Tag Archives: Crimea

The Systematic Repression of Lawyers in Central Asia and Eastern Europe

September 12, 2018

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OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting 2018
Warsaw, Poland
September 12, 2018
Working Session 4

The Systematic Repression of Lawyers in Central Asia and Eastern Europe

Freedom House is gravely concerned by an apparent systematic crackdown on the legal profession by a number of OSCE participating States. Since 2017, restrictive legislative changes and punitive measures targeting individual lawyers were especially egregious in Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Crimea. The intense persecution of the legal profession undermines individuals’ essential right of equal access to justice, especially those who openly call for government accountability, such as human rights defenders, journalists, social and political activists. Often, legal action is the only available recourse for individuals and associations to seek redress for violations of their fundamental rights and freedoms.

Due to governments’ threats both to lawyers and their would-be clients, the number of lawyers able to take on human rights cases is dwindling. Without a strong, independent judiciary and lawyers free from harassment, however, governments cannot claim to be fulling their obligations to protect the fundamental human rights of their citizens. Attacking the legal profession appears to be the final step in dismantling a system in which citizens can find recourse against unjust treatment by their own governments within the existing legal framework.

In Azerbaijan, the national parliament amended the ‘Code of Civil and Administrative Procedure’ and the ‘Bar Act’ in October 2017 to state that only members of the Azerbaijan Collegium of Advocates can represent clients in court, substantially cutting the proportion of lawyers to the population to one of the lowest rates in the region.[1]Furthermore, authorities summarily disbar prominent human rights lawyers and deny accreditation to junior advocates. Lawyers including Khalid Baghirov, Aslan Ismayilov, Alaif Hasanov, Elchin Namazov, Yalchin Imanov, Farhad Mehdiyev, Muzaffar Bakhshaliyev, Annaghi Hajibeyli, Aliabbas Rustomov, and Intigam Aliyev have all had their bar membership suspended or revoked shortly after raising human rights concerns on behalf of clients or criticizing the government.[2] Junior lawyers are unable to join the Collegium of Advocates due to its bias against lawyers connected to human rights cases. Samed Rahimli, known for taking on political contentious cases, describes his interviewers from the Collegium of Advocates as being openly hostile towards him and accusing him of trying to destroy the collegium. This systematic persecution of human rights lawyers has left the country with only six practicing human rights lawyers, according to Intigam Aliyev, a human rights lawyer previously jailed for his work.[3]

https://freedomhouse.org/article/systematic-repression-lawyers-central-asia-and-eastern-europe

https://freedomhouse.org/

https://www.ibanet.org/Human_Rights_Institute/Work_by_regions/Europe/Tajikistan-film.aspx

https://www.balcanicaucaso.org/eng/Areas/Azerbaijan/Azerbaijan-journalists-and-human-rights-activists-left-defenceless-190307

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Crimea/Front Line Defenders: 2017 FLD Award – Lawyer Emil Kurbedinov

 

June 2, 2017

Crimea/Front Line Defenders: 2017 Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk

May 26, 2017

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Defending human rights activists and political prisoners is some of the most dangerous work a lawyer can do in Crimea. After years taking on these risky cases, Crimean Tatar lawyer Emil Kurbedinov was today awarded a top international prize for human rights activists. In Dublin, on 26 May 2017, Front Line Defenders named Emil the 2017 Laureate of its annual Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk.

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/2017-front-line-defenders-award-human-rights-defenders-risk

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/statement-report/crimean-tatar-activist-wins-2017-award-human-rights-defenders-risk

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/crimean-tatar-lawyer-honoured-at-dublin-ceremony-1.3097614

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-ukraine-russia-rights-idUSKBN18M0L2

Crimea/Front Line Defenders: 2017 Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk – Crimean Tatar Activist Wins 2017 Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk

May 26, 2017

Image may contain: 1 person, text

Defending human rights activists and political prisoners is some of the most dangerous work a lawyer can do in Crimea. After years taking on these risky cases, Crimean Tatar lawyer Emil Kurbedinov was today awarded a top international prize for human rights activists.

In Dublin, on 26 May 2017, Irish NGO Front Line Defenders named Emil the 2017 Laureate of its annual Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk.

Since the occupation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, Emil has defended the persecuted Crimean Tatar minority, civil society activists and journalists. He also provides emergency response and documentation of rights violations during raids and searches of activists’ homes. In January 2017, Emil was on his way to the house of an activist that had been raided, when masked representatives from Crimea’s Centre for Counteracting Extremism detained him and took him to a local directorate of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) for interrogation. A district court found him guilty of “propagandising for extremist organisations” and sentenced him to ten days in detention.

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/2017-front-line-defenders-award-human-rights-defenders-risk

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/statement-report/crimean-tatar-activist-wins-2017-award-human-rights-defenders-risk

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-ukraine-russia-rights-idUSKBN18M0L2

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/reuters/article-4544100/Crimean-lawyer-fighting-unwinnable-cases-wins-human-rights-award.html

Crimea: Emil Kurbedinov – 2017 Award Finalist Video

May 19, 2017

Emil Kurbedinov is a Crimean Tatar and human rights lawyer. Since the occupation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, Emil has been defending the persecuted Crimean Tatar minority, civil society activists and journalists. He also provides emergency response and documentation of rights violations during raids and searches of activists’ homes.

In January 2017, masked representatives from Crimea’s Centre for Counteracting Extremism detained Emil and took him to a local directorate of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) for interrogation. A district court found him guilty of “spreading propaganda for extremist organisations” and sentenced him to ten days in detention.

(Front Line Defenders Facebook)

http://www.tol.org/client/article/26869-crimean-attorneys-dont-have-it-easy.html

Crimea/Russia: The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the arrest and administrative conviction of lawyer Emil Kurbedinov in Crimea

May 10, 2017

The Law Society of Upper Canada

The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the arrest and administrative conviction of lawyer Emil Kurbedinov in Crimea.

Emil Kurbedinov is a vocal human rights lawyer based in Crimea. Since the occupation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, he has actively defended Crimean Tatars, journalists and civil society activists. He has also drawn attention to human rights violations in Crimea through the use of social media, participation in international conferences and reports to international human rights organizations.

Reports indicate that on the morning of January 26, 2017, Emil Kurbedinov was detained by a group of masked and armed representatives of Crimea’s Centre for Counteracting Extremism and taken to a local directorate of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) for interrogation. Following his arrest, Emil Kurbedinov’s office was searched and all electronic equipment seized. That same day, the Zheleznodorozhny district court of Simferopol found him guilty of “propagandizing for extremist organizations” and sentenced him to ten days of administrative detention.

The charge and conviction have been attributed to a social media post Emil Kurbedinov made on June 6, 2013. According to the court, the impugned post, a video recording of Hizb ut Tahrir  demonstrations which took place in Crimea in 2013, displayed “symbols of the terrorist organization ‘Hizb ut Tahrir’”. While Hizb ut Tahrir is not a prohibited organization under Ukrainian law, it was deemed a terrorist organization by the Russian Supreme Court in 2003.

The Law Society is troubled by Emil Kurbedinov’s situation and urges the Government of Russia to comply with Russia’s obligations under international human rights laws, including the United Nations’ Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503797

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503797&langtype=1036 (FRANCAIS)

Crimea/Russia: Crimean Attorneys Don’t Have It Easy

April 24, 2017

After the Russian annexation, few Crimean law professionals are eager to take on sensitive, politically charged cases. From Euroradio.

Three years after the March 2014 events, the Kremlin insists that Crimea is part of the Russian Federation. Kyiv’s official stance is that the Crimean peninsula is a temporarily occupied territory. Crimean activists, politicians, and citizens who oppose the annexation of Crimea have been tried for violating Russian law. The Russian organization Memorial considers them political prisoners or prisoners of conscience. Given the legal status of the peninsula, attorneys cannot prove they are not guilty or perform their professional duties in general without difficulty.

We meet lawyer Emil Kurbedinov next to his small office in the center of Crimea’s capital, Simferopol. We have to talk in the street, as his clients took all the free seats in his office. People come to him with different issues asking for help, but Kurbedinov prefers to defend those detained on political charges, such as those people who do not think that Crimea is Russian. As a result, the lawyer recently spent 10 days under administrative arrest. Policemen searched his office and seized documents containing classified judicial information. This happened because Kurbedinov dared to use his phone to film a search that took place in the office of one of his fellow citizens. Before that, the lawyer had received hints from “high-ranking people” that he should quit legal practice.

“From the very beginning we tried to shed light on all cases we considered politically motivated,” Kurbedinov explains. “We wanted people, both here and abroad, to see how trials took place, how the evidence was presented, and so on. That bothered very much those who held the trials, the prosecution.”

Among Kurbedinov’s clients are leaders of the Mejlis [the Crimean parliament outlawed by Russia as an “extremist” organization in 2016] who have been accused of calls to “violate the territorial integrity of Russia.”

http://www.tol.org/client/article/26869-crimean-attorneys-dont-have-it-easy.html