Daily Archives: 08/10/2021

Canada: Man charged with arson of prominent Montreal lawyer’s office


The building at 500 Place d'Armes, the day after the fire on Nov. 6, 2020. PHOTO ROBERT SKINNER, LA PRESSE ARCHIVES

On Wednesday, a parolee was charged with arson for setting a fire at the offices of Montreal law firm Danièle Roy & Associés. The firm represented defendants of several high-profile cases in recent years.

Khodr Kanaan, a 32-year-old resident of Longueuil, faces three counts relating to a fire started last year at the law firm’s offices at 500 Place d’Armes, housed in a tower accommodating several of Quebec’s most prominent criminal lawyers.

The fire on Nov. 6, 2020, did little damage, as reported by La Presse at the time. But the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal’s arson department took the matter seriously in case it was an attempt to intimidate someone associated with the justice system.

A security camera captured images showing two suspects walking around the building that day. One of them wore slip-on shoes distributed to prison inmates.

At the time of the crime, Kanaan was on parole, after serving part of his 11-year prison sentence for a violent home robbery on a farm in Waterville, in the Eastern Townships.

The indictment filed in court does not specify if the accused was targeting a particular lawyer within the office. The investigation is ongoing.


Élizabeth Ménard, president of the Association of Montreal-Laval-Longueuil defence lawyers, said any attempt to attack a lawyer should be taken seriously.

“This is unacceptable. In a case like this, you are not attacking just one person, but the entire justice system,” she said.



https://www.lapresse.ca/actualites/justice-et-faits-divers/2021-10-07/un-homme-accuse-d-un-incendie-criminel-au-bureau-d-une-avocate-de-renom.php (FRANCAIS)

Iraq: Rights lawyer Ali Jaseb Hattab Al Heliji disappeared since arrest in Amarah on October 8, 2019


On October 8, 2019, human rights lawyer Ali Jaseb Hattab Al Heliji went to the southern city of Amarah to meet one of his clients. However, shortly after arriving at the rendezvous point, he was arrested by members of the Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU). As a lawyer, Al Heliji had represented several demonstrators arrested in connection with the anti-government October demonstrations. On March 10, 2021, his father was assasinated in the city of Amarah.

Ali Jaseb Hattab Al Heliji is a human rights lawyer representing demonstrators arrested in connection with the recent anti-government demonstrations. On October 1, 2019, protests started in Baghdad and southern cities calling for improved services and more action to curb corruption. The demonstrations were met by excessive and unnecessary lethal force by Iraqi security forces and have resulted in a hundred people killed and about 4000 injured.

On October 6, 2019, two armed men from the PMU came to Ali Jaseb Hattab’s home to warn him from speaking out on Facebook about the killing of protesters and to stop accusing certain factions of the PMU of being responsible for these killings. The armed men then threatened Ali Jaseb Hattab that they would kill him if he did not stop.

On October 8, 2019, Ali Jaseb Hattab received a call from one of his clients who wanted to meet. The two men were supposed to meet in the southern city of Amara in the Missan province. However, when Al Heliji arrived at the rendezvous point, armed men in two black pick-up trucks belonging to the Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU) dragged him away from his car, where he stood speaking to his client, and then drove him away in one of the trucks. When Ali Jaseb Hattab’s relatives reported his abduction, local security forces told them that they were not aware of his arrest. His fate and whereabouts remain unknown to date.

On March 10, 2021, Ali Jaseb Hattab’s father, Jaseb Hattab Al Heliji, was shot dead in the city of Amarah, in the Iraqi governorate of Maysan. He was a vocal advocate for his son, constantly calling for his release and for criminal sanctions against the parties responsible for his disappearance.




https://www.amnesty.de/mitmachen/urgent-action/irak-menschenrechtsanwalt-weiterhin-verschwunden-2020-11-06 (DEUTSCH)

Burundi: Lawyer’s Conviction a Travesty of Justice


Tony Germain Nkina

Appeals Court Upholds 5-Year Sentence for Tony Germain Nkina

The decision in the Court of Appeal of Ngozi to uphold the conviction and five-year prison sentence for a lawyer who had been affiliated to a human rights group in Burundi was a travesty of justice, Human Rights Watch and five other international human rights groups said today. The following is their statement:

Shocking Decision as Appeal Court Upholds Conviction of Lawyer Tony Germain Nkina

Six international human rights groups – Amnesty International, the Burundi Human Rights Initiative, DefendDefenders (East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project), Human Rights Watch, Protection International Africa and TRIAL International – condemned the decision of the Court of Appeal of Ngozi on 29 September to uphold the conviction and five-year prison sentence of Burundian lawyer Tony Germain Nkina following an unfair trial.

“Tony Germain Nkina’s trial was a travesty of justice,” said Lewis Mudge, Central Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The decision by the Court of Appeal to keep him in prison, despite all the evidence about the unfairness of the trial, makes a mockery of the Burundian justice system.”

The groups believe that Nkina, a lawyer in Kayanza province, was arrested and convicted because of his former affiliation with the Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Detained Persons (Association pour la protection des droits humains et des personnes détenues, APRODH), a leading human rights group in Burundi until 2015.

Nkina was APRODH’s representative in Kayanza until the government suspended the organization in 2015 as part of a crackdown on independent civil society. He has not worked for APRODH or any other Burundian civil society organization for the past six years.

Nkina was arrested on 13 October 2020 in Kabarore commune, where he was visiting a client for his professional work as a lawyer. In June 2021, a court in Kayanza found him guilty of collaboration with armed groups – a common accusation against perceived opponents and critics in Burundi – and sentenced him to five years in prison. His client, Apollinaire Hitimana, whom he had been advising on a land dispute, was found guilty of complicity in the same offence and sentenced to two and a half years in prison. The Court of Appeal also confirmed Hitimana’s conviction and sentence.






https://www.hrw.org/fr/news/2021/10/08/burundi-la-condamnation-de-lavocat-tony-germain-nkina-est-une-parodie-de-justice (FRANCAIS)



Canada: Within days, this Afghan lawyer went from helping refugees, to becoming one himself


After fleeing to Canada, Saeeq Shajjan regrets that he can’t help those left behind

After years at the head of one of Afghanistan’s most successful law firms, Saeeq Shajjan went from helping others to being in desperate need himself when the Taliban captured Kabul.

“On Saturday, which was August 14, we were doing a charity drive for refugees that had recently come from other provinces to Kabul city. We donated some money, we donated some food and clothes,” Shajjan told The Current’s Matt Galloway.

“Same week — later, around Wednesday, Thursday — we were refugees ourselves.” 

Shajjan and his family left Kabul on Aug. 17, two days after it fell to the Taliban. They first flew to Qatar, with little money or clothing, and relied on donations, he said. 

The family then came to Toronto under the federal government’s resettlement program (Shajjan’s law firm has provided the Canadian embassy with legal services since 2013). They have been living in hotel accommodation since early September, trying to keep their three children — aged 13, 11 and 9 — active and occupied in the hotel’s pool and squash court.

“It was a bittersweet moment because you feel good that you are out, but then at the same time, you’re feeling for so many others who are left behind,” he said.

Shajjan studied law at Harvard in 2010, before he returned to Afghanistan to build his practice, a process that took “years of hard work, day and night, seven days a week,” he said.

The firm provided legal services to companies operating in the country. He’s helped to secure funding for young Afghans to train as lawyers abroad, in the hopes that they too would return to help build a stronger Afghanistan.

“It was a very good life. There was nothing that I could ask for more. And all of a sudden, we have lost everything,” he said.

That sudden shift has been a difficult transition, in particular because he feels many people left behind in Afghanistan are still looking to him for help.