A police officer and eight other suspects were arrested and are now facing murder charges for the killing of Palawan lawyer Eric Jay Magcamit last Nov. 17.
In a statement on Thursday, the Philippine National Police said among those indicted was Police Senior Master Sergeant Ariel Pareja.
Pareja is now under restrictive custody of the Palawan Police Provincial Office.
Also named respondents in the complaint filed on Wednesday before the Palawan Provincial Prosecutor’s Office were Jazer del Rosario, Marcelino Quioyo, and six other John Does.
Mimaropa PNP Regional Director Brig. Gen. Pascual Muñoz said Pareja has been moonlighting as a bodyguard for Quioyo who was involved in a court case over a land dispute where Magcamit was representing the other party.
Chairmen of three major bar associations in Turkey, the Ankara, Istanbul and Diyarbakır bars, called for judicial independence and said the Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) must be restructured, in interviews with news website Bianet on Tuesday.
What needs reforming is not the law, but the mentality in law enforcement, Ankara Bar Association Chairman Erinç Sağkan said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced a Judicial Reform Strategy Document in May last year, and parliament has passed three sets of bills since.
“But we have seen that judicial reform isn’t possible via legal amendments,” Sağkan said. “The necessary reform in mentality will come with making the judiciary independent.”
Sağkan criticised education quality in Turkey’s 120 law faculties, and proposed changes to the selection process for judges and prosecutors.
Among his suggestions were prioritising competence over references, and taping all interviews where a bar representative should be present.
Lawyers must be able to remain independent, and not face prosecution for taking on any client or be associated with any possible crime they may have committed, Sağkan said.
“Without such amendments, reiterating universal judicial principles like arrests being the last resort will not serve as judicial reform,” he added, criticising both Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül’s recent comments and what he called the politicisation of bar associations with the multiple bar law that Turkey passed this summer.
The government ‘is very much concerned,’ says Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, but is there a special inquiry that is looking at patterns?
Dearth of eyewitnesses. Professional killers. Little evidence.
These are some of the reasons offered by the government in explaining its difficulty in solving killings of Filipino lawyers, which has reached an alarming rate since 2016 when President Rodrigo Duterte took office.
“Many of these killings had been carefully planned and were probably carried out by professional killers, that’s why it has been more difficult to crack these cases compared to ordinary crimes that happen on the streets,” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Wednesday, November 25.
Two days earlier on Monday, November 23, lawyer Joey Luis Wee was killed as he was walking up the stairs to his office in Cebu City. Wee is now the 53rd lawyer killed since July 2016, which includes 8 judges and 10 prosecutors.
“The government is very much concerned about the increasing number of crimes committed against lawyers, prosecutors, and judges,” said Guevarra, adding that more National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) field operatives have been deployed to Cebu City and Palawan to hunt for the killers.
A week ago on November 17, 35-year-old lawyer Eric Jay Magcamit was shot on his way to a hearing in Narra, Palawan, marking him as the 52nd death in the legal profession in that timeframe.
For University of the Philippines (UP) constitutional law professor John Molo, there has to be “an independent inquiry on the pattern and rate of these killings.”
The pretrial detentions of Egyptian lawyer and human rights defender Hoda Abdelmonem and political prisoner Aisha al-Shater have expired, Amnesty International has said, calling for their immediate release.
Abdelmonem and Shater had been arrested on 1 November 2018 and went missing until they appeared at the Supreme State Security Prosecution in Cairo a few weeks later on 21 November.
On Saturday, the two women completed two years in provisional detention, and therefore must be released, says Amnesty.
“Their detention has bypassed the absolute legal limit set forth by article 143 of the code of criminal procedures,” said Hussein Bayoumi, Egypt researcher at Amnesty International.
“That being said, their detention has always been unlawful,” he told MEE.
According to article 143, the maximum two-year limit is only applicable if the detainee was facing charges that could see them sentenced to death or life in prison. But if the detainees were facing charges in a felony punishable by less than life in prison, the maximum limit was 18 months, Bayoumi explained.
“We call on Egyptian authorities to release Hoda and Aisha, as their detention was arbitrary in the first place,” he said.
THREE lawyers who are representing soldiers accused of murder are facing a seven-day jail sentence for contempt of court. High Court judge Justice Charles Hungwe has issued an ultimatum for the lawyers, saying they should give reasons within two days, why they should not be locked up.
Justice Hungwe issued the ultimatum after the lawyers failed to appear before him on Monday in a case in which their clients are facing murder charges. If convicted, the soldiers could be sentenced to death. An irate Justice Hungwe said he would issue a warrant of arrest for the three lawyers if they failed within 48 hours to give cogent reasons why they failed to appear in court.
The three lawyers are Advocates Karabo Mohau Karabo, Napo Mafaesa and Lintle Tuke. Meanwhile, Justice Onkemetse Tshosa, who was also roped in to deal with the high-profile cases, expressed concern over the delays which he blamed on the defence lawyers.
Seven months have passed since the arrest and detention of human rights lawyer, Hejaaz Hizbullah. When he was taken into custody on 14 April, his friends and family, and some within his fraternity, decried the obvious injustice. They were quickly told to quieten down and ‘let the justice system do its work’. They were told not to interfere with the investigation. They were told to be patient, as the truth would eventually emerge, and perhaps set Hejaaz free.
Seven months have passed. The investigations continue with no indictment in sight. If law enforcement authorities and prosecutors actually had a case against Hejaaz, wouldn’t they have framed charges by now? Should we let the authorities investigate in perpetuity?
Seven months have passed, and the media circus has dissipated, making clowns out of all those who prejudged Hejaaz’s guilt. The media callously aired so-called ‘damning’ evidence, and set out to make a monster out of Hejaaz. They have only made him a martyr, as none of the evidence appears to be credible.
Seven months have passed. Hejaaz is yet to be produced before a judge. A Magistrate has repeatedly expressed concerns over the handling of the investigations. But he has no power under our draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act to insist that Hejaaz be produced in court. So Hejaaz’s virtually incommunicado detention continues without any judicial supervision.
Hejaaz’s case is no outlier. It reflects both the danger faced by lawyers who dare do the work of justice, and the indifference of many others who care not to question injustice. So it is not just Hejaaz who is on trial right now. The bell tolls for the entire profession. Those who walk in Hejaaz’s footsteps will feel the deterring weight of the sheer absurdity of his predicament; they will be tempted to abandon their path because they know they could be next. If the injustice against Hejaaz is left unaddressed, it sets a new precedent for all lawyers: they now confront the risk of being punished for doing their job, and face the danger of being abandoned by their colleagues.
Turkiye’de hergun insan haklari ihlalleri yasaniyor. Iste bu ihlallere karsi ses verenlerden bazilari: Eski bir hakim ve aktif bir insan haklari savunucusu olarak, Stuart Russell dunyanin farkli yerlerindeki avukatlarin haklarini savunuyor. O da #InsanHaklariAdinaSesVer cagrimiza destek verenlerden. Eğer sen de Türkiye’de işkence, kötü muamele, zorla kaybetme ya da alıkoyma mağduru yahut benzer bir insan hakları ihlali tanığı veya mağduru isen, hikayeni bizimle paylaş… Ses ver! Sesini duyur! Ve boylelikle bizler de bu hukuksuzluklar ve ihlaller hakkinda farkindalik olusturalim. email@example.com adresine hikayeni ulastir. Turkiye Tribunal Mahkemesi yapacagi yargilama ve alacagi kararla yasadigin magduriyetlerin duyurulmasina ve durdurulmasina katki saglayacaktir. Devami yakinda… https://turkeytribunal.com/tr/ses-verenler/
Former Judge Stuart Russell calls upon YOU to “Speak Up For Human Rights!”
Russell is the co-chair of IAPL Monitoring Committee on attacks on lawyers. He talks about the pressure on the judiciary, and the arbitrariness in the mass arrest of lawyers in #Turkey.
‘No judge or lawyer should ever fear doing what they were sworn to do…. It is now a challenge to the leadership of the Bar to create those conditions’
Judge Jeaneth Gaminde San Joaquin was ambushed just this October. 22 days after, Judge Teresa Abadilla was shot and killed inside her own chambers. A week after that, 35-year-old lawyer Eric Magcamit was assassinated while on his way to a hearing in Narra, Palawan. And as I write this, a retired Court of Appeals justice based in Pampanga remains missing.
I cannot claim to know Judge Tessa as well as others. But in our interactions in law school and in the Supreme Court (as law clerks), I can confirm the testimony of her close friends that Judge Tessa was a gentle, self-effacing soul whose death was a “loss to the judiciary” (as described by the Chief Justice). And while I don’t know Judge San Joaquin (who survived the slay try) or Atty. Magcamit, I am certain of these facts – they have families, they have loved ones, and they are human beings. As the IBP Palawan Chapter observed, “Atty. Eric is a brilliant and respected young lawyer. But more than that, he is a loving and affectionate husband and father; a kind, generous, and God-fearing human being.”
Around 53 lawyers have been killed since 2016. That’s like 10 per year, or almost 1 per month. The rate has reached a point where we’ve become used to the ritual of issuing statements “condemning” and “decrying” their deaths. But after 53 killed, one asks whether that is all we can do. One asks whether it is all they deserve. Lian Buan, a journalist who covers the judiciary, recently tweeted, “The legal profession is under attack. DO something.”
During the UPR in 2018, Azerbaijan accepted four recommendations with respect to the effective protection of lawyers, including disciplinary measures taken against lawyers, and access to justice. Our report concludes that Azerbaijan has not adequately implemented the four recommendations with respect to lawyers.
The Azerbaijani authorities have failed to respect the rights of lawyers by not adequately enabling them to perform their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference. Furthermore, the Azerbaijani authorities have failed to take substantive steps to uphold the right to a fair trial and to guarantee that every citizen has effective access to justice and legal assistance of their choice.
We urge the authorities of Azerbaijan to:
respect the rights of lawyers, guarantee that lawyers are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference, and guarantee that lawyers are not being subjected to disbarment or other disciplinary measures on improper grounds, in line with Principles 16(a) and (c), 23 and 27 of the Basic Principles and Article 19 ICCPR. Azerbaijan should ensure that there are fair and transparent admission proceedings into the legal profession. Azerbaijan should implement recommendations 140.70 and 141.13 fully and without any delay;
Two lawyers who had earlier been detained at the Douala Central Prison have been freed.
The lawyers including Barrister Tamfu Ngarka Triestel Richard and Maitre Armel Tchuenmegne Kenmegne were however handed six months suspended sentences with a fine of one hundred thousand francs cfa each.
The judgment was pronounced Monday November 23rd 2020, by the presiding judge Adama Musa Epse Ndomche at Bonanjo court of First Instance in Doaula.
According to Barrister Ebah Ntoko Justice, “…a six months suspended sentence for three years means the two lawyers will go home but if they commit a similar offense and are sentenced within a period of three years,they will have to serve an additional six months sentence”.
The lawyer posited that Bar. Tamfu Richard and Maitre Tchuenmegne will be release from New Bell prison where they have been remanded in custody since Friday November 20th 2020 as soon as they pay their financial fines of 100.000f each.
Later this Monday evening, Tamfu and Armel regained their freedom after fulfilling necessary administrative procedures.