Daily Archives: 17/06/2021

Azerbaijan: Deteriorating health and ongoing arbitrary detention of Elchin Mammad

16/06/21

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The Observatory has been informed about the deteriorating health conditions and ongoing arbitrary detention of Elchin Mammad, human rights lawyer, President of the Social Union of Legal Education of Sumgait Youth (SULESY), an NGO providing free legal assistance to low income families and non-profits, as well as the Editor-in-chief of the newspaper Yukselish Namine, which publishes articles on human rights concerns in the country.

On June 12, 2021, Elchin Mammad was transferred to the Main Medical Department of the Ministry of Justice (Central Penitentiary hospital), following an order from the Ministry of Justice of Azerbaijan. Elchin Mammad’s health condition has drastically deteriorated while detained in prison No. 14 of the Penitentiary Service of the Ministry of Justice as a result of not receiving adequate medical care. Six days before his transfer to the penitentiary hospital, Elchin Mammad fainted. Moreover, he has lost a significant amount of weight while in detention, has trouble walking and swollen legs. Being ill with Hepatitis C, his health condition is particularly concerning and puts him at high risk of contracting Covid-19 in view of the overcrowding and poor prison conditions in Azerbaijan.

The Observatory recalls that on March 30, 2020, the police arrested Mr. Elchin Mammad at his home in the city of Sumgait, a few days after he had published online a critical report on the human rights situation in Azerbaijan. The police claimed to have found stolen jewellery worth 7,500 manats (around 4,070 Euros) and ammunition at his office. The Sumgait City Court remanded Mr. Elchin Mammad in custody on charges of “theft causing significant damage” and “illegal purchase and possession of firearm accessories”. On October 14, 2020, the Sumgait City Court sentenced Mr. Elchin Mammad to four years in prison.

The Observatory further recalls that the circumstances in which the verdict was handed down suggest that Mr. Elchin Mammad did not benefit from a fair trial. The evidence heard at the trial was inconsistent and should not have led to Mr. Mammad’s conviction, while the investigation phase also appeared to have been marred by police tampering of evidence. Yet, on February 19, 2021, the Sumgayit Court of Appeal upheld the four-year prison sentence of Elchin Mammad and concluded that his right to a fair trial was respected during the judicial proceedings in his case. Mr. Mammad’s lawyer appealed the decision before the Supreme Court of Azerbaijan. His appeal hearing will take place on July 7, 2021.

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https://www.fidh.org/en/issues/human-rights-defenders/azerbaijan-deteriorating-health-and-ongoing-arbitrary-detention-of

https://www.turan.az/ext/news/2021/6/free/Social/en/4963.htm

https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/eur55/3340/2020/en/

Burma: Myanmar: Arbitrary detention of 5 lawyers

17/06/21

International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) | Human Rights Connected

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The Observatory has received information about a wave of arbitrary arrests targeting lawyers in Myanmar. According to the information received, between May 24 and June 10, 2021, the military junta’s security forces arbitrarily arrested and detained five lawyers who provided legal defense to protesters and other individuals arrested following the February 1 coup d’état. Four of the five lawyers have been charged with “incitement”, under Article 505(a) of the Penal Code [1].

On June 10, 2021, Nilar and Hpone Myat Thu, were arrested in the border town of Myawaddy, Kayin [Karen] State, while they were attempting to cross into Thailand. They appeared in court a day after their arrest and, at the time of publication of this Urgent Appeal, were being held at Myawaddy’s central police station. The next hearing in their case is scheduled for June 25, 2021. The “incitement” charges against the two stem from their defense of political prisoners, including Kayin State’s ousted Chief Minister Nan Khin Htwe Myint and Hpa-An Technical High School Principal Cho Yu Mon, who were arrested after the February 1 coup for taking part in peaceful anti-junta protests.

On June 2, 2021, Thet Htun Oo, a pro-bono lawyer and Central Executive Committee member of the Independent Lawyers’ Association of Myanmar, was arrested while in court inside Myitkyina Prison, Kachin State, where he was assisting individuals who had been detained under Article 505(a). The charges against him are not known at the time of publication of this Urgent Appeal.

In the evening of May 27, 2021, Ayeyar Lin Htut was abducted from Hinthada District Court by SAC Terrorist Group [2] and charged with incitement under Article 505(a). At the time of publication of this Urgent Appeal, she was being held in Hinthada Prison in Ayeyarwady [Irrawaddy] Region. Ayeyar Lin Htut was representing political prisoners arrested following the coup.

On May 24, 2021, Thein Hlaing Tun, who represented ousted Naypyidaw Mayor Myo Aung, was arrested while he tried to meet with his client at a special court in Naypyidaw. Thein Hlaing Tun was charged under Article 505(a).

The Observatory condemns the arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of lawyers, which is inconsistent with international human rights standards, including the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, [3] which guarantee the protection of lawyers in the course of their work and prohibit their prosecution in relation to cases they defend. The Observatory expresses grave concern over the high risk of torture, enforced disappearance, and summary execution the five lawyers are facing while in custody. The Observatory remains concerned by the ongoing actions by the military junta to curtail fundamental rights, including the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly, and to a fair trial.

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

https://www.voanews.com/middle-east/icc-swears-top-global-defense-lawyer-prosecutor