Kenyan-Canadian lawyer Miguna Miguna says he has booked a flight ahead of his return to Kenya next month.
Through Twitter on Friday, the fiery attorney said he will land at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) on the morning of November 16th.
Miguna, who was deported to Canada in February 2018 over his role in the swearing-in of ODM leader Raila Odinga as ‘people’s president’, indicated that he used his Kenyan passport to book his flight back home.
“For the avoidance of any doubt, I have used my Kenya Passport to book my flight to Kenya, scheduled to arrive in the morning of November 16, 2021, at the JKIA. Let no one claim that I have used any other passport,” said Miguna.
Retired Chief Justice Willy Mutunga said he will be traveling to Canada next month to accompany Miguna on his flight back home.
“I have taken this extraordinary step for two fundamental reasons. The first is because of the continued, flagrant and reprehensible defiance of the Government of Kenya, its agencies, and senior officials, against the numerous valid court orders in favor of Mr. Miguna,” Mutunga said in a statement.
“The second reason why I have decided to undertake this journey is to support and defend the independence of our judiciary, its authority, and the people’s confidence in it.”
The welcome lifting of a years-long state of emergency in Egypt is marred by ongoing trials of dozens of arbitrarily detained human rights defenders, activists, opposition politicians and peaceful protesters by emergency courts where proceedings are inherently unfair, Amnesty International said today.
On 1 November, blogger and activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, human rights lawyer and director of Adalah Center for Rights and Freedoms Mohamed Baker and blogger and activist Mohamed Ibrahim (known as Mohammed “Oxygen”), will appear before an Emergency State Security Court (ESSC) to face politically motivated charges of “spreading false information to undermine national security” over their social media posts. All three have spent more than two years in abusive pretrial detention in appalling conditions, denied private access to lawyers and regular contact with their families.
“The lifting of the state of emergency is good news in that the authorities will no longer be able to refer new cases to the emergency courts that were created under it. However, the news has a sting in its tail. Existing trials before these courts are set to continue, their number swollen by a recent string of referrals of detained human rights defenders and activists,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Research and Advocacy Director.
“For this to be a meaningful step towards addressing Egypt’s human rights crisis, the authorities must immediately and unconditionally release those facing trial before emergency courts solely for peacefully exercising their human rights. They include Alaa Abdel Fattah, Mohamed Baker and Mohamed ‘Oxygen’ Ibrahim, who have already spent over two years in prison solely for their peaceful activism and defence of human rights. The authorities should also stop the use of emergency courts altogether, as their proceedings breach the most basic fair trial standards, including defendants’ right to have their convictions and sentences reviewed by higher courts.”
On 25 October 2021, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi announced that he would not extend the state of emergency, in force since 2017. Yet in the three months preceding this decision, the Egyptian authorities referred at least 20 human rights defenders, activists and opposition politicians to trial before emergency courts.
Egypt’s ESSCs are activated during a state of emergency, since the Emergency Law allows the president to appoint judges to the courts and to designate crimes that are subject to their jurisdiction. Prosecutors then refer all cases related to those crimes to ESSCs, but are no longer able to do so once the state of emergency ends. Article 19 of the law governing the state of emergency stipulates that ongoing trials are to continue even after the state of emergency is no longer in force.
Tried by emergency courts on bogus “false information” charges
The charges against both Alaa Abdelfattah and Mohamed Baker stem from their criticism of the authorities’ treatment of prisoners and suspicious deaths in custody, while charges against Mohamed “Oxygen” are based on his posts about the government’s poor track record in upholding socio-economic rights. None of their posts include any incitement to violence or hatred and are therefore protected under Egypt’s constitution and international obligations to respect the right to freedom of expression.
Lin Qilei was involved in defence of Hong Kong fugitives caught by national coastguard while trying to flee to Taiwan last year
Lin, who had been hired to represent student Kok Tsz-lun, is third lawyer involved in the cases to have permit revoked
Mainland Chinese authorities have deregistered a third human rights lawyer involved in the defence of Hong Kong fugitives caught by the national coastguard while trying to flee to Taiwan last year.
Lin Qilei revealed on Sunday that the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Justice had written to him saying it had decided to revoke his licence.
The lawyer was hired by the family of university student Kok Tsz-lun, one of 12 Hongkongers arrested and jailed by mainland authorities after trying to flee prosecution in August 2020 over their roles in anti-government protests the year before.
According to the letter, the bureau said the decision to revoke Lin’s licence was due to his inability to secure a job at another firm after the one he headed, Beijing Rui Kai, was deregistered by the authorities for six months.
It said Lin could apply to review the decision within 60 days or launch a legal bid at Tongzhou District People’s Court within six months.
Lin tweeted he was scornful of the authorities’ suggestions and noted he had previously been ignored by the Tongzhou court after attempting to appeal against the move to deregister his law firm.
“The court neither received [my] submission nor responded,” he said. “I have preliminarily lost my confidence in law.”
There was nothing he could do, Lin said, when “even laws could not stop shameless acts”.
Two other lawyers, Lu Siwei and Ren Quanniu, who represented family’s of the fugitives, also lost their licences.