Daily Archives: 20/10/2021

The Philippines: Letter on the killings of Atty. Juan Macababad, Atty. Rex Fernandez and Atty. Sitti Gilda Mahinay-Sapie

20/10/21

Letter on the killings of Atty. Juan Macababad, Atty. Rex Fernandez and Atty. Sitti Gilda Mahinay-Sapie

In a letter to President Duterte, Lawyers for Lawyers expressed concern about the recent killings of Atty. Juan Macababad, Atty. Rex Fernandez and Atty. Sitti Gilda Mahinay-Sapie and the further deteriorating situation of lawyers in the Philippines. Lawyers for Lawyers called on the authorities  of the Philippines to respect their human rights obligations under international law.

On September 15, 2021, Atty. Juan Macababad, was shot dead by two unidentified gunmen in front of his home. According to our information, he had been receiving death threats prior to the attack. Atty. Macababad is the second lawyer killed in the last months, and the third lawyer killed in Cebu in less than a year. On August 26, Atty. Rex Fernandez was shot dead in an ambush while aboard his car in Cebu City on his way home and on July 14, 2021, Atty. Sitti Gilda Mahinay-Sapie and her husband were gunned down by an unidentified suspect outside their home.

Lawyers for Lawyers has been closely monitoring the situation of lawyers in the Philippines for many years and is deeply concerned about the oppressive working environment for lawyers in the country. In the letter, Lawyers for Lawyers urges the President of the Republic to adequately protect the safety and independence of lawyers.

Since the start of the administration, an unprecedented number of lawyers have been killed; very often after being threatened, harassed, and publicly labelled as ‘communist’, ‘terrorist’, or ‘enemies of the State’ by state agents and officials. This labelling takes place regardless of actual political beliefs or affiliations of the targeted individuals and is aimed at making lawyers legitimate targets.

The cases of Attys. Macababbad, Fernandez, and Mahinay-Sapie  are not isolated. At least 65 lawyers, prosecutors and (retired) judges, including 38 practicing lawyers, have been killed in the Philippines since the administration of Duterte took office on June 30, 2016.

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‘Maximum Psychological’ Pressure: Iranian Rights Lawyer Tortured, Drugged During Detention

19/10/21

Iranian human rights lawyer Payam Derafshan is currently out on parole and receiving medical treatment.

Payam Derafshan was confined in a dark, windowless room inside a safe house run by the feared intelligence branch of Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

The human rights lawyer was then transferred to Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, where he was drugged with unknown substances that triggered violent convulsions. During one seizure, Derafshan bit part of his tongue off.

Derafshan was then subjected to electric shocks after he was forcibly transferred to a psychiatric hospital.

These are the allegations made by Saeid Dehghan, an Iranian human rights lawyer who represents Derafshan, who is currently out on parole and receiving medical treatment.

Derafshan, who has represented several high-profile political prisoners, is the latest victim of Iran’s crackdown on human rights lawyers, activists say. Prominent lawyers who have defended dissidents, women’s rights defenders, and political activists have been subject to state harassment, imprisonment, and forced into exile in recent years, they say.

In many cases, the lawyers have faced the same charges that the authorities have brought against their clients. “The goal is to scare others and warn them not to be the voice of the voiceless,” Dehghan, who is currently based in Canada, told RFE/RL’s Radio Farda in a telephone interview.

Derafshan was arrested in June 2020 and sentenced weeks later to 2 1/2 years in prison on charges of “propaganda against the state,” “spreading falsehoods,” and “unauthorized disclosure.” The sentence was upheld by an appeals court in July 2020.

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https://www.rferl.org/a/iran-rights-lawyer-torture/31519416.html

https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/10/20/iran-account-horrific-abuse-prominent-lawyer

https://iranwire.com/en/features/10578

https://iran-hrm.com/2021/10/19/irans-crackdown-on-freedom-of-expression-aims-at-silencing-dissent/

https://www.radiofarda.com/a/payam-derafshan-iranian-human-rights-lawyer-was-tortured/31515270.html (FARSI)