Tag Archives: Australia

Poland/Australia: Open Letter in Support of Professor Wojciech Sadurski

May 6, 2019

Profesor Wojciech Sadurski

Two months ago Armin von Bogdandy and Luke Dimitrios Spieker highlighted the plight of our colleague Wojciech Sadurski, a distinguished professor of law at the Universities of Sydney and Warsaw, and formerly at the European University Institute in Florence.  Professor Sadurski finds himself facing an array of charges and lawsuits in Poland for his outspoken criticism of the governing party, PiS.  As von Bogdandy and Spieker pointed out, such attempts to silence critics are not solely a matter of Polish law but also of European Union law and European human rights law, particularly in the context of the ongoing Article 7 TEU procedure against Poland. But matters have continued to worsen since that time for Sadurski, who has been targeted by no less than three sets of legal proceedings aimed at silencing him and punishing him for speaking out.  We write to draw attention to the legal harassment of Professor Sadurski by the Polish government and its allies, to the right of academics across the European Union to freely speak out and to criticize political leaders, and to publicly express our support for Wojciech Sadurksi.

The background is this: On 10 November 2018 Wojciech Sadurski called upon Polish citizens to boycott a so-called “Independence March” to be held in Warsaw. He tweeted: “If anyone still had any doubts, after the maneuver of the past two days this much should be clear: no honest person should go in a parade of defenders of the White race, who have hidden for a moment their “falangas” [a neo-Nazi symbol] and swastikas, in collusion with an organized criminal group PiS”.  On 13 January 2019, shortly after the murder of Gdańsk Mayor Mr Paweł Adamowicz, Sadurski tweeted that a politician was killed after he had been hounded by government media, and stated that no democrat and opposition politician should enter the premises of TVP, a public television station, which he described as a Goebbelsian media company.

These two tweets led to three currently pending cases.

Open Letter in Support of Professor Wojciech Sadurski

http://wyborcza.pl/7,95891,24757365,list-otwarty-naukowcow-popierajacy-prof-wojciecha-sadurskiego.html?disableRedirects=true (POLSKI)

https://wpolityce.pl/polityka/444364-sadurski-chce-przy-pomocy-ustawy-zrobic-czystki-w-tvp (POLSKI)

https://wpolityce.pl/polityka/444011-kaczynski-i-faszyzm-szokujace-slowa-pupila-kasty (POLSKI)

http://wyborcza.pl/7,95891,24757365,list-otwarty-naukowcow-popierajacy-prof-wojciecha-sadurskiego.html?disableRedirects=true (POLSKI)

https://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wojciech_Sadurski (POLSKI)


Australia/Timor Leste: How the Witness K/Collaery case is being delayed into oblivion

March 25, 2019

This is Australian politics’ biggest scandal, and the most powerful people in the country are ensuring you know as little about it as possible.

Bernard Collaery Witness K trial

There’s been minimal coverage (outside reports in the Canberra Times) of the government’s campaign of harassment and intimidation of Witness K and Bernard Collaery this year. And that’s exactly the way the government likes it.

It appears that Attorney-General Christian Porter is doing everything possible to slow the prosecution of K and Collaery down. With a slower prosecution there’s a greater chance the media and public will lose interest, and a larger toll for Collaery too; while he’s being prosecuted in the same courts he practiced law, it’s impossible for Collaery to fully resume his career.





Australia/Timor Leste: East Timor spy scandal: Jury could hear Collaery, Witness K case

February 28, 2019

Canberra lawyer Bernard Collaery.

A jury could hear the controversial prosecution of a former spy known as “Witness K” and his lawyer who are both accused of revealing information about the Australian government spying on East Timor, a court has been told.

But before the question of any committal or possible jury trial could be decided, on Thursday a preliminary hearing in the case to be heard in secret was set down for August.

Tim Begbie, for the Commonwealth, said that since the matter was last in court Attorney-General Christian Porter had issued certificates under the National Security Information Act over the brief of evidence.

He said that, in broad terms, the certificates permitted the brief of evidence to be disclosed subject to certain restricted circumstances such as where it can be viewed.

He said there was also an unclassified version of the brief.

Because the Attorney-General has issued those certificates, the matter is headed for a closed court preliminary hearing in the ACT Magistrates Court to consider how sensitive material will be dealt with.

Mr Begbie passed to the court a set of proposed orders leading up to the hearing.

The preliminary hearing was set down for August 6, 7, and 8 this year.

But also raised in the course of Thursday’s mention in the ACT Magistrates Court was the possibility of a committal to the ACT’s higher court, which both lawyers for Witness K and Canberra lawyer Bernard Collaery flagged.

Mr Collaery’s barrister, Christopher Ward SC, said they were considering the question of a jury trial but were not yet in a position to decide because they had not been able to sit with their client and review the evidence.




Australia/Afghanistan: ‘I’m not afraid of going to jail’: Ex-Defence lawyer charged over document leak

March 7, 2019

Whistleblower David William McBride has been charged for leaking defence documents to journalists.

A former Australian military lawyer and captain in Britain’s elite Special Air Service has been charged over the leak of documents exposing alleged unlawful government conduct.

David William McBride, 55, appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court on Thursday where he was charged with the leaks to journalists Dan Oakes, Andrew Clark and Chris Masters.

He has not entered any pleas.

The charges relate in part to an ABC investigation published in 2017 called “The Afghan Files: Defence leak exposes deadly secrets of Australia’s special forces”.

The investigation was said to give an unprecedented insight into the clandestine operations of Australia’s special forces, including incidents of possible unlawful killings.

Speaking outside court, Mr McBride said he had admitted handing over the documents but would defend the charge on legal grounds.

“I saw something illegally being done by the government and I did something about it,” he said.

“I’m seeking to have the case looking purely at whether the government broke the law and whether it was my duty as a lawyer to report that fact.”

Mr McBride is charged with theft and three counts of breaching the Defence Act, for being a person who is a member of the the defence force and communicating a plan, document or information.



Australia/Turkey: Bringing awareness to ‘Endangered Lawyer’ day

January 24, 2019

Turkish flag

Today marks the ninth annual Day of the Endangered Lawyer, with this year’s focus on lawyers living and working in Turkey.

The Day of the Endangered Lawyer provides an opportunity to learn about the personal and professional safety of lawyers around the world who are facing persecution, prosecution, arbitrary detention, threats, torture, assaults and death as a consequence of carrying out their professional duties, according to Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada.

According to an OHCR report, under the two years that Turkey was ruled under a state of emergency up until July 2018, nearly 570 lawyers were arrested, while 1,480 faced some kind of prosecution, according to the European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights.

In the same period, the association noted 79 lawyers were sentenced to long-term imprisonment.

ALDH also said that even after the state of emergency was lifted, “political trials against lawyers did not end”.

“The UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers are permanently violated by the Turkish prosecutors and judges”, the association said, relying on article 18 in particular, which said “lawyers shall not be identified with their clients or their clients’ causes as a result of discharging their functions”.






Updated Report: Incarceration of Turkish Lawyers | Unjust Arrests and Convictions (2016-2018)



https://www.evrensel.net/haber/371866/paris-barosu-artik-adalet-savunma-icin-yerini-bulsun (TURKCE)

http://www.omedyam.com/istanbul-milletvekili-oya-ersoydan-24-ocak-tehlikedeki-avukatlar-gununde-kanun-teklifi-117031/ (TURKCE)

http://www.idhae.org/OBSAV-DEL190124-TUR.htm?fbclid=IwAR2lT2R_herNRCBWt1zG_ma-sTKaPBW0id9a1EBmy0Z2LDZk1w6CvqL60iw (FRANCAIS)

https://www.uianet.org/fr/actualites/9eme-edition-de-la-journee-internationale-de-lavocat-en-danger (FRANCAIS)

https://www.avocats-toulouse.com/journee_avocat_en_danger_2019/?fbclid=IwAR12JgmsZ5DTTUQncQNwZkketidHM3lzedC_P2CkyAlvbnTP70fvwQMyzws (FRANCAIS)

http://ildubbiopush.ita.newsmemory.com/?token=b76a6564f40fe3c32f3c9eee6e68ea06_5c48f6e6_2fe1_13413ac&selDate=20190124&promo=push&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=ildubbio-E-Editions&utm_source=ildubbio&utm_content=Read-Button&fbclid=IwAR3XEHNRY7r7SnzaAUEVEfGcu84cU0lkisCxI5asDstiDI4Y-zafB0ZEiEQ (p. 5 ITALIANO)

http://ildubbiopush.ita.newsmemory.com/publink.php?shareid=2ae66f9f8&fbclid=IwAR0RQGViGp7ywSCm5R-HcXk9YG5EqJk1JFxT-CyKG713enobfUDoUBXjM4A (ITALIANO)






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(Camera Penale Di Milano Facebook, 23/01/19)

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(Camera Penale di Brescia Facebook, 24/01/19)

La Camera Penale di Trento aderisce all’iniziativa internazionale del prossimo 24 gennaio “Day of the Endangered Lawyer”.

Giunta alla nona edizione, la Giornata dell’Avvocato Minacciato viene celebrata in tutto il mondo il 24 gennaio di ogni anno per ricordare l’anniversario della strage avvenuta il 24 gennaio 1977, e ricordata in Spagna col nome di “Matanza de Atocha”, quando un commando di terroristi neofascisti entrò in un ufficio di avvocati giuslavoristi situato, per l’appunto a Madrid, in Calle de Atocha, ed aprì il fuoco uccidendone cinque e ferendone quattro.

La giornata è dedicata anche quest’anno alla drammatica situazione degli avvocati turchi.

Dal 15 luglio 2016, data del tentato golpe, ad oggi, sono stati arrestati con giornalisti, accademici, , magistrati e attivisti dei diritti umani 594 avvocati, fra i quali 14 Presidenti o ex Presidenti di Ordini Forensi; 1546 sono sotto processo e 218 sono stati condannati a lunghe pene detentive. Inoltre, 34 associazioni forensi sono state sciolte.

Nei processi a loro carico, gli avvocati vengono accusati proprio perché difendono coloro che sono sospettati di essere terroristi. Il rischio per gli avvocati penalisti è talmente alto che è diventato estremamente difficoltoso per chi viene arrestato trovare un avvocato che non sia imputato in un processo. Anche dopo la revoca dello stato di emergenza nel luglio 2018, i processi politici contro gli avvocati non si sono fermati.

Ma non sono solo le sentenze di condanna della Corte Europea dei Diritti dell’Uomo a non essere eseguite dalla Turchia, dal momento che sono costantemente disattesi sia i Principi Fondamentali delle Nazioni Unite sul ruolo degli Avvocati, in particolare il n. 18 secondo cui “Gli avvocati non devono essere identificati con i loro clienti o con le cause dei loro clienti come conseguenza dell’esercizio delle loro funzioni”, sia la Raccomandazione agli Stati membri n. R(2000)21 del Comitato dei Ministri del Consiglio d’Europa, che ha riconosciuto espressamente la libertà dell’esercizio della professione forense nell’ambito della c.d. “Grande Europa”.

Quasi ogni settimana viene celebrato almeno un processo contro un avvocato, specialmente a Istanbul. Per questo è evidente che gli avvocati ancora liberi stanno praticando la professione con il rischio elevatissimo di essere improvvisamente arrestati; impossibile però non ricordare anche l’omicidio del Presidente Tahir Elci del 28 novembre 2015 senza che sia stato fatto alcun progresso nelle indagini.

L’avvocato, in Turchia come in tutto il mondo, è la sentinella dei diritti e difensore dei diritti fondamentali: proprio per questo è perseguitato anche in Italia, dove sono in aumento gli attacchi alla funzione difensiva.

Tutti i Governi, compreso quello italiano, devono assicurare che egli possa svolgere la sua attività professionale senza subire alcuna intimidazione, impedimento, molestia o illecita interferenza, in ossequio al principio n. 16 dei Principi Fondamentali delle Nazioni Unite sul ruolo degli Avvocati.

Camera penale di Trento

(Camera Penale di Trento “Michele Pompermaier” Facebook, 24/01/19)

Press Statement
24 January 2019

The Nth hour has come; Even Committed Lawyers Worldwide are on the Verge of Extinction

Today, the Day of the Endangered Lawyer, we at
the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers sounds the alarm on the escalating attacks against lawyers everywhere. These are dark times indeed, when lawyers are unjustly arrested and tried and even killed simply for the practice of law as a profession.

The experience of our colleagues in Turkey is a prime example of how an autocratic system has led to the arrest and detention of hundreds of lawyers.. President Tayyip Erdogon suspended or dismissed about 4,238 judges and prosecutors. The vast majority of these lawyers, including two members of the constitutional court, are in prison and only a fraction have heard formal charges.

Scores of lawyers are held in custody in Turkey simply for the practice of law as a profession. The accused are members of the Progressive Lawyers Association in Turkey (ÇHD), including ÇHD President, Selçuk Kozağaçlı, a Bureau member of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL).

The unbelievable indictment claimed that these lawyers merely counseled detained people accused of membership in a banned Turkish organization and they are charged with visiting these individuals in prison, offering legal support, enabling their clients to invoke “the right to remain silent.” The Erdogan regime is targeting ÇHD and People’s Law Office members reportedly because these members continue to resist the regime’s campaign of systematic repression.

It is no different in the Philippines, a country headed quite ironically by a lawyer himself. Here, at least thirty-five lawyers have been killed and several others harassed simply for abiding by their sworn oath to defend their clients. Many of these killings remain unsolved with no one held to account for the murders, thus the perpetrators continue to kill with impunity.

Last year has been especially hard for the NUPL as we still mourn the loss of one of our beloved members, human rights lawyer Benjamin Ramos. Ben was gunned down by two unidentified men riding in tandem close to his home. For many years, he has dedicated his life in the staunch defense of the rights of the farmers, not only in Negros Island but also in other parts of the country.

Many of the lawyers attacked or harassed are involved in human rights work, most of whom are members of NUPL. NUPL has been very critical of human rights violations committed by the State’s machinery and many of its members have been handling cases of sectors whose rights have been violated – indigenous peoples, farmers, workers, urban poor, political prisoners, human rights defenders and even suspected petty drug users. The harassment has spiraled to the point of red-tagging – accusing these dedicated lawyers as members of terrorist organizations.

The intent of the killings and harassment is clear – silence dissent, penalize those who criticize government, discourage lawyers from taking up the cudgels in behalf the oppressed and poweless.

Under the 1990 UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, all State parties shall ensure that lawyers are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference and where the security of lawyers is threatened as a result of discharging their functions, they shall be adequately safeguarded by the authorities. It angers us that many State parties have not only failed to comply with this obligation but are themselves violators and perpetrators of intimidation and harassment.

But this is not the time to despair at the sheer number of deaths and unjust arrests and detention of lawyers worldwide.

On this Day of the Endangered Lawyer, we call on all lawyers to close ranks and stand our ground in the face of attacks on the very exercise of our profession.

We Filipino lawyers who are also under siege, stand in solidarity and unite with our Turkish colleagues and with lawyers from all parts of the world in condemning the trumped-up charges, the detentions, the labelling, the harassments, the intimidations and the killings. We ask that they be respected, protected, given due process and freed.

We hold all autocratic governments accountable for failing to fulfill their obligations and for being themselves violators of these basic principles.

Finally, we reiterate our call for governments to take action for the cessation of all killings and harassments of lawyers, to investigate and hold accountable all those who have violated the rights of endangered lawyers and the rights of marginalized peoples of the world that these lawyers represent.#


Atty. Ephraim B. Cortez
NUPL Secretary General

Atty. Josalee S. Deinla
NUPL Spokesperson
0917546 5798

(National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers Facebook, 24/01/19)

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Australia/Timor Leste: Witness K case: prosecutors dump brief of evidence on last working day of legal year

January 8, 2019

Bernard Collaery

Commonwealth prosecutors have been accused of acting unfairly in the Witness K case after dumping their brief of evidence on defence lawyers about 6pm on the last working day of the legal year.

Bernard Collaery, a barrister, and his former spy client, Witness K, are being prosecuted for their role in exposing a secret Australian government mission to spy on Timor-Leste during lucrative oil and gas negotiations in 2004.

Collaery’s lawyers had been awaiting the brief of evidence against their client for months, and had previously warned its absence meant Collaery and Witness K faced serious charges without being given any detail of the specific allegations.

The evidence against Collaery was delivered after 6pm on Friday 21 December.

The legal year proper ends in the Australian Capital Territory after the last sitting day, 20 December. The ACT magistrates court, where the Collaery case is being heard, does not sit between December 20 and 9 January 2019, aside from bail and emergency care hearings.

The handling of the brief has prompted crossbench senator Rex Patrick, a staunch supporter of Collaery, to accuse commonwealth prosecutors of breaching their obligations to act fairly.




Australia/Timor Leste: Closed proceedings in ‘Witness K’ case a matter for court: Christian Porter

January 4, 2019

The federal government has flagged the likelihood of the case of a former spy and his lawyer accused of conspiracy being held in closed court to protect information it says could prejudice national security.

Witness K – a former operative for the overseas spy agency the Australian Secret Intelligence Service – and his lawyer Bernard Collaery were charged in June with conspiring to release secret ASIS information, after they blew the whistle on a 2004 operation to plant listening devices in the cabinet room of Timor-Leste’s government.

The bugging operation came during negotiations with the Howard government to settle the maritime boundary that would carve up lucrative oil and gas rights between the two countries.

Mr Collaery had been representing Timor-Leste in its dispute with Australia.In November, ACT Chief Magistrate Lorraine Walker adjourned the case while Attorney-General Christian Porter determines if the brief of evidence against the pair contains material related to national security information.

Such a move could see the trial held behind closed doors, while provisions of the National Security Information Act could see lawyers for the defendants excluded from hearings if they do not have the required security clearance.Lawyers for Mr Collaery, a former ACT attorney-general and deputy chief minister, were yet to undergo a clearance late last year.

The act also allows defendants themselves to be excluded from a hearing.

If Mr Porter deems the brief of evidence is likely to prejudice national security, a preliminary hearing would be held to consider the material in a closed court.