Monthly Archives: September 2021

Concerns about criminal investigation into Thai lawyer Waraporn Utairangsee


Concerns about criminal investigation into Thai lawyer Waraporn Utairangsee

Lawyers for Lawyers is concerned about criminal proceedings that have been initiated against Thai lawyer Waraporn Utairangsee for actions undertaken in her capacity as legal representative of the ethnic Karen minority group.

Waraporn Utairangsee is a lawyer active in Thailand for the Human Rights Lawyers Association, who is currently representing the ethnic Karen minority group. According to our information, criminal proceedings have been initiated against her based on an accusation of giving false information on a criminal offence. Ms. Waraporn was reported to the police by Mr. Chaiwait Limlikhitaksorn, the former Chief of the Kaeng Krachan National Park on 27 July 2021. Ms. Waraporn reported a criminal case against Mr. Chaiwat for burning ethnic Karen villages and forcible eviction of the villagers this village in Kaeng Krachan National Park during 5 to 9 May 2011. Mr. Chaiwat disputes this course of events and has therefore accused Ms. Waraporn and her client, spiritual leader Mr. Ko-I Mimi of the Karen ethnic group of providing false information about a criminal event. According to reports received by Lawyers for Lawyers, the Supreme Administrative Court ruled on 6 October 2016 that the actions of the Kaeng Krachan National Park’s officers, led by Mr. Chaiwat, between 5 to 9 May 2011, were unlawful.

According to the United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, Ms. Waraporn should be able to defend her clients, the ethnic Karen minority group, without being criminally prosecuted for actions and statements made within her capacity as a lawyer, such as reporting a criminal charge against the unlawful behaviour of Mr. Chaiwat. Lawyers for Lawyers emphasizes that lawyers in Thailand should be able to carry out their legitimate professional rights and duties without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.

Lawyers for Lawyers will continue to monitor Ms. Waraporn’s case.

Afghanistan: Afghan lawyer and women’s rights campaigner wins top prize



Freshta Karimi, 38, the founder of the Da Qanoon Ghushtonky (DQG) organisation won the Ludovic-Trarieux International Human Rights Prize, awarded by jurists to their peers.

An Afghan lawyer and rights activist whose work has earned her repeated threats from the Taliban was on Tuesday named the winner of a top human rights prize in Paris.

Freshta Karimi, 38, the founder of the Da Qanoon Ghushtonky (DQG) organisation, one of the largest suppliers of legal aid in Afghanistan, won the Ludovic-Trarieux International Human Rights Prize, awarded by jurists to their peers.

Her organisation works in particular on upholding the rights of woman and children in Afghanistan and she has regularly represented it abroad in recent years.

Since the Taliban seized power last month however, she has kept a lower profile, lawyer Bertrand Favreau, the founder of the prize and chairman of its jury, told AFP.

“For at least five years, she has received threats from the Taliban in all the cities where she has tried to open an office to inform women of their rights,” he said.

That had not stopped her continuing her outreach work however, travelling to even the most remote villages, he added. “Today she is one of the most threatened lawyers in the world.”

Last year, the prize was awarded to two Turkish lawyers, sisters Barkin and Ebru Timtik.

Ebru had died the previous month after a 238-day hunger strike to protest her imprisonment on terror-related accusations. Barkin is serving a lengthy sentence on similar charges.

The Ludovic Trarieux Award is an annual prize which recognises lawyers of any nationality who have sought to defend human rights, often at great risk to themselves.


May be an image of text that says "Prix International des droits de l'homme 1IFR 1840- 1904 Ludovic- Trarieux International Human Rights Prize 2021 Prix International des droits de l'homme Ludovic-Trarieux 2021 Premio Internacional de Derechos Humanos Ludovic Trarieux 2021 Internationalen Ludovic-Tr 2021 Premio Internazionale per Diritti Umani Ludovic Trarieux 2021 Ludovic Trarieux Internationale Mensenrechtenprijs 2021 NOMINATIONS 2021 1. AFGHANISTAN Freshta KARIMI 2. AZERBAÄDJAN 3. AZERBA”DJAN Elchin SADIGOV 4. BIÉLORUSSIE -Liliya ULASAVA 5. BIELORUSSIE -Maksim ZNAK 6. CAMEROUN-Michèle 7. ETATS-UNIS- Steven DONZIGER 8. IRAN Armirsalar DAVOUDI 9. MALAISIE KASIM 10. PAKISTAN- Saif-ul-MALOOK 11. SYRIE- Razan ZAITOUNEH 12. TANZANIE -Fatma KARUME 1 *** Précédentes.nomi"

Police in China’s Guangdong Move to Arrest Rights Lawyer Zhou Xiaoyun


Police in China's Guangdong Move to Arrest Rights Lawyer Zhou Xiaoyun

Zhou Xiaoyun reaches the end of a six-month stint in incommunicado detention, but looks set to remain behind bars.

Authorities in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong have applied to arrest a human rights lawyer after holding him under residential surveillance for six months, his friend told RFA.

Rights lawyer Zhou Xiaoyun, who formerly worked as a senior editor at the cutting-edge Southern Metropolis Daily newspaper in Guangzhou, was initially detained by police in the northeastern province of Liaoning around six months ago on suspicion of “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble,” a charge frequently used to target peaceful critics of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

He was held incommunicado under RSDL, residential surveillance at a designated location, but now that the six-month limit has been reached, police have applied to the state prosecutor’s office for approval of his arrest, a friend of Zhou’s who gave only the surname Lu said.

Police in Guangdong’s Panshan county submitted the arrest application to the local procuratorate on Sept. 26, Lu said.

He said Zhou was being victimized by the Liaoning police.


Afghan Lawyer Latifa Sharifi Selected Recipient of the 2021 UIA/LexisNexis Rule of Law Award


Ms Latifa Sharifi, an Afghan lawyer of the Humanitarian Assistance for the Women and Children of Afghanistan (HAWCA), a historic Afghan women’s association, was designated recipient of the 2021 UIA Rule of Law Award in cooperation with LexisNexis by the UIA Governing Board.

Ms. Sharifi was among the three Finalists of the Award selected by the Nomination Committee, along with prominent human rights lawyers Mohamed El-Baqer (Egypt) and Saif Ul-Malook (Pakistan), both of whom have consistently demonstrated unrelenting dedication and commitment to upholding the Rule of Law and human rights, despite overwhelming personal and professional hardships, including great risk to their personal safety and that of their families.

As a lawyer, Ms Latifa Sharifi particularly assisted women victims of domestic violence in divorce proceedings and helped them find refuge. Because of her defense of women, Ms Sharifi has repeatedly been threatened and intimidated because of her professional activities, and she has been forced to work clandestinely.

With this Award, UIA and LexisNexis recognize Ms. Sharifi’s courageous commitment to ensuring effective access to justice to women, a commitment for which she is regrettably in imminent danger of retaliation.

Ms Sharifi was refouled at Kabul airport on Sunday, August 15, where she went with her husband and her three children, in an attempt to flee abroad. Her youngest child was injured in the process of trying to escape the airport. Ms Sharifi is currently hiding, and she and her family remain in grave danger. 



Iran’s New Government Moves to Silence Dissent by Muzzling Leading Activists


The Iranian security establishment’s attempt to imprison four prominent human rights defenders, only a few months after the inauguration of the country’s new presidential administration, signals the beginning of a new and intensified era of repression.

“This is a clear attempt to enchain the country’s top rights defenders and create a climate of fear as this illegitimate government tightens its grip on power,” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).

“Raisi’s government is assuming that Iran’s international negotiating partners will look the other way while it tramples human rights,” Ghaemi added. “Yet silence is complicity. Failing to condemn this outrageous behavior is a green light to the Iranian government’s most brutal actors.”

The internationally renowned human rights activist Narges Mohammadi announced this past weekend that she has received a new sentence of 80 lashes, 30 months of imprisonment, and two monetary fines—less than a year after she completed an 8.5-year sentence for engaging in peaceful activism.


Two prominent human rights lawyers, Arash Keykhosravi and Mostafa Nili, meanwhile remain detained in Evin Prison after being arrested last month with a group of lawyers and activists that included Mahmoudian as they were preparing to sue state officials over their ineffective and deadly response to the pandemic.

Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s ban on importing vaccines from major vaccine-producing countries including the U.S., UK and France was followed by surging infections and deaths throughout the country as the vast majority of Iranians were unable to access safe vaccines.

Khamenei lifted his ban eight months later, after hospitals and cemeteries were overflowing and more than 100,000 people had officially died from COVID-19, though the actual number is believed to be much higher.

Keykhosravi and Nili are among only a few defense attorneys willing to accept human rights cases in the country amid a state campaign to bar independent lawyers from being able to work. The charges against the two remain withheld from the public and they have been denied bail with no set trial date.

This latest campaign of repression is a harbinger of the state’s growing campaign to crush peaceful dissent, which has intensified since President Ebrahim Raisi and Judiciary Chief Mohseni Ejei—both major human rights violators—took power in Iran this past August.

“This is a test for the international community,” said Ghaemi. “To see if we will sit by silently and continue to carelessly treat Iran as only a nuclear file while this government tries to decapitate the country’s civil rights movement.” (FARSI)


Turkey: Ankara, lawyers on trial for criticizing the head of Religious Affairs


Ali Erbas

The Chair and Executive Board Members of the Ankara Bar Association are accused of the crime of “insult”. They risk up to two years in prison. Similar proceedings for Diyarbakır lawyers. In a Friday sermon Erdogan’s loyalist, Ali Erbaş,  had condemned LGTBI+ and HIV-positive people, calling them deviants.

Turkish authorities have indicted Chair and Executive Board Members of the Ankara Bar Association on charges of criticizing the (powerful) head of Religious Affairs Ali Erbaş, who in a sermon had condemned LGTBI+ and HIV-positive people. If found guilty for the content of the open letter, the members of the association risk a sentence of up to two years in prison. 

The affair was triggered by a sermon given during Friday prayers by Ali Erbaş, a loyalist of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who has based his power on the combination of nationalism and Islam, in which he stigmatized homosexuals, trans and HIV positive people. Homosexuality and adultery, he had said, “brings diseases and degenerates the generation.”

“Hundreds of thousands of people a year are exposed to the HIV virus caused by this great haram, which passes as adultery in the Islamic Literature. Let’s come and fight together to protect people from this kind of evil”.

In response, the leaders of the association have issued a statement in which they attacked the religious leader, accusing him of discriminating against a part of the population and of having remained “behind the centuries” with words that foment “hatred” from the height of a prestigious state office. In this document, the magistrates have identified the extremes for an indictment, putting in state of charge for “insult” promoters and signatories of the initiative. 

While the first hearing of the trial will be held at the Ankara 16th Heavy Penal Court on November 11, 2021, the executives of the Ankara Bar now face 1 year to 2 years in prison for allegedly “insulting a public official due to his or her duty for expressing beliefs, thoughts and opinions.”

[…],-lawyers-on-trial-for-criticizing-the-head-of-Religious-Affairs-54157.html’s,many%20more%20highly%20controversial%20statements. (TURKCE) (FRANCAIS)

India: Gangwar in national capital: Delhi’s top gangster Jitender Gogi shot dead in Rohini court


Rohini Court Firing: Lawyer Moves Supreme Court Seeking Directions To Enhance Security In Courts

Delhi’s top gangster Jitender Gogi has been shot dead in a daring shootout in Rohini court. He was arrested by the special cell of the Delhi Police.

Delhi’s top gangster Jitender Gogi was on Friday shot dead during a shootout in Rohini court. He was arrested by the special cell of the Delhi Police. 

As per the initial reports, two individuals were shot dead in a crossfire between the criminals and police. It is being reported that the infamous Tillu gang could be behind the incident and the prime target of the daring hit, Jitender Gogi, did not survive.

The firing took place in Rohini Court outside Court no. 206. Two assailants died on the spot between the cross-firing by the police personnel present at the scene of the crime. 

As per the initial report, the culprits were in the attire of an advocate. It is also being reported that one female lawyer was also injured in the attack. 

It is estimated that around 35-40 rounds were fired in the court premises. 

As per the witnesses, two assailants, in the uniform of an advocate, fired upon Gogi in court. The police team fired in return upon the assailants. 

The assailants, identified as Rahul and Mareesh were part of Tillu and Navin Bali gang.

Arvind Vats, Rohini Court joint secy told Times Now, “Police officials were there but not in the appropriate strength. A major question is how weapons reached the court? We have requested many times for more security. No proper security was in place. Guards are not well maintained.”


CCBE Statement on the situation in Afghanistan and the need to guarantee the fundamental rights of all persons requesting international protection at EU borders


Welcome to CCBE - CCBE

The Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) represents the bars and law societies of 45 countries, and through them more than 1 million European lawyers.

The defence of the rule of law, the protection of the fundamental and human rights and freedoms, including the right of access to justice and protection of the client, and the protection of the democratic values inextricably associated with such rights are one of the main missions of the CCBE. Through the work of its Migration Committee, the CCBE monitors European and national developments on migration issues and focuses its work on the protection of migrants’ and asylum seekers’ fundamental rights, including the right to legal assistance.

With regard to the alarming situation in Afghanistan and the fate of all Afghans – particularly women, those working in the justice sector, and human rights defenders – the CCBE wishes to reaffirm its commitment to the right to asylum, as well as the right for Afghans to leave their country, and travel to another country safely which notably underpins the need to ensure fair proceedings at EU borders. The CCBE therefore calls on the EU authorities and its Member States to take all the necessary measures to enable the evacuation and reception of the people most at risk in Afghanistan, including lawyers. Furthermore, it urges the relevant authorities to guarantee refugees’ access to the right to asylum. In this regard, the CCBE recalls that the right to apply for international protection in the European Union and at its frontiers is a fundamental right guaranteed by Article 18 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and by European Union law through its asylum acquis.

In addition to this, the CCBE wishes to express its serious concern about the lack of respect for procedural safeguards and access to a lawyer in asylum and migration procedures at EU borders, notably with regard to the current situation at the Belarusian border with Latvia and Poland where it has been reported that a group of 32 migrants, including Afghans were being kept without any possibility to ask for asylum, in clear violation of their fundamental rights, including their right to legal assistance and their right to apply for asylum.


Click to access EN_MIG_20210923_CCBE-Statement-on-the-situation-in-Afghanistan-and-the-need-to-guarantee-the-fundamental-rights-of-all-persons-requesting-international-protection-at-EU-borders.pdf (FRANCAIS)

May be an image of 3 people and text that says "McGill McGill Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism Centre sur es droits personne eplurasme undiquee de McGill THE SITUATION OF HAZARAS IN AFGHANISTAN Discrimination, Persecution, Genocide Moderated by Frédéric Mégret Zoom link https:/ Gregory Stanton Founder of Genocide Watch Derakhshan Qurban-Ali External Relations Manager Canadian Hazara HumanitarianServices Halima Bahman Survivor of the 1998 massacre Mazar -Sharif, cofounder of the Hazara Women Organization Stuart Russell Former Australian judge who oversaw many Hazara refugee hearings following the 1998 massacre SEPTEMBER 27 1:00PM-2:30PM ET ZOOM EVENT:"




The latest research report by the ZLHR highlights the current situation of lawyers in Zimbabwe. The report outlines the political situation in Zimbabwe, as well the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally the report demonstrates how lawyers in Zimbabwe have been barred from representing their clients, have become subjects to arbitrary arrests, and have even been attacked for practicing their profession. Read on for more on this.


Lawyers play a vital role in upholding the rule of law and the protection of human rights, including the rights to effective remedy, due process of law, fair trial and the right of freedom from torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Their work is indispensable for public confidence in the administration of justice, and to ensure effective justice for all. All persons are entitled to call upon the assistance of a lawyer of their choice to provide legal services. It is the responsibility of lawyers to protect and establish the rights of citizens from whatever manner in which those rights may be threatened and defend them in all stages of legal proceedings. To fulfil their professional duties effectively, lawyers should be able to practice law independently in accordance with recognized laws, standards and ethics. They should be free from improper interferences, any fear of reprisals, or unreasonable restrictions.


Attacks against lawyers

The beginning of 2020 saw an increase in the number of arrests of Zimbabwean lawyers, and in the restrictions placed on lawyers in their freedoms to carry out their profession. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and government enforced restrictions, resulted in an increase in these numbers. Alec Muchadehama, a human rights lawyer from Zimbabwe, describes the situation of lawyers under the lockdown as follows:

“ [W]e had insurmountable difficulties moving to police stations and the Courts. We would be frisked at the check points. We would not be allowed to pass despite identifying ourselves as lawyers. Whilst we were prevented from reaching our clients, they were being over detained and being held incommunicado. The case of Joana Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova makes sad reading. They were kidnapped by suspected State security agents. On 5 May 2020 they temporarily disappeared and were discovered 36 hours later, severely tortured. They are now facing allegations of breaking the COVID-19 regulations and spreading falsehoods prejudicial to the State.”


L4L and ZLHR call upon the Zimbabwean authorities to guarantee in all circumstances that lawyers in Zimbabwe are able to carry out their legitimate professional rights and duties without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions, including judicial harassment. In its task of promoting and ensuring the proper role of lawyers, the Government of Zimbabwe should respect, and take account of, the Basic Principles within the framework of its national legislation and practice. Adherence to the Basic Principles is considered a fundamental pre-condition to fulfilling the requirement that all persons have effective access to legal assistance and representation. Furthermore, as a member of the African Union and the UN, and as a party to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Zimbabwe has legal obligations to adopt measures that effectively ensure rights to liberty, freedom from arbitrary detention, freedom of expression, and fair trial.

You can access the full report here (783KB PDF),of%20the%20rule%20of%20law.

Hong Kong group supporting mainland China lawyers to disband after police demand information citing national security law


Members of the China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group hold a protest in 2017 over the treatment of the profession on the mainland. Photo: Dickson Lee
  • China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group says it will dissolve this month and has already started voluntary liquidation procedure
  • But the group does not say what information police were seeking or whether it complied with the request

A Hong Kong group founded to support human rights lawyers in mainland China has announced it will disband, a decision coinciding with a deadline for the organisation to provide police with information requested on national security grounds.

The China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group will be the latest in a run of Hong Kong civic bodies to dissolve following Beijing’s imposition of a national security law on the city last year.

Two prominent opposition-leaning bodies – the Professional Teachers’ Union and the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions – have ceased operations in the past month amid warnings from authorities and attacks from pro-Beijing mouthpieces over alleged national security violations.

The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, which organises the city’s annual candlelight vigil commemorating the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, is also set to vote on its disbandment on Saturday.

Hong Kong’s national security police last month wrote to the China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group demanding its leaders submit relevant information as requested.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, also the deadline for submission, the group said it had decided to disband and had already replied to the force’s letter of inquiry dated August 25.