Daily Archives: 07/01/2022

China: An End-of-Year Reflection on My Disbarment

06/01/22

On December 16, 2021, the Beijing Municipal Justice Bureau issued an administrative penalty decision to permanently revoke human rights lawyer Liang Xiaojun’s license, citing his expressions on Twitter and Weibo that refer to Falun Gong as a religious practice and his derogatory reference to Marxism as “Marxist Poison.” However, these are not the real reasons why the Chinese government took down yet another lawyer. In 2021, China disbarred 7 human rights lawyers; since the 709 Crackdown in 2015, over 40 human rights lawyers have been disbarred. – The Editors    

To no one’s surprise, at the end of 2021, I received a letter of administrative punishment from the Beijing Justice Bureau. My lawyer’s license had been permanently revoked.

Twenty years ago, I became a lawyer despite having never imagined I would do so; twenty years later, my career as a lawyer came to an end.

I accept such events in stride, regardless of whether or not I have any say in them.

I

Seen as a business venture, my 20-year legal career wasn’t much of a success.

I’ve never been very business-minded and basically had no concept of finance growing up. I like a simple life and don’t have much desire for luxury or status.

My parents worked at a college, and I was assigned to be a lecturer upon graduating from university. Starting in 2000, when I graduated from the China University of Political Science and Law with a double bachelor’s degree, my life experiences revolved around education, from a student at one school to a teacher at another. All I could imagine in my future was that it would be in academia.

But even in 2000, a double bachelor’s degree was not enough to find a job in a university, and nor was I willing to go back to the place I left behind. So when I graduated I cobbled together a resume and sent it out with low expectations. I got a few interviews, but they all amounted to nothing due to my lack of experience. 

At a loss as to what to do, I remembered that some fellow students and I had tested for and received a lawyers’ qualification certificate in 1999. I thus applied for a job offering with a law firm. 

[…]

Tunisia: Free Arbitrarily Detained Ex-Justice Minister

06/01/22

Former Justice Minister Noureddine Bhiri (left) and former Interior Ministry employee Fethi Beldi are both in arbitrary detention in Tunisia since December 31, 2021.

Tunisian authorities should immediately release a former justice minister, Noureddine Bhiri, from arbitrary detention, Human Rights Watch said today.

Plainclothes police intercepted Bhiri on December 31, 2021 outside his home in Tunis and forced him into their vehicle, without showing an arrest warrant. His family did not know his whereabouts until he was taken to a hospital in Bizerte on January 2, 2022, where he remains under police guard. Fathi Beldi, a former Interior Ministry employee, was detained the same day in similar circumstances. His whereabouts have not been revealed.  

“The abduction-style detention of Noureddine Bhiri and Fathi Beldi demonstrates the growing threat to human rights protections since President Saied’s power grab last July,” said Eric Goldstein, acting Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The authorities should free Bhiri and Beldi now or, if they have evidence of an actual crime, charge them under the law. It’s that simple.”

The authorities have disclosed no formal charges against Bhiri. However, on the day he was seized, the Interior Ministry issued a statement referring to two unnamed people detained within the framework of a 1978 emergency decree, presumably Bhiri and Beldi. Judicial authorities, who normally oversee prosecutions, have not commented on either case.

President Saied suspended parliament on July 25, stripped its members of immunity, and dismissed the prime minister, saying it was necessary to act decisively to strengthen the country’s lagging economy and Covid-19 response.

Bhiri, 63, served as justice minister from 2011 to 2013, and is a member of the Tunisian bar. Bhiri is also a vice president of Ennahdha, the largest party in the parliament, and head of its parliamentary bloc. Ennahdha has denounced President Saied’s consolidation of power as a “coup” and demanded that he reopen parliament.

Bhiri is the first high-ranking Ennahdha figure to be placed in custody since Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, who was ousted as president in 2011, imprisoned scores of senior leaders and thousands of members in an all-out campaign to crush the movement.

Bhiri was with his wife, Saida Akremi, a lawyer, when police detained him. They confiscated Akremi’s phone as she was trying to use it. 

The Interior Ministry’s statement that evening said the two people were detained as a “preventive measure dictated by the need to protect national security,” as permitted by article 5 of [Emergency] Decree 78-50 of January 26, 1978. 

[…]

https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/01/06/tunisia-free-arbitrarily-detained-ex-justice-minister

https://www.news24.com/news24/africa/news/grave-fears-for-hunger-striking-tunisia-politician-20220106

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

https://www.hrw.org/fr/news/2022/01/06/tunisie-liberer-lex-ministre-de-la-justice-detenu-arbitrairement (FRANCAIS)

https://www.france24.com/fr/afrique/20220105-tunisie-noureddine-bhiri-est-entre-la-vie-et-la-mort-selon-sa-femme-qui-d%C3%A9nonce-un-enl%C3%A8vement

https://www.aa.com.tr/fr/afrique/tunisie-l%C3%A9pouse-de-noureddine-bhiri-entame-une-gr%C3%A8ve-de-la-faim-/2467204

https://www.tunisienumerique.com/tunisie-le-comite-de-defense-de-noureddine-bhiri-adresse-un-message-urgent-a-son-epouse/

https://www.tunisienumerique.com/du-nouveau-sur-letat-de-sante-de-noureddine-bhiri/

https://www.france24.com/fr/vid%C3%A9o/20220104-tunisie-des-soup%C3%A7ons-de-terrorisme-%C3%A0-l-origine-de-l-arrestation-de-noureddine-bhiri

https://www.rfi.fr/fr/afrique/20220103-tunisie-le-ministre-de-l-int%C3%A9rieur-justifie-l-arrestation-de-noureddine-bhiri

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noureddine_Bhiri

https://www.hrw.org/ar/news/2022/01/06/380911 (ARABIC)