Egypt: Arrest, arbitrary detention and ill-treatment of Mr. Tarek Hussein

June 20, 2017

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EGY 001 / 0617 / OBS 066

Arrest /Arbitrary detention /Ill-treatment

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Egypt.
Description of the situation:
The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the arrest, arbitrary detention and ill-treatment of Mr. Tarek Hussein (known as Tito), human rights activist and lawyer at the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR)[1].

According to the information received, on June 17, 2017, at dawn fifteen masked officers and plain clothes officers from the Central Security Forces stormed out Mr. Tarek Hussein’s house, arrested him and confiscated his laptop and cell phone. During his arrest, Mr. Tarek Hussein requested to see the arrest warrant but was not shown any and was physically and verbally assaulted instead, including upon his arrival at Khanka’s police station.

He was subsequently brought before the Al-Khanka District Prosecution, where he was accused of “joining an illegal organization” and “calling for a protest”.

On June 18, 2017, the Al-Khanka District Prosecution ordered Mr. Tarek Hussein’s release on a 2000 EGP (approx. 99 euros) bail, which has been duly paid. However, as of publication of this appeal the latter had not been released yet and is still held at Khanka’s police station.
In addition, allegations of ill-treatment including physical and verbal assault were reported while in detention. It has been reported that Mr. Tarek Hussein is being detained in poor conditions which include sharing an overcrowded cell with eighty co-detainees, and being denied food and changing clothes for two consecutive days. Mr. Hussein’s relatives, who have been in contact with the prison’s authorities, were told that “he deserves to die”.

Mr. Tarek Hussein’s arrest and arbitrary detention occur amidst protest over Tiran and Sanafir islands’ transfer to Saudi Arabia, which he has been vocally opposing[2].

The Observatory is extremely concerned about the ongoing arbitrary detention of Mr. Tarek Hussein despite the Court order to release him on bail. The Observatory believes his arrest and arbitrary detention are linked to his human rights activities and consequently urges Egyptian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release him, and withdraw the accusations against him.

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A letter to the head of the lawyers’ syndicate from the lawyer, and vice-secretary of Freedom in Al Dostour Party, Tarek Hussien, detained since the dawn of Sunday despite a prosecutor’s decree to release him on bail: [Translation]

Mr. Sameh Ashour, head of the lawyers’ syndicate, my warmest greetings. I write these words to you on the fifth day of my detention by the Ministry of Interior and the third day of my illegal detention despite the general prosecutor’s decision to release me on bail on Sunday June 18th 2017. Before I tell you what happened during these days may I remind you of your words to us during the pledge ceremony for the new members of the syndicate “A lawyer cannot be lower in standing than a judge or a deputy prosecutor, as we are partners in the justice system”.
On the first day of my detention I was blindfolded for four hours and during the interrogation I was asked about my job so I said I am a lawyer and I am registered in the lawyers’ syndicate as they replied “syndicate… let the syndicate do you any good then”. On the second day and after my return to Al Khanka police station after the prosecution’s decision to release me I was assaulted and beaten by one of the junior officers in the station. When he found out I was a lawyer he increased his insults. On the fourth day I spent 19 hours in an inhumane transport van that took me at 6:00 am from Al Khanka police station to New Banha court to Abu Zabal Prison to Al Khalifa detention then to Zainhoum court and then to Al Salam police station then to Al Marg police station and finally it arrived in Ain Shams police station at 1 am. 19 continuous hours of torment while I tumbled inside a metal box that is melting under a harsh sun after days of deprivation from food, water and rest. As a result I vomited blood more than once.
After the prosecutions’ decree to release me on bail on Sunday June 18, 2017, Al Khanka police station decided to prevent the execution of the decree in realization of the threats of some of the officers to keep me detained for a long time and prevent me from spending Bairam with my family. Consequently they discovered a variety of charges against several people who share my name in the municipalities of Cairo, Giza, Alexandria and Marsa Matrouh! They alleged that they are verdicts against me and with an insidious frameup they tormented me by my putting me on “rounds” to the stations of Ain Shams, Al Daher, Imbaba, Al Marg, Nasr City, Al Montaza in Alexandria and Al Hamam in Marsa Matrouh to prove that I am not the alleged accused. It is crystal clear that these verdicts have nothing to do with me and some of them go back to when I was a child of five years old! Another of them accuses me of profligacy of martial assets when I was fifteen years!
Dear Mr. Head of Syndicate, I regress to remind you of what you said to us during the pledge ceremony “A lawyer cannot be lower in standing than a judge or a deputy prosecutor, as we are partners in the justice system” and I ask you to exercise every possible effort to implement it in reality and that the syndicate should move to stop this insidious plot unlawfully targeting a lawyer who is registered in your syndicate and to empower me with my legal rights to release as soon as possible so I could spend Bairam with my family, which is the least I deserve.
Thank you
Lawyer/ Tarek Hussien


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المحامي الحقوقي طارق حسين لا يزال قيد الاحتجاز التعسفي منذ 17 يونيو، بالرغم من صدور قرار بإخلاء سبيله.

India: 4th IAPL All India Conference 24-25 June 2017, Hyderabad

June 22, 2017

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4th All India Conference
24th & 25th June, 2017,
Sundarayya Vignana Kendram, HyderabadIndian Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL), founded in 2004, is a constituent of International Association of People’s Lawyers. International Association of People’s Lawyers has its Headquarters in the Netherlands. Its founding Congress was in 2000 in Doorn, Netherlands, which was attended by lawyer-members from Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Mexico, Colombia, Nepal, Turkey, Philippines, India and a few other countries.The founding conference of IAPL was held in Mumbai in 2004 attended by some 70 lawyers. The second and third All India Conferences were both held in Nagpur on 25th and 26th March 2006 and 8th & 9th January 2011 respectively. Justice (Retd) H. Suresh, Justice (Retd) Michael Saldhana, Justice (Retd) Ajit Shah, Justice (Retd) Rajinder Sachar, Adv. P. A. Sebastian, Adv. Dr. Mukul Sinha, Adv. Indira Jaising and Adv. Prashant Bhushan were some of the speakers who actively participated in past Conferences.

The fourth All India Conference

The fourth All India Conference of IAPL will be held in Hyderabad on 24th & 25th June, 2017 (Emergency day) in the background of the recent recommendations of the Law Commission to criminalize lawyer’s strikes or abstention from court work. The right to strike flows from the fundamental right to association and protest. Like most of the oppressed sections in India, the right to protest and collectively bargain is being criminalized and gradually eroded. Draconian legislations such as the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Sedition, Armed Forces Special Powers Act and various Public Security Acts are being used to suppress the struggling people and dissenting voices. Thousands of such people’s activists, lawyers or Human Right Defenders have been labeled as ‘terrorists’ or ‘anti-Nationals’ and incarcerated under such Acts. The Conference will deal with this aspect of suppression of the people’s right to protest and the use of so-called anti-terror laws in the context of social and political peoples’ movements and the Kashmiri people’s resistance.
On the other hand State Surveillance has been steadily increasing. In the name of ‘National security’, the citizen’s right to privacy is being brutally suppressed. The blatant example is the UID (Aadhaar) project ̶ a story of coercion, rampant illegality and outrageous contempt of court orders. The UID project forces the citizen into choicelessness, destroying the idea of consent, while the State assumes power over the body and data of every person, which it then allows Corporate interests to use. The Conference also seeks to examine and discuss whether this Surveillance signifies a new Emergency.

IAPL Invites You

IAPL and International Association of People’s Lawyers take up issues regarding struggling people, whether peasants, workers, indigenous people, women, whichever section they may be. We approach such organizations and find out what legal problems they face and do their cases inside & outside courts as circumstances demand. IAPL has as its members lawyers, law students and para-legals who believe in and work towards creation of a just and egalitarian society and provide legal support to people’s struggles to live with human dignity.

On Saturday, 24th June 2017, IAPL members will discuss about the situation and issues prevailing in their respective States and formulation of a collective program for the future.
On the second day i.e. Sunday, 25th June 2017 we will begin the discussion with a key note address by Justice (Retd) Abhay Thipsay and followed with inputs by: Justice (Retd) H. Suresh; Adv. Parvez Imroz, (President, JKCCS) on “Situation of Lawyers in Kashmir”; Dr. Usha Ramanathan on “UID, Surveillance and the New Emergency?”; Prof. Srikrishna Deva Rao (VC, NLU Odisha), on “Social Movements and the Judiciary”; Adv. Mohamad Shareef (Peoples’ Movement against UAPA) on “‘Terror’ related cases and the Judiciary” and Adv. Rajvinder Singh Bains on “Civil Liberties and the Judiciary”.

IAPL does not receive any finances from funding agencies. It is only through members’ and well-wishers’ contributions that its activities are conducted. Hence, IAPL has fixed a registration fee of Rs. 200/- (for Advocates) and Rs. 100/- (for students/para-legals) for attending and participating in the Fourth All India Conference.

We invite lawyers to attend and participate in the Fourth All India Conference of IAPL to make it a success.

For further details please contact:

Surendra Gadling [09604298307],
M. Venkanna [09440496422],
Arun Ferreira [09769287956],
D. Suresh Kumar [07780458082],
Ankit Grewal [09988102122].

Adv. Sudha Bharadwaj
Vice President, IAPL


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India: Mumbai: Hema Upadhyay, Harish Bhambhani murders planned 2 months before crime

June 21, 2017

Chintan is accused of plotting his wife Hema's murder

The crime branch, which is investigating the murder case of artist Hema Upadhyay and her lawyer Harish Bhambhani, filed a supplementary chargesheet of around 200 pages on Tuesday. In it, the police have said that they suspect the plan to kill Hema and Harish was hatched two months prior to the murder.

The statement of witness Rizwan Sayyed, which has been attached to the chargesheet, says that in October 2015, he received a call from absconding accused Vidyadhar Rajbhar, asking him to make two wooden boxes for a few statues he wants to export. Sayyed charged Rs 15,000 for three boxes and told Rajbhar that he will deliver it to his shop, to which Rajbhar said he will get a tempo and take them once they’re ready. On October 30, 2015, Rajbhar collected the box. He gave Sayyed two cheques and both bounced.–harish-bhambhani-murders-planned-2-months-before-crime/18357166

Kandivli Double Murder: Rajbhar had ordered wooden boxes to dispose of bodies 2 months before crime, say Police

China: Hard Choices, Hard Lives

June 21, 2017

When people under dictatorship decide to go dissident, they make a choice with huge consequences. (Almost invariably, they will tell you they did not “decide” to go dissident; they could simply do no other.) They set off a chain of events for themselves, and for their family.

Gao Zhisheng did this. A human-rights lawyer, he is one of the greatest men in all of China. What he has endured is almost unimaginable. And his family has had to endure a great deal too. About this, he is wracked with guilt.

I met his daughter, Grace, and wrote a piece. It is on the homepage today, here.

It is a vicious period for human-rights lawyers in China. The boss of the Chinese Communist Party, Xi Jinping, has cracked down on them, hard. Two years ago, the Party rounded up some 250 of them, in what has become known as the “709 Crackdown.” (The arrests started on July 9.) These lawyers have been tortured, some of them into insanity.

Sri Lanka: Govt. blames threat to disbar lawyer on ‘holy’ mix-up

June 21, 2017

Following Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe’s threat to disbar lawyer Lakshan Dias, the government said yesterday that there had been some confusion over facts.

Responding to questions during the weekly Cabinet Press Briefing at the Information Department, Health Minister and Co-Cabinet Spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said that the mob attacks, according to the complainant Lakshan Dias, had been on Christian Churches and not Catholic Churches.

Confusion over the facts had led to a war of words, Senaratne noted, adding nevertheless it was wrong for anyone to destroy places of religious worship or go around threatening others.

Senaratne said that if unethical conversions were taking place, there was legal remedy to it. (FRANCAIS)

USA: Christians Are Harassing the Atheist Lawyer Who Won the Pensacola Cross Case

June 21, 2017


Earlier this week, a judge in Florida ruled that a giant government-sponsored Christian cross in Pensacola had to come down. It was clearly an establishment of religion, he said, adding, “the law is the law.”

The attorney who successfully argued this case for the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center was Monica Miller, who’s been with the AHA for five years. Her bio is incredibly impressive and she’s done a lot of work in the past several years on behalf of atheist plaintiffs, but this recent victory really struck a nerve with Christians who are now harassing her (and the AHA).

This particular post seems to have gotten the most attention on Facebook. It’s been shared more than 7,000 times as of this writing. And it’s by a man named Lou Cobb, whose Facebook profile says he’s retired from the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office in Florida.

There’s an unstated threat in there that I find very scary… because he doesn’t specify how people should “make her famous.” He also doesn’t seem to get that she’s an attorney representing clients in Florida and doesn’t live there herself.

That’s bad enough. But the shares and responses to that post are even worse.

Turkey/USA/AI: Amnesty International Calls On US’s Tillerson To Push For Release Of Its Turkey Chair

June 21, 2017

Amnesty International’s (AI) board of directors has written a letter to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson asking him to call for the immediate release of the organization’s Turkey chair, Taner Kılıç, who has been under detention since June 6, according to an online press release from the AI on Wednesday.

The letter notes the US State Department’s strong press statement on Kılıç’s case and calls on Tillerson to issue his own statement “calling for his immediate unconditional release and the dismissal of all charges against him. ”

In a statement on June 7, the US State Department issued a statement regarding Kılıç’s detention in which it expressed its concerns and said Kılıç’s detention is the latest in a series of detentions of respected human rights defenders, journalists, academics and activists in Turkey.

“These detentions, often with little evidence or transparency, are an alarming trend. We are closely following these cases, and underscore the importance of respect for due process and individual rights, as enshrined in the Turkish Constitution and consistent with Turkey’s own international commitments. As we have expressed to the Turkish government on numerous occasions, persistent curbs on free speech and other freedoms erode the foundations of democratic society,” said the US State Department’s statement. (ESPANOL)