Daily Archives: 30/11/2021

Belarus: Letter on the sentencing of Leanid Sudalenka

30/11/21

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.

[…]

https://www.rferl.org/a/belarus-lawyers-disbarment-hrw/31532418.html

https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/10/26/belarusian-authorities-retaliate-against-lawyers-defending-human-rights

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

30/11/21

BYLOCK REPORT COVER

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.

[…]

https://trnews0.blogspot.com/2021/11/new-report-legal-and-technical-issues.html

https://bianet.org/english/world/253770-turkey-to-pay-over-2-million-euro-in-damages-to-427-judges-prosecutors

Tajikistan: Human Rights Lawyer Abdulmachid Rizoyev At Risk Of Torture 

29/11/21

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

29/11/21

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.”

[…]

https://cihrs.org/algeria-ongoing-pre-trial-detention-of-mr-abderraouf-arslane/?lang=en

https://www.barlamane.com/fr/algerie-amnesty-international-appelle-a-la-liberation-dun-avocat-detenu-arbitrairement/ (FRANCAIS)

https://www.fnuja.com/AVOCATS-EN-DANGER-Communique-de-soutien-a-Me-Arslane-ABDERRAOUF_a2481.html

(ESPANOL)