Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), has ordered a thorough investigation on the assassination of a female lawyer and her husband who were shot by a sniper outside their house in Davao City.
Eleazar said the use of sniper in the killing of Hilda Mahinay-Sapie and her husband Muhaimen Mohammad Sapie on July 14 was an indication that it was well-planned.
It was the female lawyer who was first shot after she was asked to check on her vehicle. Her husband was also shot dead when he went out to check on her wife who was then slumped in front of their house.
“It was well-planned that it why we are focusing on all the possible motive of the attack and the people who planned this incident,” said Eleazar.
Authorities said the couple just finished their radio program when the crime happened.
Eleazar expressed confidence that this case would be resolved in no time.
“In the meantime, let us wait for the result of the investigation. I am confident that this will be resolved,” said Eleazar.
The Davao City police has said they are looking at all possible angles for the crime, including the cases on land disputes which were handled by the victims.
Authorities already obtained a CCTV footage which could be of help in the investigation.
The report finds that in seven cases, the government of Belarus arrested, detained, and prosecuted individual lawyers who appear to have been targeted for their work defending human rights, protestors, or opposition figures or for themselves being associated with the opposition or exercising their rights to freedom of expression, assembly, and association.
In other cases, the report documents the disciplinary proceedings and the subsequent disbarments that have been used against lawyers who represent political opponents of the government or those who openly criticize the government on issues of public significance. The report also identifies cases where the Ministry of Justice’s Qualification Commission, in a series of arbitrary re-certification examinations, pressured and disqualified lawyers who appeared to be working on human rights cases.
“The ABA has repeatedly called on the government of Belarus to end the flagrant human rights abuses and adhere to its constitutional and treaty law obligations to ensure basic rights and the rule of law,” ABA President Patricia Lee Refo said. “Unfortunately, the government has only grown bolder in its attempts to silence critical voices.”
Lawyers must be able to carry out their professional obligations free from intimidation, hindrance, harassment, or improper interference.
On 19 July 2021, the Moscow City Court rejected Ivan Pavlov’s lawyer’s appeal and left the restriction measures against the human rights lawyer unchanged. Ivan Pavlov has been under criminal investigation since April 2021, when he was accused of “disclosure of the data of a preliminary investigation” relating to one of his clients, former journalist Ivan Safronov. On 16 July 2021 Roskomnadzor blocked the website of the human rights lawyer’s organisation, Team 29, based on a request from the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation. According to the notification of the Prosecutor General’s Office, they identified Team 29 with an NGO called Společnost Svobody Informace registered in the Czech Republic, which is included in the list of undesirable organizations. Based on this, the Team 29 members were forced to suspend the work of the organisation in order to protect its team who may be targeted because of the connection with the “undesirable” organization.
On 19 July 2021, the Moscow City Court rejected Ivan Pavlov’s lawyer’s appeals against the decision of the Basmanny District Court of Moscow and left the restriction measures against Ivan Pavlov unchanged, even though more than 40 lawyers filed complaints against the previous decision of the Court and 18 lawyers were in the Court hearings on 19 July. Pavlov’s lawyers provided the Court with more than 500 sureties/guarantees for Ivan Pavlov from Russian writers, professors, media workers, politicians and human rights defenders. More than 35 lawyers signed a petition demanding to stop the prosecution of Ivan Pavlov.
Ivan Pavlov is a prominent human rights lawyer and director of Team 29, an association of lawyers and journalists. His legal work focuses on defending those wrongly accused by the security services of disclosing state secrets, high treason, or espionage. He has also been working to ensure public access to government information, and with this aim founded the Institute for the Development of Freedom of Information which was designated as a “foreign agent” by the Russian authorities in 2014. In 2015, Team 29 was established to provide consultation and legal aid to individuals asserting their right to receive and distribute information, defend victims abused by law enforcement and security agencies, provide recommendations on how to respond to searches, interrogations, arrests, etc. Ivan Pavlov has also contributed to the development of Russian legislation on the right to freedom of information. He received the Moscow Helsinki Group Award for defending human rights in court in 2015 and the Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism in 2018, awarded by Human Rights Watch to activists who put themselves at great risk to protect the dignity and rights of others.