Daily Archives: 12/11/2021

Bangladesh: CCBE urges for impartial investigation into attack against Lawyer Shahanur Islam!

12/11/21

The Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) urges Prime Minister of Bangladesh H.E. Sheikh Hasina to do everything in her power to ensure that a full and impartial investigation into the reported attack is being carried out, with a view to bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards, as well as to ensure the safety of lawyer Shahanur Islam and his family members, since they believe that the continuous harassment against Mr. Shahanur Islam is based solely on his legitimate activities as a human rights lawyer.

The CCBE also express its serious concern over the prosecution and continuous harassment of lawyer Shahanur Islam as well as draw attention to the United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, in particular Principles 16, 17 and 18 on Guarantees for the functioning of lawyers and Principle 23 on Freedom of expression and association.

The President of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) Margarete von Galen sent the letter to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh H.E. Sheikh Hasina on 10th November 2021 over email and fax.

The CCBE represents the bars and law societies of 45 countries, and through them more than 1 million European lawyers. The CCBE places great emphasis on respect for human rights and the rule of law and is particularly concerned with the situation of human rights defenders around the world.

The CCBE mentions the letter that on 26 August 2020 lawyer Shahanur Islam was attacked by approximately 10 individuals at the court premises of Naogaon district in the northern part of Bangladesh. As a result of the attack, he suffered serious face and body injuries and was subsequently hospitalised.

The CCBE also mentions the letter that the attack took place just after he left the hearing; he took part in against Md. Jahurul Islam, Member of District Parishad. The hearing in question concerned a fraudulent court summon issued by Jahurul Islam against lawyer Shahanur Islam in an on-going case between lawyer Shahanur Islam and Jahurul Islam, which began in late 2018 when the latter made false allegations against lawyer Shahanur Islam and two other members of his family. It is reported that the attack was led by Jobayer Hossain, son of Jahurul Islam.

[…]

Click to access EN_HRL_20211110_Bangladesh_Prosecution-and-continuous-harassment-of-lawyer-Shahanur-Islam.pdf

https://www.ccbe.eu/

Australia: Bernard Collaery’s trial needs to remain open

12/11/21

THE LATEST DISPORT by the Federal Government to further erode the rule of law was confirmed in court this week, with the actions of lawyers representing Attorney-General Michaelia Cash causing Justice David Mossop to describe the continued obfuscation as a “perpetual vortex”.

I have written several times on the trial of former A.C.T. Attorney-General Bernard Collaery, who has been charged over his alleged role in exposing the bugging of Timor-Lester and the current Government’s willingness to go to extraordinary lengths in order to prosecute him.

The latest in this Machiavellian piece of governance was performed on the floor of the A.C.T. Supreme Court on Wednesday when lawyers for the Attorney-General told the court they wanted to introduce updated evidence that would show there would be severe national security issues posed if the trial went ahead in the public sphere.

Despite the appeals court last month finding that there was minimal risk posed to national security in their decision to allow much of the Collaery trial to be adjudicated in the open, lawyers argued that the situation has altered dramatically in the proceeding 20 months that it has taken for Collaery’s appeal to be heard and resolved. The fact this length of time has been entirely the Government’s own doing was unsurprisingly left off the remit.

It wants to produce new evidence that only the court, not Collaery, can see. This will entail the security risks that they believe to be prevalent if the trial is to remain in the open. It also, in one of the more sinister moves, wants to appoint a special counsel – paid for by the taxpayer – to view these documents on Collaery’s behalf.

This Kafkaesque move shows a shocking lack of judgement from a government that is mired in issues of transparency and secrecy.

[…]

https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/bernard-collaerys-trial-needs-to-remain-open,15742

https://7news.com.au/politics/federal-whistleblower-law-changes-outlined-c-4516926

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/nov/10/governments-secret-evidence-against-bernard-collaery-could-lead-to-perpetual-vortex-of-delay-judge-warns

https://7news.com.au/politics/judge-asks-will-collaery-case-ever-end-c-4502723

https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/7498529/collaery-case-may-head-to-high-court-as-redaction-challenge-considered/

https://www.gofundme.com/f/support-bernard-collaery (PLEASE CONTRIBUTE!)

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/nov/02/bernard-collaery-case-lawyers-for-attorney-general-call-for-redactions-of-judgment-that-lifted-secrecy-orders

https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/7494069/lawyer-fights-push-to-hide-secrecy-ruling/

https://www.miragenews.com/trials-of-bernard-collaery-and-witness-k-655454/

https://www.miragenews.com/collaery-trial-welcome-removal-of-secrecy-647981/

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/oct/08/prosecution-of-bernard-collaery-an-insult-to-timor-leste-xanana-gusmao-says

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-06/witness-k-lawyer-bernard-collaery-has-win-in-bid-for-open-trial/100517818

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Collaery

Iran Rights Lawyer: Judicial Process is a “Means to Settle Political Scores”

11/11/21

One of the few remaining defense lawyers in Iran willing to take on human rights cases, Nasser Zarafshan is an expert at navigating the Islamic Republic’s judicial system, which criminalizes dissent and imprisons lawyers like Zarafshan for doing their job.

Usually tried under trumped-up “national security” charges, his cases often involve individuals who’ve been targeted by the state’s sprawling security establishment for publicly criticizing the government. In an interview with the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), Zarafshan spoke about these cases with deep frustration because it’s state security agencies—not the rule of law—that dictate their outcomes.

In the Islamic Republic, those detained under trumped-up national security charges are guilty until proven innocent, Zarafshan told CHRI in the interview that was translated to English from Persian. Intelligence agents carry out the arrests and fabricate the charges and the “judicial process becomes a means to settle political scores.”

Zarafshan is currently representing Farzaneh Zilabi, a lawyer prosecuted under national security charges for defending striking sugar mill workers. Lawyers like Zilabi who operate independently from the state and who choose to represent activists and dissidents are under constant threat of imprisonment and torture in Iran.

As of November 2021, at least five defense lawyers had confirmed prison sentences in the country based on false charges. Of these, Mohammad Najafi and Soheila Hejab are still in prison. Nasrin Sotoudeh is temporarily out of prison on sick leave. Giti Pourfazel and Payam Derafshan are free on parole.

Another lawyer representing laborers, Mohammad Hadi Erfanian-Kaseb, has been tried and sentenced to prison on sham charges, but like Zilabi is currently out of prison as both their sentences have not yet been finalized on appeal.

Meanwhile, three other human rights lawyers, Arash Keykhosravi, Mostafa Nili, and Mohammad Reza Faghihi, are awaiting trial on trumped-up charges because they tried to sue the government for its failed COVID-19 response. Of the three, only Mohammad Reza Faghihi is out of jail on bail, and the other two are still in detention.

In the following interview, which has been edited for length and clarity, Zarafshan discussed the difficulty of representing a fellow human rights lawyer in a judicial system where judges take orders from intelligence agents.

[…]

https://iranwire.com/en/special-features/10685

https://www.voanews.com/a/tribunal-to-investigate-violent-crackdown-in-2019-iran-fuel-protests-/6307784.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nasser_Zarafshan

(FARSI)

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nasser_Zarafshan (FRANCAIS)