Monthly Archives: April 2022

Russia: Human rights lawyer Ivan Pavlov disbarred


On 16 March 2022, the Ministry of Justice attempted to disbar Ivan Pavlov. However, the Council of the St. Petersburg Bar Association instead decided to disbar the human rights lawyer on the same day, and has therefore been forbidden by the St. Petersburg Bar Association to provide any type of legal assitance. It is believed that the decision was made based on the fact that Ivan Pavlov has been outside of Russia for more than six months, and allegedly not fulfillling his professional duties as a lawyer. It was reported that this decision is in the interests of the State prosecutor in the case of Ivan Safronov, whom Ivan Pavlov was representing. His disbarment means that Ivan Pavlov can no longer provide legal assistance to anyone, including Ivan Safronov.

This situation arose from three complaints sent by the Minstry of Justice and one by the Vice President of the St. Petersburg Bar Association to the Qualification Commission. According to the complaints, Ivan Pavlov breached several provisions concerning his work as a lawyer, although the alleged breaches were not specified. The complaints were examined by the Qualification Commission, which found that Ivan Pavlov could not properly perform his duties as a lawyer. Upon receiving the complaints and also carrying out an examination, the Council of the St. Petersburg Bar Association did not agree with the opinion of the Qualification Commission concerning the number of alleged breaches. As a result of their examination of the complaints, the Council disbarred Ivan Pavlov based on the “inability of a lawyer to perform his professional duties for more than six months,” as per Article 16 §2 of the Russian Federal Law on the Bar Association and Bar Activities. However, the evidence based on this Article has not yet been provided to Ivan Pavlov or his lawyer. His disbarment bans Ivan Pavlov from providing anyone with legal assistance.

Since April 2021, Ivan Pavlov has been under criminal investigation, accused of disclosing data of a preliminary investigation concerning one of his clients, former journalist Ivan Safronov. On 19 July 2021, Ivan Pavlov’s lawyer’s appeals were rejected by the Moscow City Court regarding the restriction measures forbidding him to use any form of communication, except for calling the emergency services, the investigator for the case, or his relatives, leaving them unchanged.

Ivan Pavlov is a prominent human rights lawyer and director of Team 29, an association of lawyers and journalists. His legal work focuses on defending those wrongly accused by the security services of disclosing state secrets, high treason, or espionage. He has also been working to ensure public access to government information, and with this aim founded the Institute for the Development of Freedom of Information which was designated as a “foreign agent” by the Russian authorities in 2014. In 2015, Team 29 was established to provide consultation and legal aid to individuals asserting their right to receive and distribute information, defend victims abused by law enforcement and security agencies, provide recommendations on how to respond to searches, interrogations, arrests, etc. Ivan Pavlov has also contributed to the development of Russian legislation on the right to freedom of information. He received the Moscow Helsinki Group Award for defending human rights in court in 2015 and the Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism in 2018, awarded by Human Rights Watch to activists who put themselves at great risk to protect the dignity and rights of others.


Polish court sees no grounds to arrest prominent lawyer


A prominent Polish lawyer who has represented leading political opposition figures and was treated as a suspect in a politically sensitive case was cleared by a court on Friday.

In 2020, Giertych was detained by Polish authorities and his home was searched in a manner which a Polish court later considered to be unlawful and unjustified.

Prosecutors ordered his arrest, accusing him of laundering enormous sums of money from a publicly traded company, Polnord.

Giertych vehemently denies the claims, and accuses Poland’s ruling authorities of trying to ruin him politically.

The District Court in Lublin announced Friday that it was dismissing the prosecutor’s request for his arrest, upholding the decision of a lower court. The decision is final.

The court argued there were no grounds for his arrest, and said the prosecutor had failed to show evidence backing up its claims that Giertych was guilty of the alleged crimes.

Giertych welcomed the decision, saying he viewed it as an example of rule of law and independent judges “resisting populist assaults.”

According to reports in Polish media, prosecutors plan to keep investigating Giertych and view the judge who ruled in his case as biased against the country’s conservative ruling party, Law and Justice.

From 2006-2007, Giertych was a deputy prime minister and education minister in a conservative government led by Law and Justice. At the time he was the leader of a far-right party, the League of Polish Families, but has since allied himself politically with Tusk and other centrist politicians.,nId,5992883 (POLSKA) (FRANCAIS)

Turkey ordered detention of 89 people over alleged Gülen links in a week


Turkish prosecutors have over the past week ordered the detention of 89 people including teachers, lawyers, active duty and dismissed military officers and former military cadets due to alleged links to the Gülen movement, according to Turkish media reports.

The public prosecutor’s office in Denizli on Monday issued detention warrants for 10 individuals including teachers and lawyers over alleged Gülen links. Police conducted operations in the provinces to detain five suspects.

As part of an investigation launched on Tuesday by the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, detention warrants have been issued for 53 people including active duty and former military officers and former military cadets. Turkish police have detained 23 of the suspects in operations in 16 provinces.


Following the coup attempt, the Turkish government declared a state of emergency and carried out a massive purge of state institutions under the pretext of an anti-coup fight. More than 130,000 public servants, including 4,156 judges and prosecutors, as well as 29,444 members of the armed forces were summarily removed from their jobs for alleged membership in or relationships with “terrorist organizations” by emergency decree-laws subject to neither judicial nor parliamentary scrutiny.

A total of 319,587 people have been detained and 99,962 arrested in operations against supporters of the Gülen movement since the coup attempt, Turkey’s Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said in November.

In addition to the thousands who were jailed, scores of other Gülen movement followers had to flee Turkey to avoid the government crackdown.

UK/Russia/Ukraine: Lawyer-bashing has a new target


Lawyer-bashing has long been a national pastime, with attacks regularly mounted by the press and politicians on ‘fat cat’ defence barristers and ‘activist’ legal aid lawyers for having the nerve to, er, do their job. 

But a new target has emerged – the alleged ‘enablers’ of oligarchs, whose cash was generally welcomed in London until Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

So it was that a panel of eminent investigative journalists queued up at the Frontline Club in London on Tuesday evening to pour scorn on claimant media lawyers as the pressure continues to build.

Some firms are ‘becoming the servants of the super-rich’ and using litigation to try and ‘silence a journalist for years’, said Clare Rewcastle Brown, whose work exposing corruption in Malaysia led to her being sued in London and elsewhere.

Paul Caruana Galizia, a reporter at Tortoise Media whose mother Daphne Caruana Galizia was murdered in Malta in 2017, said London lawyers are offering a ‘one-stop oligarch shop’ and, in certain cases, effectively ‘acting for an organised crime group’.

Even an officer of the court joined in, with Adelaide Lopez – a senior associate at Wiggin who recently represented journalist Catherine Belton – saying that ‘naming and shaming … is probably going to be more effective than anything the SRA is going to do’. Ouch.

Asked whether the Solicitors Regulation Authority has the ‘capacity or the competence’ to enforce potential new measures to stop so-called ‘lawfare’, Lopez and fellow lawyer Charlie Holt – UK campaigns manager for English PEN – answered in unison: ‘No.’

Perhaps even Gazette readers who deplore the criticism of lawyers for the clients they represent can agree on that one.


South Africa: Drama unfolds as advocate Teffo gets arrested during Senzo Meyiwa trial


Advocate Malesela Teffo, who is representing four of the five suspects linked to the murder of Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa, was dramatically arrested during the trial at the Pretoria High Court on Thursday.

It is still not clear why Teffo was arrested inside the courtroom, which took place while the proceedings were under way and the trial postponed to May 30.

The cheeky Teffo had Mzansi in stitches as he continued to poke holes in the testimony of Sergeant Thabo Johannes Mosia during cross-examination. Mosia, a forensic fieldworker, is the first state witness. He started his testimony on Tuesday.

Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela repeatedly reminded Teffo to ask relevant questions. He was trending on social media earlier for his classic comebacks.


Burma/Myanmar: NLD Lawyer Goes Missing Amid Pro-Regime Militia Attacks


A prominent lawyer from the ousted National League for Democracy (NLD) Party went missing on Wednesday in Mandalay. It is feared that Daw Ywat Nu Aung has either been arrested by the military regime or kidnapped by a pro-junta group responsible for the recent murders of NLD supporters in Mandalay.

She is part of the legal team acting for ousted Mandalay Chief Minister and NLD vice chairman Dr. Zaw Myint Maung, who is currently on trial in Mandalay’s Obo Prison for alleged corruption.

One of Daw Ywat Nu Aung’s colleagues said she last saw the lawyer on Wednesday, just before she left Dr. Zaw Myint Maung’s trial at the prison.

“I met her just before she left [the prison]. If she was arrested, it could be around 3:30 or 4pm,” said the colleague.

As of Thursday afternoon, the lawyer’s fate is still unknown.

Many suspect that Daw Ywat Nu Aung may have been arrested by the regime because she is defending a high-profile NLD figure.

However, her disappearance comes at a time when Mandalay has been rocked by the extrajudicial killings of NLD members by the Thwe Thout Group, a pro-regime militia. The group has vowed to respond to an anti-junta force’s pledge to attack regime supporters, security forces and their family members.


Turkey: Rights lawyer Can Atalay sentenced to 18 years in jail for “attempting to overthrow the government”


Turkish civil rights activist and philanthropist Osman Kavala was jailed for life without parole on Monday in a long-running case that sparked a diplomatic crisis and highlighted fears for the rule of law. 

The 64-year-old, who has been held in prison for 4½ years, was found guilty of attempting to overthrow the government in connection with mass protests that broke out in 2013 and a failed coup three years later. 

In a verdict greeted with boos and jeers, seven other defendants were sentenced to 18 years imprisonment at Istanbul’s Caglayan courthouse. The seven other defendants were civil rights activists Mucella Yapici, Can Atalay, Tayfun Kahraman, Ali Hakan Altinay, Yigit Ali Ekmekci, Cigdem Mater and Mine Ozerden

The trial of Henri Barkey, a US-based professor at Lehigh University, and seven other defendants will be continued in a separate case, the court ruled.

Many raised their fists in salute in a show of defiance and promised to continue their struggle. “We will not bow to persecution. We will resist persecution,” said defendant Can Atalay. 

Rights groups condemned the outcome of a case they had already criticized as unfounded and unjust. 

“Today, we have witnessed a travesty of justice of spectacular proportions,” said Nils Muiznieks, Europe director at Amnesty International, of the “politically motivated charade.” 

He added, “The court’s decision defies all logic. The prosecuting authorities have repeatedly failed to provide any evidence that substantiates the baseless charges of attempting to overthrow the government. 

“This unjust verdict shows that the Gezi trial was only an attempt to silence independent voices.” 

Emma Sinclair-Webb, Europe director at Human Rights Watch, described the conclusion of the “show trial” as “horrifying, cruel and evil.” 



Torture and criminalisation of protest in Cuba


The UN Committee against Torture (CAT) will examine the situation in Cuba in relation to the measures adopted to prevent, investigate, punish and fully compensate victims of torture during its 73rd session, on 20, 21 and 22 April, 2022.

This report was prepared by a coalition of independent civil society organisations and human rights defenders in Cuba, with the support of international human rights organisations. The objective of this report is to put the spotlight on the situation of human rights on the island, based on the obligations assumed by the Cuban State by ratifying the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel Treatment or Punishment.

The review by the CAT is one of the few carried out by UN treaty bodies on the island, since Cuba has ratified neither the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights nor the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

This report highlights the lack of legal safeguards for detainees and violations of due process; the lack of independence of lawyers and justice operators; the lack of measures to prevent, eradicate and punish violence against women; the constant harassment, persecution and criminalisation of human rights defenders and journalists; the closure of democratic spaces for civil society organisations; the cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment suffered by people deprived of liberty in detention centres; the arbitrary arrests, torture and cruel treatment of journalists and protesters in the context of the defence of human rights and social protest in the country.


Ukraine: Meet the Dead Lawyers Society


Today we are moved to present a brand-new startup that is carrying out an amazing labour of recognition and visibility for the war against Russia. The initiative is a reference to the movie Dead Poets Society, conformed by over 8,000 Ukrainian lawyers that is constantly spreading and fighting nonstop for their values. 

For the past 5 years that have been mostly peaceful, they spent the time writing on media, hosting events and building a new platform for legal discussion concerning the insights of the legal business inside and outside Ukraine. However, after the invasion many lawyers decided to stop their legal practice to join the armed forces or help the army in any other way. 

Of course, since the members of the Dead Lawyers Society just became soldiers some weeks ago, they are not well equipped for the war and that is why they are raising donations (click the link in case you want to help donating). This way the society is providing drones, thermal imagers, medicines, cloths, flashlights, sleeping bags, etc. No weapons as those require licensing, but they can guarantee clear and transparent reports. Furthermore, Dima Gadomsky is managing the project, he is partner at Axon Partners, Aspen Institute fellow and Ambassador for Ukraine of the European Legaltech Association. 

The collective defends the following values: 

FREEDOM, and what it invokes in the forms of objectivity, independence, impartiality and self-regulation; 

IMPACT, in the senses of recognition and acceptance by the legal community, as well as at the level of authority, searching for determination of the criteria for market evaluation; 

COMMUNITY, where members are able to change, support, share and inspire others that are like-minded and provide a safe environment; 

DEVELOPMENT, to accelerate and encourage real change in the legal sphere and to determine the criteria for these changes; 

QUALITY, the content is meant to be exciting and expressive, promises integrity and emphasis on the higher standards of journalism and transparency.

Before the russian invasion, their day-to-day activities were financed by the community itself and by the following top-tier law firms: Vasil Kisil and Partners, Integrites, Asters, Axon Partners, Moris, and Engarde. They continue the donations, but they only cover the salaries of the newsroom. So now they require extra donations or, if not possible, you can also help this project by sharing information in social media, aiding lawyers evacuated from Ukraine to find a temporary job in law firms or other companies, Outsource some paid legal work to any Ukrainian law firm you know, or commit to giving a loan to the Ukrainian law firm you know well if it will require financial aid to save the team.



CCBE: Speech by Didier Reynders, European Commissioner for Justice


Speech by Didier Reynders, European Commissioner for Justice at the occasion of the CCBE Brussels Standing Committee on 1 April 2022 – Discours de Didier Reynders, commissaire européen à la justice, à l’occasion du comité permanent du CCBE à Bruxelles le 1er avril 2022 (FRANCAIS)