Monthly Archives: November 2021

Belarus: Letter on the sentencing of Leanid Sudalenka


Letter on the sentencing of Leanid Sudalenka

In a letter, Lawyers for Lawyers expresses concern about the recent sentencing of Belarusian lawyer Leanid Sudalenka.

On 5 February 2021, we previously raised concern about his arrest and detention in a joint letter. Mr. Sudalenka is the Chairman of the Homiel branch of the Viasna Human Rights Centre and 2018 winner of the French Republic’s “Liberty- Equality-Fraternity Prize” for his human rights work.

According to our information, on 5 January 2021, officers from the Department for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption of the Belarus Ministry of Internal Affairs entered Mr. Sudalenka’s offices with a search warrant. It is alleged that the officers searched the premises in connection with a criminal case that was opened in December 2020 against opposition activist Uladzimir Nepomniashchykh. Mr. Sudalenka was due to appear as a witness in this case.

We understand that Mr. Sudalenka was then taken to the Office for Combating Organized Crime for an interrogation. However, it has been reported that during his questioning he was primarily interrogated about the legal advice provided to those detained, fined and arrested during the post-electoral protests in Homiel. After this interrogation, he was released.

On 18 January 2021, Mr. Sudalenka was detained a second time.

It has been reported that, on 3 November 2021, after a hearing behind closed doors, the Centraĺny District Court of Homieĺ found Mr. Sudalenka guilty of “organizing and preparing actions that grossly violate public order” (Part 1 of Article 342 Criminal Code) and “training and preparation of persons for participation in such actions, as well as their financing or other material support” (Part 2 of Article 342 of the Criminal Code). It has been reported that Mr. Sudalenka was accused of paying for firewood for the children from a large family, whose father was later convicted of “rioting”, appearing in a video on YouTube to explain to a blogger what a people’s protest is, a call on social media to meet a Viasna volunteer after serving 15 days of administrative imprisonment, arranging a seminar on digital security for human rights defenders, payment of fines, court fees, and lawyers’ services. Mr. Sudalenka was sentenced to three years of imprisonment in a general-security penal colony.


Turkey: New Report: Legal and Technical Issues Around Turkey’s Malicious Bylock Prosecutions



The Arrested Lawyers Initiative published a new report titled ‘Legal and Technical Issues Around Turkey’s Malicious Bylock Prosecutions‘ on criminalization of the usage of Bylock app that victimized more than 90,000 individuals.

“Bylock data is not lawful and admissible evidence but is a tool of malicious prosecution given to the Turkish Judiciary by the National Intelligence Agency. The only possible remedy for tens of thousands malicious prosecutions would be the quashing of all of the convictions which were even partly based on the Bylock App, and then giving all those who have been so convicted a fair trial where the above-mentioned ECtHR and the UN decisions will be taken into account.” is said in the report.

In the light of three international expert reports, and a recently surfaced an US Federal Court document, the report concludes that the Turkish government’s ‘exclusive usage claim’ is factually incorrect.


Tajikistan: Human Rights Lawyer Abdulmachid Rizoyev At Risk Of Torture 


Tajikistan: Rights lawyer Abdulmajid Rizoev sentenced to 5 years and 6  months imprisonment for posts on Facebook | IAPL Monitoring Committee on  Attacks on Lawyers

Human rights lawyer Abdulmachid Rizoyev, imprisoned since June 2021 for posting humorous comments on Facebook, has not been able to see any of his lawyers since 11 August 2021 and since 4 September his family has not been permitted to visit him. International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR) is concerned that the lack of contact with the outside world significantly increases the risk that he will be subjected to torture or other forms of ill-treatment. Abdulmachid Rizoyev has been imprisoned to punish him for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression and he should be released immediately and unconditionally.

On 14 June 2021, Shokhmansur District Court of Dushanbe sentenced Rizoyev to five and a half years’ imprisonment in a high security prison after finding him guilty of “public calls to carry out extremist activity through the media or the internet” (Article 307 of the Criminal Code). In July, one of Rizoyev’s lawyers filed a complaint with the Cassation Instance of Dushanbe City Court urging the court to annul the verdict and close the case against the human rights lawyer, but the court did not satisfy the complaint.  In September 2021, his term was reduced to three years’ imprisonment under an amnesty law marking the 30th anniversary of Tajikistan’s independence.

The charges against Abdulmachid Rizoyev were based on a number of posts he had made on Facebook, which the prosecutor claimed were “hidden calls for extremism”, although they did not feature any kind of reference to violence. For example, the prosecutor found “hidden extremist” content, in one post where Rizoyev wrote that “A wise government fights the roots of protests, an ignorant government fights the protesters.” The following post was also deemed to represent a call for extremism: “We, Tajikistanis, come in the third category here: 1) The people have to live well. 2) The people have to live. 3) The people have to.”[i]

In court, Rizoyev maintained his innocence and stated that he had never held or promoted extremist views. IPHR is concerned that the criminal case was fabricated to punish him for his professional work defending the rights of Dushanbe residents whose homes were due to be demolished to make way for new construction projects. Previously he also provided legal assistance to military conscripts and soldiers subjected to abuse.


Algeria: Release human rights lawyer tried on bogus terrorism-related charges


Joint letter on the ongoing pre-trial detention of Abderraouf Arslane

Algerian authorities must immediately release human rights lawyer Abderraouf Arslane and drop bogus “false news” and terrorism-related charges against him which stem from his defense of Hirak activists and the expression of his opinions online, said Amnesty International today ahead of the start of his trial on 30 November.

Abderraouf Arslane was detained on 26 May 2021 in the Court of Tebessa, where he was defending three activists – Aziz Bekakria, Redouane Hamidi and Azeddine Mansouri – who had been arrested earlier that day. After the hearing, the prosecutor ordered the detention of Arslane pending investigation on vague accusations of alleged ties with members of Rachad, an unregistered political movement, and his participation in public debates on the 2019-2021 Algerian protests, also known as the Hirak movement, neither of which are recognizable crimes under international law. 

“It is terrible that the Algerian authorities are incarcerating a lawyer simply for doing his job and peacefully exercising his right to free speech. Abderraouf Arslane’s imprisonment and prosecution send a chilling message to lawyers across the country who dare to defend activists or speak up about human rights, especially in the context of the ongoing crackdown on dissent in Algeria,” said Amna Guellali, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“The Algerian authorities must immediately release Abderraouf Arslane from arbitrary pre-trial detention, drop all unfounded charges against him, and cease the judicial harassment and intimidation aimed at unlawfully repressing his legal activities.”



IBAHRI keeps spotlight on key issues raised at 48th session of the UN Human Rights Council


With a constantly evolving and fast-paced news agenda, human rights issues do not always make the front page. The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) is committed to highlighting human rights abuses across the world and holding those accountable to justice. At the 48th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC48), the IBAHRI joined other non-governmental organisations in statements condemning international human rights violations, with a particular focus on lawyers under attack, facing arbitrary detention or suppression of their professional activities.

Afghanistan: Since the Taliban takeover of the country in August 2021, gross and systematic human rights violations continue to occur in Afghanistan, including attacks against female lawyers and judges. In partnership with a number of other NGOs, the IBAHRI released a joint open appeal to UN Member States to urge the adoption of a resolution creating a Fact-Finding Mission, or other independent investigative mechanism, for Afghanistan. The IBAHRI welcomes the new agreement of the Human Rights Council (HRC) to appoint a special rapporteur on Afghanistan to probe human rights violations by parties to the conflict, including the Taliban, as an important first step towards achieving oversight, accountability, justice and reparation for the ongoing crisis.


Belarus: The legal profession in Belarus is under threat, with attacks against lawyers on the rise. Most recently, Maxim Znak, lawyer for a former candidate for the Belarusian Presidency, was sentenced to a ten-year prison term following a closed-door trial. During the UN Interactive Dialogue the IBAHRI delivered an oral statement on behalf of several NGOs on the human rights situation in Belarus. The IBAHRI condemned the deterioration of the situation on the ground and stressed that the HRC must take action to prevent a further decline. The IBAHRI would welcome full support for the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Belarus through adequate funding, as well as an examination of the situation by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.


Brazil: Em escalada de tensão, polícia de Rondônia faz operação na casa de advogada que defende Liga dos Camponeses Pobres


Para grupos de defesa dos direitos humanos, ação contra pessoas ligadas à LCP é mais um capítulo da perseguição feita pela aliança entre ruralistas e polícias, que vem ganhando respaldo no governo Bolsonaro.

O cerco da força policial de Rondônia à Liga dos Camponeses Pobres (LCP) avançou nesta semana, quando policiais apreenderam computador, celular, documentos, pen-drives, cadernos, agendas e R$ 25 mil da advogada Lenir Correia Coelho, que é dirigente da Associação Brasileira de Advogados do Povo (Abrapo) e representa a LCP em diversas ações. 

Além da casa da advogada, a ação ocorrida na terça-feira (23) realizou busca e apreensão na residência de outras 25 pessoas. Outras duas foram presas e quatro que tinham mandado de prisão preventiva não foram encontradas. Segundo a Polícia Civil, todos teriam relação com a LCP. A operação envolveu 120 policiais e foi comandada pela Delegacia de Repressão ao Crime Organizado (Draco). 

A ação da polícia, segundo a Abrapo, foi uma ”grave violação às prerrogativas do advogado e de clara retaliação do latifúndio contra a defesa dos camponeses”. Em nota, a entidade afirmou ainda que um advogado ser tratado como criminoso por trabalhar na defesa dos camponeses é uma “negação do direito de defesa”. 

A Comissão de Defesa de Prerrogativas da seccional da Ordem dos Advogados do Brasil (OAB) de Rondônia informou estar agindo para preservar as garantias da advogada: “[Estamos] acompanhando a operação com a finalidade de preservar as prerrogativas profissionais da advogada em sua inteireza, sem transigir ou permitir quaisquer ofensas em relação ao direito da advogada”. Coelho é mestra em direito agrário e referência na defesa dos povos do campo em Rondônia, já tendo atuado como assessora jurídica da Comissão Pastoral da Terra (CPT), órgão ligado à Conferência Nacional dos Bispos do Brasil (CNBB).


Em escalada de tensão, polícia de Rondônia faz operação na casa de advogada que defende Liga dos Camponeses Pobres,79793.shtml


N.B.: The Rondônia police force’s encirclement of the League of Poor Peasants (LCP) escalated this week, when police seized a computer, mobile phone, documents, pen-drives, notebooks, diaries and R$25,000 from lawyer Lenir Correia Coelho, who is head of the Brazilian Association of People’s Lawyers (Abrapo) and represents LCP in several actions.

Nigeria: Lawyer who sued Davido & other celebrities for supporting EndSARS killed in Anambra


Lawyer who sued Davido & other celebrities for supporting EndSARS has been killed in Anambra

Human rights activist and lawyer, Kenechukwu Okeke has reportedly been murdered in Anambra state.

His family made the disclosure to Daily Post on Thursday, stating that Okeke was allegedly macheted by his attackers numbering seven in his compound and a keg of fuel poured on him before he was lit up and left to burn to death.

The controversial activist had filed criminal complaints before a magistrate court in Abuja against 50 persons over their alleged involvement in #EndSARS protests last year.

Some of the persons listed in the suit include Nigerian football star, Kanu Nwankwo, musicians’ Folarin Falana, better known as Falz, Innocent Idibia aka Tubaba, and David Adeleke better known as Davido.

According to Daily Post, Okeke was killed in Nkpor, near Onitsha, Anambra State, in the presence of his wife, Mrs Blessing Odinakachi Okeke and his little daughter.

[…] (PIDGIN)

A lawyer fought for justice after a Mexican massacre. Then the government made her a suspect


For a decade, Ana Lorena Delgadillo pursued justice in one of Mexico’s most notorious atrocities. The San Fernando massacre stunned the nation with its barbarity: Gunmen yanked at least 193 people — some of them Central American migrants — off buses, bludgeoned them to death and dumped their bodies in clandestine graves. No one has ever been convicted.

Delgadillo fought all the way to the Supreme Court to force the government to divulge details on the 2011 massacre, widely blamed on the Zetas cartel. Finally, she won. This year, authorities turned over the 271 volumes of their investigation to her human rights group. And there, in Volume 221, the 48-year-old lawyer found something startling.

The Zetas, it turned out, weren’t the only suspects in the case.

She was one, too.

Mexican authorities secretly opened an organized-crime investigation into Delgadillo and two other women trying to unravel what happened in San Fernando, according to more than 200 pages of court documents reviewed by The Washington Post.

Opening the investigation gave prosecutors special powers to surveil the women. Theyobtained records of their phone calls and texts. Federal police then mapped their communications.

The three women are among the leading figures documenting Mexico’s crisis of the disappeared, in which more than 94,000 people have vanished. One is an award-winning journalist, Marcela Turati. Another is an acclaimed anthropologist, Mercedes “Mimi” Doretti.


Afghanistan/CCBE/European Commission: URGENT ACTION!


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#Endangeredlawyers#Afghanistan Lawyers and the members of the Afghan Independent Bar Association (AIBA) are currently in danger because of their efforts to ensure the respect of the rule of law and their work with international organisations and partners, trying to maintain their independence. The CCBE urges the EU and its Member States, in their diplomatic efforts towards the Taliban regime, to do everything in their power to ensure the maintenance of an independent legal profession and bar in Afghanistan, through the existing AIBA. The AIBA as well as all Afghan lawyers, including women lawyers, must be able to carry out their professional duties in order to ensure the integrity of the administration of #justice and the #ruleoflaw.#Avocatsendanger

Les avocats et les membres de l’Association du barreau indépendant afghan The Afghan Independent Bar Association (AIBA) sont actuellement en danger en raison de leurs efforts pour assurer le respect de l’état de droit et de leur travail avec les organisations et partenaires internationaux, en essayant de maintenir leur indépendance. Le CCBE exhorte l’UE et ses États membres, dans le cadre de leurs efforts diplomatiques envers le régime des Talibans, à faire tout ce qui est en leur pouvoir pour assurer le maintien d’une profession d’avocat et d’un barreau indépendants en Afghanistan, par le biais de l’AIBA existante. L’AIBA ainsi que tous les avocats afghans, y compris les femmes avocates, doivent être en mesure d’exercer leurs fonctions professionnelles afin d’assurer l’intégrité de l’administration de la #justice et de l’#étatdedroit.


Afghanistan Chamber of Advocates head pleads for international help as Taliban militants take office, oust leadership – LAWYER – News

Afghanistan Bar Association head pleads for international help as armed Taliban take over offices, displace leadership


Afghanistan bar association head pleads for international help as armed Taliban take over offices, displace leadership

The President of the Afghanistan Independent Bar Association, Rohullah Qarizada, went on Twitter Wednesday appealing for international assistance after armed Taliban took over the Association’s offices in Kabul. He said “fifty armed Taliban came in AIBA and forcibly took over Bar.” The incursion occurred Tuesday in the wake of a Taliban cabinet directive authorizing the Ministry of Justice to strip the AIBA of its lawyer licensing authority and vest that instead in the Ministry. 

Commenting on the takeover of the AIBA office, Qarizada insisted: “The bar is independent, non-governmental, and non-political. The Bar did not receive any funding from the government.”

A JURIST correspondent in Kabul says a Ministry of Justice letter to the AIBA shown in Qarizada’s tweet refers to the Taliban Cabinet Decision No. 10 dated November 14, 2021. According to the letter the Ministry of Justice should regulate affairs related to the AIBA, especially the issuing of licenses. Our correspondent adds: “But the Cabinet decision does not state anything regarding the structure of AIBA. The Ministry interpreted the decision as authorizing it to bring AIBA under its structure and requested lawyers to obtain licenses from them. The person appointed as the new AIBA head is said to be part of the Ministry of Justice but has no relevant experience.”

The Afghanistan Independent Bar Association was formed in 2008 with the assistance of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) and previously received support from USAID. At last count, before the Taliban takeover, the Association had more than 2,500 registered lawyers practicing in the Afghan courts. According to the IBAHRI, the AIBA is “the only bar association in the world to have a quota for women on all executive committees and at least one vice-president must be a woman.” At this time it is uncertain what impact AIBA “nationalization” will have on women in the Association’s leadership or member ranks.