In a joint statement, Lawyers for Lawyers, AIJA – International Association of Young Lawyers, the Institute for the Rule of Law of the International Association of Lawyers (UIA-IROL), the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI), Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, The Law Society of England and Wales, and The Netherlands Helsinki Committee express concern about access to the legal profession and the increasing number of disbarments in Turkey.
We, the undersigned organizations, have long been deeply concerned about the increasingly challenging and hostile environment in which lawyers in Turkey have had to operate since the state of emergency following the attempted coup in July 2016. Lawyers have been subjected to judicial harassment, including mass arrests, raids, violent attacks, threats, surveillance, illegitimate criminal charges, unfair trials and harsh sentences in disregard of the most basic principles of the rule of law.
We are worried about another tool used by the government to further target and pressure lawyers, by preventing individuals who are being investigated, prosecuted or dismissed by emergency decrees which have now become part of the permanent law, from enrolling in law apprenticeships or obtaining their license to practice law.[i] This systematic practice has increased considerably since the state of emergency.[ii] We are also alarmed about the growing number of lawyers who have seen their licenses to practice law annulled on the same grounds.
The video of the horrifying attack was shared by Advocate Madan J Gupta on Twitter which showed 5-6 men attacking the Mumbai lawyer with weapons.
In a shocking incident, an advocate was attacked with swords and sticks in broad daylight in Mumbai’s Borivali area on Sunday. The lawyer Satyadev Joshi was intercepted by a group of weapon-yielding goons on the street after they stopped his car mid-way. Forcing him to step out, the group of goons brutally lynched Joshi with swords and sticks.
The video of the horrifying attack was shared by Advocate Madan J Gupta on Twitter which showed 5-6 men attacking the lawyer with weapons as passersby ignore the incident. The client was also reportedly traveling with the lawyer when he was attacked. The incident has raised serious questions on the law and order situation in the financial capital.
Three arrested by Mumbai Police
Taking cognizance of the matter, the Mumbai Police has registered an FIR in the case, as per news agency ANI. The FIR has been filed under sections 307, 326,324, 504, and 506 of the IPC at the MHB police station in Borivali. Three persons identified from the video have been arrested as well.
The reason behind the attack is yet to be disclosed by the Mumbai Police however reports have claimed that it was allegedly over a property dispute with a Mumbai developer. The lawyer is said to have been brutally injured in the incident. He is seeking treatment at the hospital in Kandivali. More details are awaited.
Leaked records show dissidents and those who help them prominent among those under threat from NSO spyware
A leak of phone data suggests human rights lawyers, activists and dissidents across the globe were selected as possible candidates for invasive surveillance through their phones.
Their mobile phone numbers appeared in leaked records, indicating they were selected prior to possible surveillance targeting by governmental clients of the Israeli company NSO Group, which developed the Pegasus spyware.
The records were obtained by the nonprofit organisation Forbidden Stories and shared with a consortium of media outlets including the Guardian.
NSO has repeatedly said Pegasus, which can access all data on a target’s device as well as turn it into an audio or video recorder, is meant for use only against terrorists and serious criminals.
The selection of activists, dissidents and journalists by NSO clients paints a very different picture, though one that campaigners will say was grimly predictable given the tool has been sold to some of the world’s most repressive regimes.
The lawyers at risk from surveillance
Lawyers also feature heavily in the leaked data.
Rodney Dixon,a prominent London-based lawyer, who has taken on numerous high-profile human rights cases, was selected for targeting in 2019. Forensic analysis of his device showed Pegasus-related activity but no successful infection.
His clients have included Matthew Hedges, a British doctoral student jailed in the UAE, and Hatice Cengiz, the fiancee of the murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. She was also targeted with Pegasus, with forensics showing evidence of a successful infection.
Dixon said: “No one should be targeted in this fashion. For lawyers it is particularly concerning as it violates the fundamental principles of lawyer-client privilege and confidentiality, which are central to fair and just legal proceedings.”
Forensic analysis on the phone of the French human rights lawyer Joseph Breham shows it was compromised multiple times with Pegasus in 2019, and the leaked records suggest he had previously been selected for potential targeting by Morocco.