Daily Archives: 04/06/2021

Burma: Myanmar Junta Detains Pro Bono Lawyer Representing Kachin Protesters

04/06/21

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Junta police detained a pro-bono lawyer working for political activists in Kachin State’s capital Myitkyina on Wednesday.

U Thet Tun Oo had been voluntarily helping civilians detained and charged by the military regime under Article 505 (a) of the Penal Code for incitement.

The lawyer was detained at a court hearing inside Myitkyina Prison.

“He was waiting for another case at the prison court when the police took him away for ‘questioning’. We have lost contact with him since,” said one of his colleagues.

The lawyer is reportedly being held at Myitkyina’s police station and is not allowed to meet his relatives.

“We don’t yet know if he will be charged. Some say he will be charged with incitement. He has not committed any crime and he was only helping those charged under 505,” said the colleague.

U Thet Tun Oo, who is also a central executive committee member of the Independent Lawyers’ Association of Myanmar, has reportedly been acting for free for over 120 detainees since the coup, including National League for Democracy Kachin State ministers, and protesters and reporters detained while covering protests in Myitkyina and Waingmaw townships.

Pro-bono lawyers acting for protesters said they have been threatened and pressured by the regime.

“We have been threatened and asked by the military council if we oppose it because we are acting for those who defy the military. From a legal perspective, we are impartial,” said another Kachin pro-bono lawyer.

Lawyers said they are not allowed to meet their clients in private or talk freely to the media about the trials.

A Yangon-based lawyer acting for those charged under Article 505(a) said: “There is heavy pressure. I received a death threat over the phone last month.

[…]

https://aappb.org/?lang=en

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Hong Kong/China: Tiananmen: Hong Kong vigil organiser arrested on 32nd anniversary

04/06/21

Chow Hang-tung, barrister and a leader of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China.

Pro-democracy activist Chow Hang Tung has been arrested by Hong Kong police on the 32nd anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.

Chow is vice chairwoman of the Hong Kong Alliance which organises annual vigils for victims of Beijing’s deadly crackdown on democracy protesters.

She has been arrested for promoting unauthorised assembly.

It comes as Hong Kong has banned the vigil for the second year running, citing coronavirus restrictions.

Hong Kong and Macau are the only places in Chinese territory where people can commemorate the deadly 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.

But this year, authorities in Macau also banned the vigil for the second year in a row, saying it would violate local criminal laws.

Chow was arrested early in the morning outside her office by officers in plain clothes, according to reports.

She was placed in a black saloon car and driven away, the AFP news agency said.

Speaking to the BBC ahead of her arrest, Chow, who is also a lawyer and a human rights activist, said she was prepared for the inevitable.

“I am prepared to be arrested. This is how Hong Kong is now. If you fight for democracy under an authoritarian regime, being arrested is unavoidable. Let it come. I am willing to pay the price for fighting for democracy,” she said.

Huge crowds usually gather in Hong Kong’s Victoria Park each year to mark the anniversary of Chinese troops crushing peaceful democracy protests in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on 4 June 1989.

Troops and tanks opened fire on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing – estimates of the dead vary from a few hundred to several thousand.

But last year, Hong Kong banned the vigil for the first time in 30 years – citing virus concerns.

[…]

https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/world/444076/tiananmen-hong-kong-vigil-organiser-arrested-on-32nd-anniversary

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-57353803

https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/politics/article/3135986/tiananmen-vigil-organiser-arrested-june-4-anniversary

https://apnews.com/article/asia-pacific-hong-kong-arrests-media-e0ab09dbd166881844d4424f5364fc66

https://www.voanews.com/east-asia-pacific/hong-kong-begins-crackdown-tiananmen-commemorations-arrest-vigil-organizer

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/hongkong-tiananmen-06032021084544.html

https://www.ibtimes.sg/who-chow-hang-tung-hong-kong-arrests-tiananmen-vigil-organizer-anniversary-killing-57945

https://www.hkba.org/barrister/chow-hang-tung-ms

https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2021/06/01/2003758381

https://www.france24.com/fr/asie-pacifique/20210604-tiananmen-une-militante-pro-d%C3%A9mocratie-chow-hang-tung-arr%C3%AAt%C3%A9e-%C3%A0-hong-kong (FRANCAIS)

https://www.nouvelobs.com/monde/20210604.AFP9224/hong-kong-arrestation-d-une-des-organisatrices-de-la-veillee-de-tiananmen.html

https://www.letemps.ch/opinions/appel-defendre-avocats-chine

https://www.europapress.es/internacional/noticia-detienen-hong-kong-activista-chow-hang-tung-conmemoracion-masacre-tiananmen-20210604045051.html (ESPANOL)

https://www.diepresse.com/5988828/aktivistin-chow-hang-tung-an-tiananmen-jahrestag-festgenommen (DEUTSCH)

Iran: More Defense Attorneys Prosecuted in Iran for Defending Human Rights

01/06/21

The state policy of persecuting and imprisoning independent defense lawyers under false charges for doing their jobs is continuing under Iranian Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi, who is running for the presidency in June 2021.

In addition to at least four defense attorneys who are currently imprisoned in the country, two others were recently prosecuted: Farzaneh Zilabi, a lawyer representing workers in their dispute with a sugar company in southwest Iran, and Mohammad Hadi Erfanian-Kaseb, who represented a political prisoner that was stabbed to death.

“The court can accept or reject arguments presented by defense lawyers, but it cannot put pressure on them or silence them in this manner,” Zilabi’s lawyer Nasser Zarafshan said in an interview with the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on May 27, 2021.

“When a lawyer comes under threat for carrying out her professional duties and loses her job under Paragraph C of Article 247, that’s a clear case of censorship,” he added.

“If invoking that section of the law becomes the norm in the judiciary… lawyers will no longer have the freedom to defend their clients or any protection against threats to their profession,” he said.

Zilabi’s lawyer continued: “If this precedent becomes the norm, Article 247 will hang like a knife over lawyers’ heads, especially in these kinds of cases, and they will not be able to fully and freely defend their clients for fear of losing their livelihood.”

Zarafshan stressed that Zilabi’s case could affect the legal profession as a whole and called on the Iranian Bar Association to defend its members against the judiciary’s resolve to crush defense attorneys’ independence.

Lawyers Suspended for Defending Their Clients

On May 15, 2021, Zilabi was suspended from practicing law for six months while Erfanian-Kaseb was sentenced to 95 days in prison earlier that month.

Other lawyers currently serving prison sentences include Nasrin SotoudehMohammad NajafiAmirsalar Davoudi, and Giti Pourfazel.

[…]

https://iranhr.net/en/articles/4743/

https://www.avatoday.net/node/14668

https://iran-hrm.com/index.php/2021/05/16/iranian-lawyer-sentenced-to-prison-for-giving-interview-to-media-outlets/

https://www.radiofarda.com/a/farzaneh-zilabi-lawyer-for-the-haft-tappeh-workers-in-iran/31256292.html (FARSI)

https://ir.voanews.com/persiannewsiran/iran-lawyer-human-rights-farzaneh-zilabi-mohammad-hadi-erfanian

https://ir.voanews.com/latestnews/iran-lawyer-human-rights-farzaneh-zilabi

(FRANCAIS)