Tag Archives: Australia

Iranian Lawyers Warn Judiciary Over Defendant’s Rights Abuses


A group of 45 Iranian lawyers and law professors has published an open letter objecting to the deprivation of fundamental rights for defendants amid a deadly government crackdown following months of unrest over the death of a young woman while in police custody for how she was wearing a head scarf.

Signed by Mohsen Borhani, Houshang Pourbabaei, Soheila Rajabpour, Farideh Gheirat, Javad Kashani, and Ali Mojtahedzadeh, the letter, addressed to the country’s judiciary and published on January 18, emphasizes that the right to freely choose a lawyer — which many of the thousands detained during the unrest have complained about — is recognized by the constitution and failing to honor such basic rights in security and political cases presents “a legal dilemma and challenge.”

Iran has been rocked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in unrest marked by unprecedented shows of defiance by women and schoolgirls in what appears to be the biggest threat to the Islamic government since the 1979 revolution.

The brutal government crackdown on public demonstrators and dissent has seen several thousand people arrested and most of them forced to use lawyers from a list approved by Iran’s judiciary chief. The lawyers on the list are court-approved and have either collaborated with the state security establishment or do not have the resources to defend their clients, according to the Center for Human Rights In Iran (CHRI).

More than 500 people have been killed in the crackdown, according to rights groups. Several thousand more have been arrested, including many protesters, as well as journalists, lawyers, activists, digital rights defenders, and others.

Some lawmakers have demanded a harsh response to the unrest, saying heavy penalties, including death sentences, are warranted for protesters.

CHRI said on January 10 that at least 44 lawyers had been arrested since September to block their ability to seek justice for arbitrarily arrested activists and protesters. Eighteen remain in detention, and the rest have been released on bail but potentially will still face charges, CHRI said in a news release.







300 female judges in Afghanistan prior to Taliban capture, none now


Taliban rule in Afghanistan is brutally crushing women’s rights in the country. In August last year, right after capturing Afghanistan, the Talban had imposed restrictions on women’s education, employment, and travel, and had started changing the laws to imprison women inside their homes. To show the world, they took the support of clerics to implement their laws, and then imposed a ban on the women’s government and private sector jobs. To stop the women, the Taliban security forces intimidated women, arrested them, and even kidnapped them.

Khadija Ahmadi, Afghanistan’s women rights worker, said that the Taliban has stopped women from practicing as judges and lawyers in the courts. Prior to the Taliban’s capture of the country, there were around 300 women judges in Afghanistan, and due to the Taliban government, these women had to flee the country.

As per Khadija, the Taliban’s ways are serious as far as women’s social condition and psychological wellbeing is concerned, and the regime wants to establish women as second-class citizens in the country. Particularly, it wants young men and boys to become supremacists and women as objects of use for them and their homes. Because of the restrictions, thousands of families have fled to neighbouring countries like Pakistan, Iran, and Turkey, along with their women.

Pakistan is at the top of the list of countries where a large number of Afghan refugees reached during the last months. Many Afghan students are now studying in Pakistan.



















https://www.lalibre.be/international/asie/2022/12/21/bientot-les-talibans-diront-aux-femmes-quil-est-interdit-de-respirer-S7TA6KCYO5HW5FKTULHEZZDQOY/ (FRANCAIS)

Australia: New safeguards for criminal defence lawyers


Criminal defence lawyers in NSW will now have greater protection from threats and reprisals after new laws passed in Parliament this week, affording them the same safeguards already in place for judges, magistrates and prosecutors.

The Crimes Amendment (Protection of Criminal Defence Lawyers) Bill extends existing protections for public justice officials and is a move being hailed as long overdue by the defence community.

The reforms make it an offence for a person to threaten or cause an injury or detriment to a defence practitioner, including both solicitors and barristers in NSW, and the offence carries a maximum penalty of 10 years behind bars.

Defence Lawyers NSW (DLNSW) welcomed the changes, and DLNSW President Emmanuel Kerkyasharian told LSJ the action signifies an important recognition of the dangers practitioners face in their everyday work. DLNSW has been operating since 2018 and currently has 600 members. The organisation brings together the collective knowledge of defence lawyers and assists government with policy and legislation.

“Given the nature of the practise of defence lawyers, it is important that we get similar protections to everybody else. The Act provides recognition of the important role that defence lawyers play in the criminal justice system as well as [the importance of] protection for them in that role,” Kerkyasharian said.

“Our aim is to improve all aspects of the operation of the criminal justice system in NSW, and to protect and improve the rights of citizens accused of crime and improve the conditions of criminal defence lawyers.”

DLNSW proposed these amendments in a letter to Attorney General Mark Speakman in 2021, in response to the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission’s (LECC) report into its investigation ‘Operation Monza’, which examined the conduct of police behaviour towards a defence lawyer.

The investigation found three NSW Police Force officers from Strike Force Raptor were involved in the targeting of a practising solicitor in NSW, engaging in conduct which harassed and intimidated the solicitor.







USA: “I’m safe now.” Afghan lawyer, who defended women, reunited with family in Texas


As a human rights lawyer, Latifa Sharifi helped countless women and children in Afghanistan. But when the U.S. military withdrew from the country, she was no longer safe.

She and her three children spent more than a year hiding, first in Afghanistan and then in a safe house in Europe. Behind the scenes, lawyers, human rights advocates and others spent months helping to keep her safe and get her to the U.S. — they succeeded.

On Tuesday, Sharifi and her three sons walked out of the international terminal at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. Smiling and crying, she hugged her sister and her sister’s family, who were waiting for her. The family was able to enter the U.S. after securing humanitarian parole visas.

“I feel I’m safe now and I’m free now, and I want this freedom and this safety for all of the Afghan woman, that they also be like me, safe in our country,” Sharifi told reporters inside the terminal.

The 45-year-old said one of the first things she looked forward to doing was eat dinner with her sister and brother-in-law and their children.

Sharifi and her children tried leaving Afghanistan in August of last year when U.S. troops began pulling out of the country. But she was turned away at the airport, and her youngest son was nearly trampled as people rushed to try get on a plane.

Younger sister, Atefa, who’s 37, cried as she described overwhelming feelings of relief and joy.

“I think my tears explain everything,” 37-year-old Atefa Sharifi said. “It means [the] world to me that she’s here. I’m feeling so happy and so blessed that I’m thinking I cannot ask God anything more.”

Atefa Sharifi said her older sister has been through a lot. When the Taliban took control of Kabul, they began releasing prisoners. Sharifi feared for her life — she had helped many women in abusive marriages file for divorce and now some of the men in those relationships were free.











Australia: Criminal Defence Lawyers to Get Better Protections Against Harassment, Intimidation and Reprisals


New laws have been introduced to New South Wales Parliament which will give defence lawyers similar protections to those that prosecutors, magistrates, judges, complainants, witnesses and jurors already have in our state.

Introduced to parliament on 19 October 2022, the Crimes Amendment (Protection of Criminal Defence Lawyers) Bill 2022 will amend two offences against public justice contained in the Crimes Act 1900 – being ‘threatening or intimidating judges, witnesses jurors or public justice officials’ under section 322 and engaging in ‘reprisals against judges, withesses, jurors or public justice officials’ under section 326 – to also make it an offence to engage in such conduct against an Australian legal practitioner who is acting for a defendant in a criminal matter or in connection with criminal proceedings, if this is done without a reasonable excuse.

The proposed changes come 18 months after an investigation by the state’s police watchdog, the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission, found that New South Wales police officers harassed and intimidated a lawyer to the point he could not represent his client to the best of his abilities.

Police threaten, harass and intimidate lawyer

The LECC’s 62-page report, titled ‘Operation Monza’, was furnished to New South Wales Parliament on 26 March 2021 and detailed the actions officers from Strike Force Raptor who engaged in the deliberate targeting, harassment and intimidation of a practising New South Wales solicitor with a view to undermining his ability to properly represent his client in court.

The report detailed the conduct of the specialist officers in a regional town in Norther New South Wales on 28 and 29 May 2019. 

The conduct

The 28 May 2019 marked the first day of a scheduled hearing of the lawyer’s client over criminal charges. 

Police officers had requested that its officers appear at the regional courthouse via audio-visual link, but the lawyer did not consent to the request and the court ultimately required the officers to attend in person.

On the night of 27 May 2019, a group of Raptor officers were staying in a hotel in advance of the next day’s court attendance, when their commanding officer ordered a constable and a senior constable to target the solicitor the following morning, in an effort to ensure he didn’t “make it to court”. 

The lawyer first saw the two officers drive past his house at 6.30am the next morning.

The pair then then followed the lawyer’s car to a tyre store, where they approached him for allegedly not having indicated out of his driveway onto the road. The officers found the lawyer had forgotten his driver licence at home.

The officers then followed him towards his home, stopped him again to check on the roadworthiness of his case and issued him with a defect notice.

The lawyer then decided to take a taxi to work, but noticed that when he was in the cab, the officers were tailing him once again. 

He arrived at his office and his client also arrived there a short time thereafter. The client advised his lawyer that police were doing laps of the car park outside. The lawyer went to look and saw the officers sitting on the bonnet of their car staring at him.

The lawyer called local police, who advised him they could not do anything about the conduct. 

The lawyer then attended court as required and advised the magistrate about the conduct. The magistrate noted the lawyer was clearly “shaken up” and ordered the matter to be adjourned until the next morning.

The lawyer then attempted to leave the courthouse, only to see a large group of Raptor officers gathered out the front.

He re-entered the courthouse and the magistrate allowed him to leave through a discrete exit. 






Australia/Afghanistan: Prosecution of war crimes whistleblower lawyer David McBride must be dropped


The Human Rights Law Centre and Australian Centre for International Justice are calling for an end to the unjust prosecution of war crimes whistleblower David McBride, as his whistleblowing defence hearing begins in Canberra on Thursday. 

McBride is alleged to have blown the whistle to the ABC, in what led to the Afghan Files reporting, which uncovered allegations of war crimes committed by Australian special forces in Afghanistan. Similar allegations about unlawful killings of civilians were made in the Brereton Report in 2020. 

McBride was subsequently charged with five offences, including the unauthorised disclosure of information, theft of Commonwealth property and three counts of breaching the Defence Act. The ABC was raided by federal police over the reporting, although prosecutors declined to proceed with a case against journalist Dan Oakes. 

On Thursday, McBride’s trial will begin with a defence under the Public Interest Disclosure Act, the federal whistleblowing law, before a judge in the ACT Supreme Court. If McBride is unsuccessful in his defence, he will face a jury next year. 

Kieran Pender, Senior Lawyer at the Human Rights Law Centre, said:   

“David McBride is currently the only person facing prosecution for the alleged war crimes committed by Australian forces in Afghanistan. And he’s on trial for telling the truth about those allegations. There is no public interest in prosecuting whistleblowers. This case is unjust and anti-democratic.” 

In July the Attorney-General, Mark Dreyfus KC, dropped the prosecution of Bernard Collaery following sustained pressure from advocates including the Human Rights Law Centre. The Human Rights Law Centre has repeatedly called on the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions or the Attorney-General to use the same powers in the prosecution of McBride and discontinue the case.  





Afghanistan: Lawyers, specifically women lawyers, are in serious danger


The CCBE urges the de facto authorities to reinstate the Afghanistan Independent Bar Association and allow all lawyers to practise law freely and without fear of persecution.

Les avocats, et en particulier les avocates, sont en grand danger. Le CCBE exhorte les autorités à rétablir l’Association indépendante du barreau afghan et à permettre à tous les avocats d’exercer librement et sans crainte de persécution.

Click to access EN_HRL_20220906_Afghanistan_Situation-of-lawyers-in-Afghanistan.pdf














https://www.lemonde.fr/idees/article/2022/09/13/afghanistan-la-lutte-pour-le-respect-des-droits-fondamentaux-doit-continuer_6141329_3232.html (FRANCAIS)

Canada: One year after the Taliban reclaimed power Afghan judge reflects on overseeing domestic violence cases and adjusting to new life


Wahida Rahimi’s phone never left her side on August 31, 2021. She barely slept, afraid of missing a text message or call. She was so attached to the device that she vowed to never look at it again if she could flee the country safely.

Sixteen days earlier, the Taliban recaptured Kabul.

As the remaining US planes took off, Rahimi’s phone lit up with messages from colleagues asking what to do. She forwarded them screenshots she was receiving from advocates who told her “We’re going to help. Have faith. Be hopeful.” She still has those messages.

Rahimi was one of 270 female judges who were desperately trying to leave Afghanistan. Judges had become targets for the work they did in delivering justice to women in domestic violence cases and for sending the Taliban’s members to jail.

Throughout the tumult, Rahimi remained hopeful. “It was not meant to be the end for me. I’m not going to be a victim. I’m a survivor,” she told Insider.

‘It totally changed their lives’

Up until the last few days of the regime change, Rahimi was still working as a judge in Panjshir province, a mountainous region known for its natural beauty. Her commute took nearly three hours and she had to be accompanied by a driver due to safety concerns. In January 2021, two female Afghan Supreme Court judges were shot and killed in Kabul. Afghan officials blamed the Taliban, but the group denied the accusations.

Rahimi was chosen by the country’s Supreme Court in 2018 to oversee the province’s newly created court of domestic violence and presided over cases ranging from murder to physical abuse.







https://tolonews.com/fa/afghanistan-179577 (DARI)

https://www.independentpersian.com/node/264101/%D8%B3%DB%8C%D8%A7%D8%B3%DB%8C-%D9%88-%D8%A7%D8%AC%D8%AA%D9%85%D8%A7%D8%B9%DB%8C/%DA%AF%D9%81%D8%AA%DA%AF%D9%88%DB%8C-%D9%81%D8%B9%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%B2%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%81%D8%BA%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%A8%D9%88%D9%84-%D8%A8%D8%A7-%D9%87%D8%AF%D9%81-%D8%A7%D8%AD%DB%8C%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D9%85%D8%B4%D8%A7%D8%B1%DA%A9%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D8%AC%D8%AA%D9%85%D8%A7%D8%B9%DB%8C-%D9%88-%D8%B3%DB%8C%D8%A7%D8%B3%DB%8C (FARSI)

Fearing for their lives: Rescuing Afghanistan’s women judges


As August 15 marks one year since the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan, we again report on the plight of Afghan women. Annette Young talks to Fawzia Aminy, a Supreme Court judge who managed to escape to Britain via Greece within weeks of Kabul falling, and to the woman who helped facilitate her rescue, Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, the director of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute. The two are seeking to help those women left behind.










https://www.hrw.org/gbz/news/2022/08/11/afghanistan-talibans-catastrophic-year-rule (DARI)

https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/42516/des-afghans-toujours-deboutes-de-lasile-et-places-en-retention-malgre-le-retour-des-taliban (FRANCAIS)





Afghanistan: One year after Taliban takeover, human rights defenders at greater risk than ever


One year since the Taliban captured power in Afghanistan, conditions for human rights defenders, especially women, have further deteriorated, the undersigned members of Protect Defenders.eu – said today. A year ago, when the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan, they promised to respect human rights – including the rights of women and girls and media freedom. However, over the past year, they have carried out serious human rights violations and abuses, and sought to suppress civil society, media freedom, and any form of dissent with complete impunity.

Since 15 August 2021, we have witnessed the steady erosion of human rights gains in Afghanistan and attacks, reprisals, and a failure of any effective protection for human rights defenders in the country. Women and girls, religious and ethnic minorities, those speaking out against violations and for the protection of the rights of the most vulnerable, have been deliberately targeted. This is a pattern of violence that has been met with insufficient action from the international community. Human rights defenders who continue to work for their communities have been effectively abandoned and left without adequate support, access to resources, protection, and pathways to safety.   

Human rights defenders have faced near-daily attacks and violent reprisals including arrest, torture, threats and killings since the Taliban takeover. Escalating violence in the provinces has forced a large number of defenders to leave their homes and relocate and/or resettle. Human rights defenders, in particular women human rights defenders have been facing multiple risks and threats by the Taliban, including: kidnapping; arbitrary arrest and imprisonment; torture; physical and psychological harm; house searches; death and physical threats; intimidation and harassment; and violence against their family members. Women human rights defenders have also faced systematic oppression and segregation from public life. They have been stripped of their rights to work, freedom of movement, access to education, and to participate in public affairs. For those seeking to leave Afghanistan due to severe risk, safe and dignified pathways out of the country remain extremely difficult and challenging.

There has also been serious curtailment of freedom of expression and assembly. These freedoms are no longer legally and institutionally protected, and any form of dissent is met with arbitrary arrests and detention and enforced disappearance. Enforced disappearances of women, and arbitrary arrest of journalists and civil society activists are tactics adopted by the Taliban to silence voices that speak out.











https://www.hrw.org/ps/news/2022/08/11/afghanistan-talibans-catastrophic-year-rule (PASHTO)

https://www.hrw.org/gbz/news/2022/08/11/afghanistan-talibans-catastrophic-year-rule (DARI)

https://www.lemondedudroit.fr/institutions/83102-observatoire-international-avocats-danger-oiad-lance-campagne-soutien-plaidoyer-barreau-independant-afghanistan.html (FRANCAIS)

https://www.hrw.org/es/news/2022/08/11/afghanistan-talibans-catastrophic-year-rule (ESPANOL)