Monthly Archives: May 2022

Algeria: Arrestation de l’avocat de Rachid Nekkaz

31/05/22

Maitre Yacine Khelifi, avocat de Rachid Nekkaz, maître Abdelkader Chohra et Hamza Djabri, les trois ayant été placé en détention provisoire le 15 mai dernier, a été interpellé, dans la soirée du lundi 30 mai à Alger, a indiqué le Comité national pour la libération des détenus (CNLD).


Selon la même source, celui-ci a été transféré vers Chlef, pour être présenté devant le procureur de la république. Les raisons de son arrestation ne sont pas encore connues. 


A noter, par ailleurs, que le verdict dans le procès du journaliste Ihsane El Kadi, directeur de Radio M et Maghreb Emergent, est renvoyé au 7 Juin prochain, alors qu’il devrait être prononcé aujourd’hui mardi 31 Mai. Le parquet avait requis, lors de son procès qui s’est tenu le 17 Mai dernier, trois ans de prison ferme, son exclusion de l’activité professionnelle et la suspension des médias qu’il dirige pour une durée de 5 ans. 

https://elwatan-dz.com/arrestation-de-lavocat-de-rachid-nekkaz

Cameroon: Separatists abduct lawyer in Bamenda

30/05/22

Reports say an Anglophone lawyer was kidnapped in Bamenda.

Barrister Yenshi Valentine Velieh was seized by suspected separatist fighters on Sunday May 29th, his colleague told MMI.

Our News Team is still gathering more information on this story.

https://www.africanews.com/2022/05/31/cameroon-soldiers-free-senator-held-hostage-by-anglophone-separatists/

https://www.camerounweb.com/CameroonHomePage/NewsArchive/Urgent-un-avocat-tabass-molest-et-tortur-Bafoussam-par-des-gendarmes-662399 (FRANCAIS)

https://afrique.tv5monde.com/information/cameroun-anglophone-24-civils-tues-par-des-separatistes-une-senatrice-liberee

https://information.tv5monde.com/afrique/cameroun-des-soldats-liberent-une-senatrice-otage-de-separatistes-anglophones-458678

Turkey: Baseless conviction of Amnesty’s Honorary Chair must be quashed, following long-awaited ECtHR ruling

31/05/22

The European Court of Human Rights ruled today that the 2017-2018 detention of Amnesty Turkey’s then-chair, Taner Kılıç was a violation of his rights to liberty and security (Article 5.1, 5.3 and 5.5) and freedom of expression (Article 10). Following the ruling, Amnesty International reiterated its call on the Turkish authorities to overturn the unjust and baseless conviction of Taner Kılıç, who faces another two-and-a-half years in prison if his conviction is upheld.

Taner Kılıç was arrested in June 2017 and detained for more than 14 months. In July 2020, he was sentenced to six years and three months. The verdict is currently pending at the Court of Cassation – Turkey’s highest court of appeal.

“This long-awaited European Court ruling confirms what we have known from the start: that Taner Kılıç – a life-long human rights defender was arbitrarily deprived of his liberty when jailed in a high security prison on trumped up charges,” said Amnesty International’s Europe Director, Nils Muižnieks.

“Despite the fact that the allegations levelled against him were comprehensively exposed as baseless during the trial, the court in Turkey convicted Taner Kılıç, who still faces a return to jail to serve out the rest of his politically motivated sentence. The European Court has this morning reaffirmed that the authorities in Turkey did not have ‘any reasonable suspicion that Taner had committed an offence’ to justify his pre-trial detention and no further evidence was ever presented to justify his conviction.”

Despite the lack of evidence, Taner Kılıç, a refugee rights lawyer and former and now honorary chair of Amnesty’s Turkey section, was convicted of ‘membership of a terrorist organisation’.

“Today’s ruling provides a clear and emphatic framework for Turkish authorities to ensure that Taner’s human rights are not further violated,” said Nils Muižnieks.

[…]

https://balkaninsight.com/2022/05/31/european-court-turkey-broke-law-by-arresting-amnesty-campaigner/

(TURKCE)

https://tr.euronews.com/2022/05/31/aihm-af-orgutu-direktoru-k-l-c-davas-nda-turkiye-yi-haks-z-buldu

https://www.lefigaro.fr/flash-actu/cedh-ankara-condamnee-pour-l-emprisonnement-du-president-de-la-branche-turque-d-amnesty-international-20220531 (FRANCAIS)

China: Human Rights Lawyers in Jail: Why Didn’t Bachelet Visit Them?

30/05/22

Hundreds of attorneys are in jail just for defending human rights cases. The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights was asked to visit at least three of them. She didn’t.

As the visit of the United Nations Hight Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, was heading to its conclusion, human rights activists in China criticized her for another missed opportunity. As far as it is known, she did not investigate the consequences of the 709 case, the July 8, 2015 crackdown on human rights lawyers. More than two hundred of them ended up in jail.

Surely, jailing and terrorizing lawyers whose sole crime was defending the human rights of their clients looks like the typical violation a United Nations Human Rights chief should care about. But does she?

On May 25, the China Human Rights Layers Group sent a letter to Ms. Bachelet. Bitter Winter publishes an English translation of the text. As far as we know, there has been no answer—and certainly no visit of the three prominent jailed lawyers mentioned in the letter.

“Dear Ms. Michelle Bachelet:

We are a group of human rights lawyers from China, and we are glad to hear that you are visiting China. First of all, we would like to welcome you! As the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, you have been very concerned about human rights in China for many years, which is also the purpose of your visit to China, and we are deeply grateful!

We are one of the most knowledgeable groups about the human rights situation in China, and we would like to implore you to take some time out of your busy schedule to visit these three 709 lawyers who are still in detention.

1. Li Yuhan, a Chinese human rights lawyer. She has represented many human rights cases and is one of the defense lawyers in the 709 case.

[…]

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/5/28/hr-organisations-slam-un-right-chief-over-china-visit

https://ishr.ch/latest-updates/un-rights-chief-concludes-failed-visit-to-china-misses-historic-opportunity/

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/28/un-urges-china-to-review-counter-terrorism-policies-after-official-visit

https://www.aninews.in/news/world/asia/arrests-of-lawyers-activists-journalists-under-national-security-law-in-hong-kong-deeply-worrying-un-rights-chief20220528223246/

Canada: Lawyer Caryma Sa’d arrested and charged for allegedly trespassing at Premier Doug Ford’s rally

29/05/22

The Hamilton Police Service on Thursday arrested and charged Toronto lawyer Caryma Sa’d with trespassing at premier Doug Ford’s rally at the C. Munro Hamilton International Airport.

Sa’d says her arrest was humiliating and indicates a scary and growing pattern of journalists and civilians met with physical violence for political expression. For example, the injured nurses at the rally against Bill 124, which caps wage increases for public sector workers.

Sa’d asserts that she was invited to the event and that regardless of the technicality of holding a public rally on private property, it is disheartening to see state resources utilized to stifle political speech.

It is probably a deliberate choice made by politicians to create grounds for legal arrest and is not in keeping with the spirit of democracy, Sa’d says.

“Police went on to characterize me as a protester and someone attempting to block access to the venue, and none of that is true,” she says. “Now I’m reading falsehoods about myself that are official police statements, and it’s very distressing.”

The Hamilton Police Service (HPS) released a statement, and spokesperson Jackie Penman said Sa’d’s charge stemmed from an arrest made when a group of protesters gathered on private property blocking a thoroughfare to a Cargojet facility.

[…]

https://www.lawtimesnews.com/news/general/lawyer-caryma-sad-arrested-and-charged-for-allegedly-trespassing-at-premier-doug-fords-rally/366994

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/lawyer-arrested-doug-ford-rally-1.6467914

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caryma_Sa%27d

Ukraine/Russia: Rights defenders condemn arbitrary detention of Crimean lawyers

27/05/22

While the international community’s main focus is on large-scale war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Russian military in the war zone in Ukraine, gross human rights violations in the occupied Crimea remain virtually unnoticed.

On May 26-27, Russian security forces detained four lawyers who have been helping victims of human rights abuses in Crimea since the first days of Russian occupation: Edem SemedliayevNazim SheikhmambetovAyder Azamatov, and Emine Avamileva.

On May 26, Konstantin Urazov and Ruslan Shambazov, officers of the Center for Combating Extremism (Center E) in occupied Crimea, detained Edem Semedliayev. The reason was that an unknown person tagged Semedliayev on a Facebook publication condemning the Russian army’s atrocities in Ukraine. Semedliayev was charged under an article on defamation of the Russian army (Article 20.3.3 of the Code of Administrative Offenses), which was adopted after the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine and began to be used in the occupied Crimea in violation of international humanitarian law. Later, “judge” Viktor Krapko found Edem Semedliayev guilty and fined him 75,000 rubles. Remarkably, Semedliayev was previously detained in the fall of 2021 on politically motivated charges of administrative offenses and stayed under administrative arrest for 12 days. The same Ruslan Shambazov took part in his prosecution.

Immediately after the court hearing, Center E officers detained Nazim Sheikhmambetov who defends Edem Semedliayev’s interests. Sheikhmbametov was charged with allegedly organizing a mass simultaneous stay of citizens in a public place, which led to a violation of public order (Article 20.2.2 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation). The events in which Sheikhmambetov is accused took place in October 2021, when about 20 people gathered near the occupation police station to support the arbitrarily detained persons. The “court” sentenced Sheikhmambetov to 8 days of administrative arrest.

On May 27, occupation police detained lawyers Ayder Azamatov and Emine Avamileva, who defend Nazim Sheikhmambetov. They are charged with the same administrative offense as Sheikhmambetov. They could face up to 15 days in jail on these charges.

Arbitrary detentions of lawyers indicate that Russia has moved to a new round of reprisals in occupied Crimea. From now on, the occupiers persecute not only for expression, peaceful assemblies, religious activities, civic activism, journalism, anti-war rhetoric, or any disagreement with Russia’s actions in Crimea, they also persecute lawyers who provide professional assistance to victims of political repression.

[…]

https://crimeahrg.org/en/statement-by-human-rights-organizations-on-arbitrary-detention-of-lawyers-in-occupied-crimea/

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/prominent-human-rights-lawyer-edem-semedliaev-sentenced-12-days-administrative-detention-and

https://www.rollonfriday.com/news-content/exclusive-police-investigate-ukraine-smear-campaign-against-lawyer

https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/ukrainian-nationalists-izyum-1.6463544

https://www.lapresse.ca/debats/opinions/2022-05-26/temoignage-guerre-en-ukraine/un-avocat-canadien-au-coeur-du-combat-de-gladiateurs.php (FRANCAIS)

Tunisia: Abderrazak Kilani condamné à un mois avec sursis : Six anciens bâtonniers intentent un recours en appel

27/05/22

Six anciens bâtonniers ont intenté un recours en appel contre le jugement émis par le tribunal militaire permanent de Tunis, le 19 mai 2022, contre leur confrère Abderrazak Kilani, condamné à un mois de prison avec sursis, pour «outrage à un fonctionnaire public lors de l’exercice de ses fonctions».

C’est ce qu’indique une note diffusée par l’ancien bâtonnier Kilani, où ses collègues Abdelwaheb Behi, Bechir Essid, Abdessatar Ben Moussa, Chawki Tabib, Fadhel Mahfoudh, et Ameur Mehrezi, annoncent avoir intenté un recours en appel contre le jugement, en date du jeudi 26 mai.

«Il s’agit d’une violation de l’immunité de l’avocat, pendant l’accomplissement de son devoir professionnel», lit-on dans la dite note.

Rappelons que le verdict a été rendu après le procès du 12 mai relatif à l’affaire N°69445, et ce, pour «outrage à un fonctionnaire public lors de l’exercice de ses fonctions», sachant que l’affaire remonte à mars dernier, lorsque Me Kilani, assurait la défense du dirigeant du parti islamiste Ennahdha et ancien ministre de la Justice Noureddine Bhiri, qui était alors en résidence surveillée pour soupçons dans une affaire terroriste.

Abderrazak Kilani a fait l’objet de poursuites après une altercation avec des agents sécuritaires, qui assuraient la garde de son client à l’hôpital Habib Bougatfa de Bizerte. Il avait été placé en détention, après un émis un mandat de dépôt émis par le juge d’instruction militaire avant d’être libéré après 20 jours de détention.

[…]

https://www.amnesty.be/veux-agir/agir-individus/reseau-actions-urgentes/article/faut-abandonner-charges-avocat-poursuivi-tribunal-militaire

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

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/tunisia-military-court-sentences-prominent-lawyer-prison (ENGLISH)

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

(Defense Committee Of Dean Abderrazak Kilani Facebook, 27/05/22)

Ethiopia: Rights lawyer Addisu Getaneh abducted by government

25/05/22

https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/ethiopia-arrests-4000-amhara-region-crackdown-local-state-media-report-2022-05-23/

https://www.euronews.com/2022/05/24/us-ethiopia-politics

https://fr.africanews.com/2022/05/23/ethiopie-plus-de-4-500-arrestations-en-amhara/ (FRANCAIS)

UK: How lawyers can help Ukraine

23/05/22

The Law Society has assisted the profession through the upheavals of the last few years by providing, on each occasion, resources for solicitors. It started with Brexit, moved on to the coronavirus pandemic, and now we are at the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Each development has had multiple consequences for the profession. The repercussions from the invasion of Ukraine are several, and still working themselves out: the retreat of law firms from Russia, the storm over SLAPPs (resulting in last week’s Law Society response to the government’s call for evidence), and the current difficulties over sanctions, both in acting for sanctioned individuals and in the possibility that sanctions on providing services to Russia might be extended to include legal services

A common question from lawyers is what they can individually do to help, to avoid looking on helplessly as Russia trashes areas of Ukraine.

Some may want to give money. The Law Society’s webpage refers readers either to the web-page of the Ukrainian National Bar Association (UNBA), which contains more information, or to major charities running appeals. For those more interested in a benefit in kind, there is a reference to the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

The Ukraine web-page of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) is much more upfront about money. (Most self-respecting bars have Ukraine web-pages these days, usually with an expected statement condemning Russian aggression. The CCBE has even written to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) offering to assist him with his investigation – see more on the investigation below.)

Regarding money, the CCBE says:

‘The Ukrainian National Bar Association has made a call for donations to support the Ukrainian lawyers and their families. The aid will be distributed by the Charity Foundation of the National Bar Association of Ukraine (100% owned by the National Bar Association of Ukraine) to those lawyers who need it the most, including those who have lost their homes, been injured, have no means of subsistence. A Board of Trustees will prepare and publish a report on the use of these funds.’

[…]

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/commentary-and-opinion/how-lawyers-can-help-ukraine/5112582.article

https://www.lawsociety.ie/gazette/top-stories/2022/ukraine-looks-at-ways-of-excluding-russia-from-un

https://www.americanbar.org/news/abanews/aba-news-archives/2022/05/as-war-rages-in-ukraine-lawyers-consider-genocide-laws/

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-61564440

https://unba.org.ua/mizhnarodna-dopomoga-dlya-naau

https://unba.org.ua/news/7434-unba-reports-on-international-charitable-assistance.html

https://en.unba.org.ua/

https://uba.ua/eng/

https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2022/05/human-rights-council-adopts-resolution-deteriorating-human-rights-situation

USA: Statement Condemning the Continuing Harassment and Criminalization of Justice Operators in Guatemala

24/05/22

The New York City Bar Association (City Bar) is gravely concerned by the Republic of Guatemala’s continued criminal harassment of lawyers, judges, prosecutors, and former prosecutors who have handled corruption cases. On February 8, 2022, the City Bar called on the Guatemalan Government to take action to protect Judge Erika Aifan from harassment and to ensure that any disciplinary action taken against her and other judges of the High Risk Court who handle corruption cases be properly administered and accorded all the protections of due process.[1] Unfortunately, the harassment and arrests have escalated, threatening judicial independence and the rule of law in Guatemala.

JUDICIAL INSTITUTIONS IN GUATEMALA CONTRAVENE THEIR MANDATE BREACHING DUE PROCESS PRINCIPLES

As integral components of the country’s justice system, the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Supreme Court of Justice, and the Constitutional Court are required to abide by the Constitution of the Republic of Guatemala and other laws, ensuring respect for the rule of law.[2] However, in the past few weeks multiple credible media sources have reported that, far from complying with their legal mandate, these institutions persist in actively persecuting, imprisoning, and criminalizing Guatemalan judges, prosecutors, and lawyers solely for fulfilling their professional obligations in pursuing cases against corruption.[3]

These acts by the Guatemalan authorities violate due process principles, including the right to a public hearing, by initiating criminal prosecutions under seal based on allegations made by attorneys who are defending those indicted in corruption cases. As the prosecutions are conducted under seal, the investigations are not made public and the corresponding hearings are often postponed, prolonging the preliminary detention of the accused.

CRIMINALIZATION OF JUSICE OPERATORS IS RELENTLESS AND REVEALS A SYSTEMATIC PERSECUTION

Some of the distressing cases include that of Siomara Sosa, former prosecutor of the FECI (Guatemala’s Special Prosecution Division combating impunity) and defense attorney, Leily Santizo, former member of the CICIG (the now defunct United Nations supported International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala). They were arrested and placed in preliminary detention after the Public Prosecutor’s Office charged them with alleged conspiracy and obstruction of justice crimes.[4] Both lawyers had been involved in high-profile landmark corruption cases that resulted in the imprisonment of multiple politicians, businessmen and drug traffickers.[5]

[…]

https://www.nycbar.org/member-and-career-services/committees/reports-listing/reports/detail/harassment-and-criminalization-of-justice-operators-in-guatemala

https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20220317-revenge-in-guatemala-anti-corruption-prosecutors-arrested

https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/03/01/guatemala-fresh-crackdown-prosecutors

http://documents.nycbar.org/files/Guatemala_Statement_5.23.22_Espa%C3%B1ol.pdf (ESPANOL)

https://www.hrw.org/es/news/2022/03/02/el-futuro-de-guatemala-esta-en-juego