Tag Archives: Amnesty International

Egypt: Fair trial violations and threat of long term detention for Mohammad El-Baqer (joint communication)


The following is based on a communication written by the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders and other UN experts to the Government of Egypt on 17 March 2022. The communication remained confidential for 60 days before being made public. The Government did not respond within this period. Replies, if received, will be published on the UN Special Procedures’ database

This is a shorter version of the original communication.


Mr. Mohamed El-Baqer is a lawyer and human rights defender who has actively used social and other media outlets to publish and write about human rights issues, including on cases of enforced disappearances and torture allegedly involving the National Security Agency. Following his arrest in September 2019, he was detained arbitrarily for an extended period. He was also placed on Egypt’s domestic terrorist entities and terrorist list (hereinafter “terrorism watch list”) under Case No. 1781/2019.

We previously raised our human rights concerns with the Egyptian Government about the arrest and detention of Mr. El-Baqer and the inclusion of his name on Egypt’s terrorism watch list in communications EGY 11/2019EGY 10/2020 and EGY 8/2021.. We regret that no reply has been received to any of these communications.

The case of Mr. El-Baqer was also included in the 2020 report of the Secretary-general (A/HRC/45/36, Annex I paras. 45-46) on cooperation with the UN on allegations that he had been targeted in relation to his engagement with the Universal Periodic Review of Egypt.


On 16 October 2021, Mr. El-Baqer was referred to the Emergency State Security Court (ESSC) by the Supreme State Security Prosecution under a new case without the knowledge of his lawyers who were prevented from presenting their defence, and who were not allowed to access his case file.

Mr. El-Baqer was accused under case No. 1228/2021 of “spreading false news undermining national security” and “using social media to commit publishing offenses.” These charges were among four accusations brought against him under an earlier case in 2019, case No. 1356/2019, which included accusations of “belonging to a terrorist group”, and “funding a terrorist group”, both of which remain in place and for which Mr. El-Baqer is held in pre-trial detention.

Although the state of emergency in Egypt was lifted on 26 October 2021, the ESSC remains in place for cases referred to it beforehand. Emergency Court verdicts are not subject to appeal and can only be commuted or overturned by the President of the republic.

On 11 November 2021, the ESSC rescheduled Mr. El-Baqer’s trial to 20 December 2021. His lawyers were not allowed to meet him or to have access to his case file, in violation of due process.

On 23 November 2021, the Court of Cassa tion rejected Mr. El-Baqer’s appeal to remove his name from the terrorism watch list issued a year earlier under Case No. 1781/2019, despite a lack of evidence or verdict justifying its decision.

On 20 December 2021, the ESSC Misdemeanor Court in New Cairo sentenced Mr. El-Baqer to four years in prison in case 1228/2021. In addition to his four-year sentence, Mr. El-Baqer continues to be held in pre- trial detention under Case No. 1356/2019 and, if tried and convicted by a Supreme State Security Court, he could face long-term imprisonment.


Without prejudging the accuracy of the information received, we express serious concern regarding the allegations that Mr. El-Baqer was denied the right to due process and fair trial throughout his arbitrary detention and trial, his continued arbitrary detention, and the continued inclusion of his name on the terrorism watch list without apparent evidence, in what appears to be a misuse of this listing procedure against human rights defenders. We express further concerns regarding the reported lack of adequate sanitary conditions and adequate medical care to Mr. El-Baqer, as well as the alleged lack of regular access to and contact with his family and legal representatives.




https://www.amnesty.fr/personnes/mohamed-el-baqer (FRANCAIS)

Tunisia: Letter on the arrest, detention and prosecution of Abderrazak Kilani


In a joint letter Lawyers for Lawyers, the Law Society of England and Wales, the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute, and Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada express grave concern  about the arrest, detention and prosecution before a military tribunal of Abderrazak Kilani, a lawyer and former President of The Law Society of Tunisia from 2010 until 2012, as well as a former ambassador of Tunisia to the UN in Geneva.

On 2 January 2022, Mr. Kilani was contacted by the spouse of Mr. Noureddine Bhiri, asking for legal representation by Mr. Kilani for her husband. Mr. Bhiri is a lawyer, former Minister of Justice, and opposition politician. She told Mr. Kilani that her husband had been abducted by plainclothes police officers in front of their house on 31 December 2021. He had been held at an undisclosed location for two days and was subsequently admitted to Habib Bougatfa hospital in Bizerte with a deteriorated health condition. We were informed that, only at that stage, was he issued with an order for “house arrest”, without having been charged with any offence.

Mr. Bhiri’s spouse asked Mr. Kilani to accompany her to the hospital. Mr. Kilani asked police officers guarding Mr. Bhiri to meet with his client. That request was conveyed by the police to the Minister of the Interior, who denied it. Only Mr. Bhiri’s wife and the President of the Bar Council were permitted to meet with Mr. Bhiri. Mr. Kilani then told the security officers at the hospital that the Tunisian Constitution establishes that security forces should be neutral and serve the republic rather than any particular interest.

On 3 January 2022, the Minister of the Interior held a press conference where he said that “a respectable person had [incited the police and the public]” referring to a recording of Mr. Kilani’s encounter with the police at the hospital that was shared on social media. Mr. Kilani was subsequently investigated on charges of incitement to disobedience, as well as “belonging to a group likely to disturb public order”, “insulting public officials”, and “inciting [police officials] by violence, assault, threats, or fraudulent practices to cease performing their individual or collective duties”.

On 2 March 2022, a hearing took place before the military tribunal of Tunis during which Mr. Kilani’s pre-trial detention was ordered. He was sent to Mornaguia prison in Tunis where he remained in detention for approximately three weeks. On 21 March 2022, the investigating judge of the military tribunal of Tunis issued an order for his release and established the date of the next hearing before the military tribunal, which will take place on 12 May 2022. During this hearing, the merits of the charges against Mr. Kilani will be addressed.






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.” 










https://www.gercekgundem.com/guncel/338243/portre-i-can-atalay-magdurlarin-doganin-avukati (TURKCE)

https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2022/04/26/en-turquie-osman-kavala-condamne-a-perpetuite-au-terme-d-une-parodie-de-justice_6123664_3210.html (FRANCAIS)


The Philippines: Elections must be ‘game-changing’ moment for human rights


Upcoming elections next month should be a game-changing moment for human rights in the Philippines, Amnesty International said today, as it released an eight-point agenda urging all Presidential candidates to ensure that the protection of human rights is a core part of their plans.

Following six years in which human rights significantly deteriorated and were repeatedly attacked by President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, the 9 May elections should be a moment to dramatically change course.

“The forthcoming elections are set to be some of the most important in recent history, and we hope they will help pave the way for a radically different approach to human rights,” said Erwin van der Borght, Interim Regional Director for Amnesty International.

“Over the past six years, thousands of people, overwhelmingly poor, have been killed by the police and other armed individuals as part of the government’s so-called ‘war on drugs’. On top of this, there has been almost no justice and accountability. The next government must restore respect for human rights, including the right to life and due process, by urgently abandoning this murderous policy and instead adopting an approach to drugs that puts health and human rights at the centre.”

Across the country there has been a sharp increase in human rights violations and overwhelming impunity under the Duterte administration.

“Political activists, human rights defenders, Indigenous Peoples, lawyers and others critical of the authorities have been threatened, attacked, arbitrarily detained and killed either because they were accused of supporting the communist movement or because of their work to expose and condemn human rights violations.”

“In addition to ending these appalling attacks, the new government must tackle years of impunity, hold perpetrators of serious violations to account in fair trials and ensure long-awaited justice and reparations for thousands of victims. Human rights violations must not be swept under the rug for political expediency.”




Turkey: Arrest warrants out for 101 FETÖ suspects


Prosecutors in the capital Ankara, the southern province of Adana and the northwestern province Edirne issued arrest warrants for 101 suspects linked to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) on Tuesday in separate investigations. Fifteen suspects were detained, while operations are underway to capture the others.

The suspects are wanted in three separate investigations. In one investigation carried out by the Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office, 21 suspects are sought by authorities for their ties to senior figures within the terrorist group. The suspects were mostly lawyers, academics and security guards. They were identified as members of the group since they stayed in “study houses” exclusive for would-be judges and prosecutors in the past. “Study houses” refer to the informal dormitories run by FETÖ, which is known for recruiting members at a young age and guiding them over the course of their education. The terrorist group is also known to have aided its members in infiltrating public institutions such as judiciary offices. Sixteen of the suspects have been apprehended so far.

In another investigation based in Ankara, prosecutors issued arrest warrants for 49 suspects who stayed at another network of “study houses” between 2014 and 2016 in the capital. The suspects included serving civil servants and former public sector employees.






Tunisia military judge orders release of president’s opponent/former Bar president


A Tunisian military judge on Monday ordered the release of Abd Errazak Kilani, a lawyer and prominent opponent of President Kais Saied, from prison pending trial, Kilani’s lawyer told Reuters.

Kilani was imprisoned this month on a charge of inciting police to break the law. The judge, who had the option of releasing Kilani, did not give a reason for the decision. A trial date has not been announced.

Last summer, Saied suspended parliament and seized most powers, in a move his opponents called a coup. He also changed the supreme judicial council reinforcing the one-man rule.

Kilani’s arrest this month sparked the anger‮ ‬of human rights groups at home and abroad, who accused President Saied of seeking to impose a dictatorial regime and using the military judiciary to target his opponents.

But Saied rejected accusations and said he did not interfere in the judiciary.





Dilou annonce la libération de l’ancien bâtonnier Abderrazak Kilani



https://www.amnesty.de/mitmachen/urgent-action/tunesien-tunesien-anwalt-vor-militaergericht-2022-03-21 (DEUTSCH)

Tunisia: Military Court Jails Prominent Lawyer


Suggests No Critic of President’s Power Grab is Safe

The jailing of a prominent lawyer on March 2, 2022, for arguing with police officers is an alarming new step in the confiscation of civil liberties since President Kais Saied seized extraordinary powers on July 25, 2021, Human Rights Watch said today. Abderrazak Kilani, a former government minister and head of the national bar association, is one of the most prominent Tunisians to be put behind bars for his peaceful expression since the ouster of the authoritarian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011.

A military court has charged Kilani, a civilian, in connection with a verbal exchange he had with security officers who were denying him access to a hospital on January 2. He was trying to visit a client who had been taken there while under a form of house arrest. During the exchange he criticized the president.

“After placing scores of critics under ‘assigned residence’ house arrest or banning their travel, tossing Abderrazak Kilani into Mornaguia Prison sends a chilling new message that no one who criticizes President Saied’s power grab is safe,” said Salsabil Chellali, Tunisia director at Human Rights Watch. “

Kilani faces charges of “disturbing the public order,” “insulting public officials,” and “inciting [members of the security forces] by violence, assault, threats, or fraudulent practices to cease performing their individual or collective duties,” under articles 79, 125, and 136 of the penal code, Samir Dilou, one of his lawyers, told Human Rights Watch. The military court claims jurisdiction apparently because the speech in question was addressed to members of the security forces, Ridha Belhaj, another of his lawyers said. Kilani faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.

Kilani, 67, served as a deputy prime minister for relations with the Constituent Assembly from 2011 to 2013. He also has served as head of the bar association and as ambassador to the UN in Geneva. He is active in the Citizens against the Coup, an informal group of Tunisians who openly oppose Saied’s seizure of special powers.







https://www.hrw.org/fr/news/2022/03/14/tunisie-un-tribunal-militaire-emprisonne-un-eminent-avocat (FRANCAIS)








Tunisie : Des organisations demandent la libération immédiate Me Abderrazak Kilani


China: Interview: ‘They have been wiping out the whole profession’


Yaxue Cao of China Change talks about her recent documentary about China’s human rights attorneys.

Yaxue Cao, editor-in-chief of the U.S.-based website China Change, has been tracking human rights issues in China for years. With the help of human rights attorneys in China, dissident artist Ai Weiwei, professor and film-maker Ai Xiaoming and overseas-based rights activist, she recently released an hour-long film about the crucial role played by Chinese lawyers in defending people’s basic rights. The documentary, titled “The Defenders — 20 Years of Human Rights Lawyers in China,” offers rarely-seen footage of top rights attorneys including Li Heping, Jiang Tianyong and Pu Zhiqiang to an overseas audience. Cao spoke to RFA’s Mandarin Service about the project:

RFA: How long did the film take to make?

Yaxue Cao: There were only two of us [making the documentary]. I wrote the script and collected and selected the material, while video editor cut it all together and added subtitles. Production started last year, and it took us three months in all.

RFA: This documentary spans a long period of time. How did you find all of the footage and the interviewees?

Yaxue Cao: The main point about this film is that it is based on existing footage. Half of the footage we use comes from interviews carried out for China Change, while we also collected a lot of footage, still photos and audio from news organizations and other films, including [two] made by Ai Xiaoming and Ai Weiwei’s long interview with lawyers Li Heping and Jiang Tianyong in 2011. There were also some images of lawyer Pu Zhiqiang in [another] documentary. The fact that they were willing to share this material with us was a huge help.

RFA: According to my calculations, at least 33 lawyers appear in this film in some form. What kind of people are they?

Yaxue Cao: Well first of all, there should be more than 300,000 lawyers in China, but even at the peak [of legal representation], when human rights lawyers were most active, there were only about 300 of them. But people have quit or stopped speaking out under successive rounds of repression, while others do the work but don’t want to be referred to as a human rights attorney. For example, more than 20 lawyers defended [pro-democracy agribusiness mogul] Sun Dawu, but none of them were in contact with us, or with the Chinese Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group. Nonetheless, to me, they were still human rights lawyers.





US grants asylum to son of Chinese language 709 rights lawyer – NEWPAPER24




https://www.rfa.org/mandarin/yataibaodao/renquanfazhi/jt-03172022101927.html#.YjPJt4ObEAE.twitter (CHINESE)

Egypt: Call to release 50 rights lawyers in long-term pre-trial detention


https://mada32.appspot.com/www.madamasr.com/ar/2022/01/30/news/u/%D9%85%D8%AE%D9%84%D9%81%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%D8%B1%D8%A8-%D8%A8%D9%8A%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AC%D9%8A%D8%B4-%D9%88%D9%88%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D8%B3%D9%8A%D9%86%D8%A7%D8%A1/ (ARABIC)

Tunisia: Former National Bar Association head under military investigation


Qui est Abderrazak Kilani, l'élu de Kais Saied au poste de chef du  gouvernement ? | Tunisie Tribune

Two Tunisian attorneys confirmed on Friday that the authorities have referred former head of the National Bar Association Abderrazak Kilani for military investigation.

Attorney Hosni Al-Baji posted on Facebook: “My friend and fellow, Abderrazak Kilani, was referred to the military investigative judge.”

“He was referred due to his opinion, which he expressed, that it is not necessary to oblige the executive authority’s officials, especially the security agents, with instructions that violate the constitution and the law,” Al-Baji added.

Another attorney, who asked not to be named, said that Kilani: “Received an invitation yesterday through a notification addressed to the office of the branch’s head of the National Bar Association in Tunis.”

“The notification did not specify the date of the hearing or the charges brought against Kilani, provided that the military investigative judge shall send a second notification to the National Bar Association to set the date of the hearing and the charges,” the attorney elaborated.

It is noteworthy that Kilani is a member of the defence committee for parliament member Noureddine Bhiri, 63, who is under house arrest.





http://kapitalis.com/tunisie/2022/01/21/tunisie-me-abderrazak-kilani-convoque-par-la-justice-militaire/ (FRANCAIS)

Abderrazak Kilani : «Les menaces du ministre de l’Intérieur ne me font pas peur»




الحمد لله
تونس 21جانفي2022
✅ بيان
اثر صدور قرار النيابة العسكرية بفتح بحث تحقيقي ضد العميد عبد الرزاق الكيلاني فإن مجموعة محامون لحماية الحقوق والحريات :
📍1/تجدّد رفضها محاكمة المدنيين أمام المحاكم العسكرية في خرق واضح للدستور و المعاهدات و المواثيق الدولية.
📍2 /تعتبر إحالة العميد الأسبق للمحامين الأستاذ الكيلاني حلقة جديدة في مسلسل استهداف المحامين الفاضحين لإنتهاكات الإنقلاب و المتصدين للدفاع عن الحقوق و الحريات .
📍3/ تؤكد أن هذه الإحالات المتكررة للمحامين منذ 25جويلية لن تفتّ في عضد المحامين المناهضين للإنقلاب و لن توهن عزيمتهم في فضح ممارساته و لن تزيدهم إلا ثباتا و إصرارا على أداء رسالة المحاماة.
📍4/تستغرب اعتبار النيابة العسكرية تمسك العميد الكيلاني بتطبيق القوانين والدستور من قبيل الدعوة للعصيان و تعتبر أن إحالته بناءً على ذلك يعد إيهاما بجريمة موجبا للمساءلة الجزائية.
📍5/تحذّر من عودة الدكتاتورية و مضي سلطة الإنقلاب قدما للجمع بين السلطات و تركيز دولة الإستبداد و انتهاك الحقوق و قمع الحريات .
📍6/تدعو العميد و أعضاء الهيئة الوطنية للمحامين لتحمل مسؤولياتهم المهنية و التاريخية في الدفاع عن منظوريهم و الذود عن الحقوق و الحريات.
محامون لحماية الحقوق والحريات

May be an image of one or more people and text
May be an image of text that says "Action urgente Tunisie. Un ex-ministre et un ancien employé de l'état détenus de manière arbitraire. Avec nous, agissez pour Nourredine Bhiri et Fathi Beldi D"