020 and was subsequently disbarred in February this year. She is one of many such cases.

[…]

https://news.sky.com/story/meet-the-activists-keeping-the-spirit-of-resistance-alive-in-belarus-12342771

https://www.turan.az/ext/news/2021/6/free/politics_news/en/5402.htm/001

https://www.euronews.com/2021/06/25/roman-protasevich-belarus-journalist-and-girlfriend-sofia-sapega-moved-from-jail-to-house-

https://www.fidh.org/en/region/europe-central-asia/belarus/mobilising-for-justice-in-belarus-fidh-launches-website-tracking

May be an image of 1 person and text that says "" The Council and Special Rapporteur must understand that such disbarments in Azerbaijan and Belarus are unacceptable, constitute violations of both countries' internationa human rights obligations, and are even more concerning having been done during times of crisis. DAVEELSEROAD Head of Advocacy, Human Rights House Foudnation"

Lebanon: Explosion à l’intérieur des locaux de Sakher al-Hashem, avocat impliqué dans plusieurs dossiers critiques

28/06/21

Une explosion aurait touché les bureaux situés Furn el Shebaak de Sakher al-Hashem, avocat en charge de la défense de Hassan Koreytem, ancien directeur du port de Beyrouth, indique-t-on de source médiatique.

Ce dernier a estimé l’explosion qui s’est déroulée comme étant importante et souhaitait qu’il ne s’agisse pas “d’un message qui lui ait destiné” dans le cadre de l’affaire portant sur l’explosion du port de Beyrouth.

Celui-ci serait également en charge du dossier de l’homme d’affaire Liban-brésilien Carlos Ghosn et avait également représenté l’ancien ministre Michel Samaha accusé de terrorisme ou encore l’ancien directeur de la Sureté Générale Jamil el Sayed et de certains établissements bancaires.

https://libnanews.com/en/explosion-a-linterieur-des-locaux-de-sakher-al-hashem-avocat-implique-dans-plusieurs-dossiers-critiques/

http://www.naharnet.com/stories/en/282340-blast-rocks-lawyer-s-office-in-furn-el-chebbak (ENGLISH)

India: “Total Restriction On Lawyers’ Free Speech”: Plea in Kerala High Court Challenges New Bar Council Rules Which Make Criticism Of Its Decisions Ground for Disqualification

28/06/21

Madras High Court, Specify Mechanism, Taking Action Against Advocates, Misbehave With Officials Duty, Bar Council Tamil Nadu, Justice M. Dhandapani,

A petition has been filed before the Kerala High Court by Advocate Rajesh Vijayan, a member of the Kerala Bar Council seeking a declaration that the recently inserted Sections V and V-A of Chapter II of Part VI of the Bar Council of India Rules are unconstitutional and violative of Articles 14, 19 (1) (a), and 21.

The Bar Council of India had recently published a notification dated 25th June 2021 adding Sections V and V-A to Chapter-II, Part VI of the Rules according to which the decision of any State Bar Council or Bar Council of India shall not be criticized or attacked by any Member/s of Bar Council in public domain. The Writ Petition was filed aggrieved by the addition of these provisions, which has the effect of, inter alia, prohibiting criticism and dissent against the Bar Council of India and other Bar Councils, and demanding unquestioning acceptance of all decisions taken by them.

[…]

https://www.livelaw.in/top-stories/plea-in-kerala-hc-challenges-new-bar-council-rules-critizism-decisions-ground-for-disqualification-176412

https://www.barandbench.com/news/new-bci-rules-violative-right-to-free-speech-advocates-petition-kerala-high-court

https://www.indialegallive.com/top-news-of-the-day/news/judicial-activism/

http://www.barcouncilkerala.org/

Burma: Myanmar military targets lawyers defending political prisoners

28/06/21

Lawyers in Myanmar say situation becoming ‘very VERY difficult’ as regime steps up arrests and harassment.

As Myanmar’s military struggles to consolidate its control over a country in revolt, it has increasingly targeted a different type of resistance: lawyers defending political prisoners. In the past month, at least five lawyers have been arrested across Myanmar for defending politicians and activists, an escalation of the military’s assault on the judicial system.

First, in late May, police arrested Thein Hlaing Tun, the lawyer for deposed Naypyidaw Council chairman Myo Aung, a co-defendant of Aung San Suu Kyi. The former elected leader of Myanmar was overthrown by army chief Min Aung Hlaing in a military coup on February 1 after her National League for Democracy party won November’s election in a landslide.

Since the coup, the military regime has killed some 883 civilian protesters and arrested, charged or sentenced more than 6,000 opponents according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, which has been monitoring the situation.

Thein Hlaing Tun and five other lawyers were with their clients on May 24 when he was arrested and charged under section 505A, an incitement charge that carries a three-year prison sentence and has emerged as the favourite tool of the generals. Khin Maung Zaw, the head of Aung San Suu Kyi’s defence team, said Myo Aung was not informed of the arrest until he met the other lawyers on June 7.

“Then he appointed new lawyers among us,” Khin Maung Zaw said in a text message. “We’re worried about other lawyers,” he told Al Jazeera, saying the situation has become “very VERY difficult” due to the danger of “being harassed or arrested” and internal disagreements about how to proceed in a skewed legal system.

Soon after, on May 28, a lawyer from Ayeyarwady Region was arrested during a trial while defending a political dissident. According to local media, she had taken on a few high-profile clients, including the superintendent of a hospital who had gone on strike rather than work under the military regime. She too was charged under section 505A.

[…]

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/6/28/myanmar-lawyers

https://www.fidh.org/en/issues/human-rights-defenders/myanmar-arbitrary-detention-of-5-lawyers

(FRANCAIS)

https://curacaonieuws.nu/leger-van-myanmar-richt-zich-op-advocaten-die-politieke-gevangenen-verdedigen-militair-nieuws/ (NEDERLANDS)

https://kabartotabuan.com/tentara-myanmar-menargetkan-pengacara-yang-membela-tahanan-politik-berita-militer/ (INDONESIAN)

Tajikistan: Tajik Rights Lawyer Says Security Case Opened Against Him In Absentia

25/06/21

Bakhtovar Jumaev (file photo)

Bakhtovar Jumaev, a Moscow-based Tajik lawyer, says officials in Tajikistan have opened a case against him for inciting “extremist activity.”

Jumaev told RFE/RL on June 25 that the Panjakent Organized Crime Department summoned his father a day earlier to inform him that they had opened the proceedings.

“I told him that my son was neither an extremist nor a terrorist, and that the accusations against him were slanderous,” Jumaev’s father said.

The Panjakent police department did not respond to calls from RFE/RL for comment.

Jumaev said earlier this month that officials told his family they should demand his return to Tajikistan.

After the warning, Jumaev left Russia for a third country. Without disclosing details, Jumaev said he had received information that Russian officials were planning to detain and deport him to Tajikistan.

Several Tajik activists in Russia say their relatives in Tajikistan are being targeted by the government in an effort to silence and threaten its critics abroad.

At least 15 Tajik activists have disappeared in Russia since 2015, human rights activists say. 

[…]

https://www.rferl.org/a/tajikistan-rights-lawyer-extremist/31325900.html

https://www.rferl.org/a/tajikistan-critics-missing-russia-disappearances/31297966.html

The Philippines: Isabela prosecutor shot dead

25/06/21

The deputy prosecutor of Ilagan, Isabela was killed in a gun attack in Conner, Apayao on Wednesday.

Victor Begtang Jr. was repairing his vehicle in a residential compound in Barangay Malama when an unidentified man opened fire at around 2:30 p.m., Lt. Carolyn Domyong, Conner police chief, said.

Witnesses said the gunman escaped on a motorcycle driven by his cohort who waited for him along the highway.

Begtang suffered four gunshot wounds in various parts of the body. He died while being treated at the Conner District Hospital.

Probers have yet to determine the motive for the killing.

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)-North Luzon chapter condemned the killing of Begtang, whom they described as a dedicated prosecutor in the province.

The IBP called on the police to immediately solve the case

https://www.philstar.com/nation/2021/06/25/2107892/isabela-fiscal-shot-dead#:~:text=The%20IBP%20called%20on%20the%20police%20to%20immediately%20solve%20the%20case.

https://www.manilatimes.net/2021/06/26/news/regions/prosecutor-shot-dead-in-apayao/1804631

N.B.:

That makes 64 lawyers killed; the data is here:

Summary of violent attacks 

There have been 101 violent attacks against Filipino lawyers (81) legal workers and paralegals {20) under the Duterte regime, July 1, 2016 to 26 June 2021. As a result:  

64 lawyers have been killed, while 17 survived (10 attorneys, 3 judges, 4 prosecutors).  

17 legal workers and human rights paralegals have been killed while 3 paralegals survived.  

Categories of those killed: 

Lawyers: 

  46 Attorneys 

    8  Judges 

  10  Prosecutors 

             64 killed              17 survivors  

Law Workers

    16 Paralegals 

     1 Clerk of a Regional Trial Court  

              17 killed                3 survivors                                            

Total      81 killed              20 survivors 

https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/campaigns/international-rule-of-law/intervention-letters/attacks-against-lawyers-in-the-philippines-further-escalating

Pakistan: Lahore High Court points to several defects in blasphemy case

24/06/21

lahore high court photo lhc gov pk

The Lahore High Court (LHC) has issued its detailed judgment on the appeal of a Christian couple, who were acquitted of blasphemy charges through a summary order earlier this month after spending eight years in jail.

In the judgment, the court has expressed dismay that the additional sessions judge decided the case in a “slipshod manner”. It set aside the Christian couple’s conviction on the grounds of delay in registration of FIR, non-fulfilment of the requirements of confessional statement and not-establishment of motive, etc.

On April 4, 2014, an additional district and sessions judge in Toba Tek Singh had awarded death sentence and a fine of Rs100,000 each to Shagufta Kausar and Shafqat Masih under Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), read with Section 34, for sending blasphemous messages on the phone.

An LHC division bench, comprising Justice Shahbaz Ali Rizvi and Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh, heard the appeal for three straight days and on June 3. The bench allowed the appeal, saying that the prosecution had failed to establish the case against the couple beyond doubt.

“In the instant case, on reappraisal of evidence, we have come to an ineluctable conclusion that the prosecution has failed to establish the charge against the appellants (Christian couple),” read the 25-page judgment, authored by Justice Sheikh.

“We are dismayed that the learned Additional Sessions Judge has decided the case in a slipshod manner. We allow this appeal and set aside the impugned judgment dated 4.4.2014. The appellants are acquitted of the charge,” read the judgment.

[…]

https://tribune.com.pk/story/2306906/lhc-points-to-several-defects-in-blasphemy-case

https://www.indiatoday.in/world/story/pakistan-lawyer-asia-bibi-threat-life-acquits-christian-couple-1817855-2021-06-22

(FRANCAIS)

https://fr.zone-secure.net/109394/1367587/#page=9

Colombia/Day of the Endangered Lawyer: Death Threats Against a Member of CAJAR and the Father of a Victim of the Massacre of Mondoñedo

22/06/21

On the afternoon of June 11, 2021, following the hearings scheduled to provide testimony on the case of the Massacre of Mondoñedo, which took place over a two-week period within the preliminary proceedings for the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), Yessika Hoyos Morales, member of the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective (CAJAR), received the following two text messages :

“Motherfucking Guerrilla Fighter Asking ‘Bout Things That Don’t Matter to You That’s Why We Got More Gas to Burn You Like We Did Your Dead Son That’s What’s Waiting For You You Old Motherfucking Snitch”

“Keep Snitching And You’ll End Up Dead ‘Cause You’re Defending Guerrilla Fighters”

Mr. Alfonso Mora León, the father of Jenner Alfonso Mora Moncaleano, a victim of the Massacre of Mondoñedo, who is represented by Yessika Hoyos Morales, also received these same text messages. Mr. Mora, who in the past has been the target of harassment and other serious threats, took part in the victims delegations participating in the meetings held in Havana, Cuba, as part of the peace dialogues with the former guerrilla group FARC-EP. Likewise, he has been a tireless advocate for truth, justice, peace and guarantees for the non-repetition of such horrific acts as those subjected upon his son.

The massacre of Mondoñedo, which was perpetrated by members of the national police (DIJIN) on September 6 and 7 of 1996, resulted in the deaths of the university students Vladimir Zambrano, Arquímedes Moreno, Jenner Alfonso Mora Moncaleano, and Juan Carlos Palacio Gómez. On September 7, 1996, the students’ bodies were found in the city dump in the town of Mondoñedo, located on the Hacienda “Fute”, near the road from Mosquera to Soacha. Martín Alonso Valdivieso and Federico Quesada, who were from the districts of Fontibón and Kennedy in Bogotá, were also murdered.

Allegedly through the use of witnesses, a unit from the DIJIN had previously identified these students as members of the Antonio Nariño urban network of the FARC guerrilla group. In 1995, this guerrilla unit set off an explosive device in the police station located in the district of Kennedy, Bogotá, which resulted in the death of three members of the police. This police unit took matters into their own hands and murdered the students and incinerated their bodies to evade their recognition. It is for that reason the threat stated they would “burn” him like they did his son.

[…]

(ESPANOL)

https://www.fidh.org/es/temas/defensores-de-derechos-humanos/colombia-amenazas-contra-de-abogada-del-cajar-yessika-hoyos-morales-y