Daily Archives: 08/11/2021

Belarus: Invitation: seminar and award ceremony 2021 Lawyers for Lawyers Award


Invitation: seminar and award ceremony 2021 Lawyers for Lawyers Award

Lawyers for Lawyers and the Amsterdam Bar Association would like to cordially invite you to join our seminar ‘Resilience of Lawyers in Different European Contexts’ and the presentation of the 2021 Lawyers for Lawyers Award in theatre de Rode Hoed in Amsterdam on Thursday, 18 November 2021, from 15:00 – 17:45 CET (UTC+1).

The theme of the seminar will be introduced by Ybo Buruma (Judge of the Supreme Court of the Netherlands). During the first panel discussion, lawyers from Hungary, Poland, and the United Kingdom will speak from their own experience about the first signs of increasing pressure on lawyers and the context in which this occurs, reflect on the consequences of this for the proper functioning of the rule of law, and share their views on how lawyers in their countries can be supported.

During the second panel discussion, we will reflect on the situation in the Netherlands with representatives from various disciplines, including the legal profession and journalism. We will discuss how to anticipate or respond to (first) signs of increasing pressure on lawyers, but also other professional groups that have effect on the rule of law, and what we can learn from developments in other European countries discussed in the first panel.

Speakers include Baroness Helena Kennedy QC (Director of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute, IBAHRI), András Kádár (Attorney at law and Co-chair of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee), Mikołaj Pietrzak (Dean of the Warsaw Bar Association), Sue Willman (Solicitor and Human Rights Committee Chair of the Law Society of England and Wales), Igna Oomen (Lawyer from the Netherlands), and Peter ter Velde (Security Coordinator NOS and Project Manager Persveilig).

After a speech from the Netherlands’ Human Rights Ambassador Bahia Tahzib-Lie, the 2021 Lawyers for Lawyers Award will be presented to laureates Maksim Znak and Liudmila Kazak from Belarus.





Equatorial Guinea: Lawyer Gemma Jones arbitrarily detained for more than 3 hours at National Police station in capital city 


Gemma Jones

On 15 September 2021, Equatoguinean lawyer Gemma Jones was unjustifiably detained by the police, preventing her from intervening at the International Day of Democracy.

Equatoguinean lawyer Gemma Jones, who heads the law firm, JONES & SACRISTAN, founded in 2020 and based in the capital city of Malabo, specialises in business consultancy as well as human rights advocacy.

Gemma Jones has recently publicly denounced, through social networks, the lack of motivation and inadmissibility of a complaint filed by her office before the Court of Instruction No. 2 of the city of Malabo in a case involving the national electricity company (SEGESA) and some of its employees. The complaint referred to the dubious practices of SEGESA inspectors and the infringement of the property rights of Equatorial Guinean citizens by the company.

As a result of this complaint and her public statements, the lawyer’s office suffered an abrupt power cut without just cause.

On 15 September 2021, agents of the judicial brigade went to the office of JONES & SACRISTÁN to ask Gemma Jones to go to the Gendarmerie to make a statement without justifying the reason for the summons. Upon arrival at the judicial office, she was informed of an investigation into the leaking of the competitive examination for the B1 category of the state civil service organised on 12 September.

The lawyer made her telephone number available to investigators, evidencing her lack of involvement in the events under investigation. Despite this clarification, Gemma Jones was arbitrarily detained for more than three hours, preventing her from speaking at the International Day of Democracy event organised by the US Embassy in Malabo.



Kenya: Lawyers To Hold Protests Wednesday Over Missing Colleague ‘Abducted’ By Police


Lawyers are set to hold countrywide peaceful demonstrations on Wednesday to protest the abduction of an advocate who still missing alongside his client.

Lawyer Wilson Nandwa and his client Elgiva Bwire were last seen in October month and are believed to have been taken away by police. Nandwa is said to have gone to report his client’s disappearance when he also went missing.

According to the Law Society of Kenya, the demonstration under the “Purple Ribbon Campaign Week” are meant to speak against enforced disappearances.

In a statement, LSK Chief Executive Officer Mercy Wambua said lawyers will live in fear if such enforced disappearances continue.

“Colleagues as you are aware; this is not the first case where an advocate has mysteriously disappeared in the course of their duty. This scenario represents an existential threat to the ability of advocates to offer services to their clients in an environment that is devoid of intimidation, threats, harm, or even loss of life,” she said.

LSK said it has also organized other activities during the week that are set to continue until Friday.





Cameroon/Canada: Death threats against rights lawyer Felix Agbor Nkongho


The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Cameroon.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed about the death threats against Felix Agbor Nkongho, aka Agbor-Balla, a human rights lawyer, Vice-President of the African Bar Association (AFBA) for Central Africa and founder of the Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa (CHRDA). Mr. Agbor Nkongho is a prominent defender of the rights of the Anglophone minority in Cameroon who advocates for a peaceful resolution to the Anglophone crisis [1] .

Between October 29, 2021 and November 1, 2021, Felix Agbor Nkongho attended a Leadership Retreat in Toronto, Canada, organised by the NGO Coalition for Dialogue and Negotiations. The aim of the retreat was to discuss collaborative actions towards a peaceful resolution to the ongoing conflict in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon, namely by improving dialogue, protecting human rights and granting humanitarian aid, and promoting negotiation with the support of international mediation. Throughout the week, Felix Agbor Nkongho received multiple death threats on social media and by a voice message on Whatsapp calling “any separatist or ‘Ambazonian’ to kill him” should he be seen in the cities of Buea or Kumba.

The Observatory strongly condemns the above-mentioned death threats against Felix Agbor Nkongho and recalls that this is not the first time he faces attacks and acts of harassment. On May 6, 2020, he was dismissed from his job as a lecturer in the Faculty of Law and Political Science of the State-owned University of Buea after he asked his students to critically engage with and discuss the Anglophone crisis in an exam. Moreover, on January 10, 2017, following his participation in a peaceful protest, Felix Agbor Nkongho was arbitrarily arrested and detained on charges of “terrorism”, “treason”, “civil unrest” and “jeopardising the peace and unity of the Republic of Cameroon” by the Military Tribunal of Yaoundé under the 2014 Anti-Terrorism Law, which contravenes the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) principles on the right to a fair trial and allows for Cameroonian citizens to be charged in military courts. Mr. Agbor Nkongho was finally released on August 31, 2017 through Presidential Decree and all charges against him were then dropped.

The Observatory further condemns the increase in recent years of intimidation and attacks against human rights defenders in Cameroon, particularly since the beginning of the socio-political crisis in the Anglophone regions at the end of 2016, and recalls that several defenders of the rights of the Anglophone minority have been subjected to attacks, harassment and arbitrary detention under the Anti-Terrorism Law, or enforced disappearance, including Messrs. Mancho Bibixy TseFranklin Mowha and Samuel Ajiekah Abuwe, who died in military custody in August 2019.







Egypt: Persecution of rights lawyers continues


The Egyptian Network for Civil Rights Expresses its concern about the referral of lawyer Ahmed Helmy for investigation and appeals to the Attorney General to save the investigation

https://action.amnesty.org.au/act-now/help-free-human-rights-defender-mohamed-baker (SIGN THE PETITION!)