Tag Archives: European Union

India/Jammu & Kashmir: IOK Bar on strike to support anti-India protests

September 26, 2019

In occupied Kashmir, 1,050 members of lawyers aassociations have gone on strike to support the protest demonstrations against Indian government’s abrogation of Article 370 and arrest of several Bar members.

Among the first arrested after the Indian government’s lockdown in the Kashmir Valley were senior functionaries of the High Court Bar Association, including president, Mian Abdul Qayoom, former president, Nazir Ahmad Ronga, president of bar association of Baramulla district court, advocate Abdul Salam Rather and president of Bar Islamabad district, Fayaz Sodagar under the black law Public Safety Act, which the Amnesty International termed repressive and draconian to stop the voice and peaceful activities of people.

All of them are being held in prisons in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, 1,000km away from Srinagar.

Indian police arrested over 13,000 of Kashmiris including Hurriyet leaders, activists, traders and other several political party leaders in houses and in jails in and outside occupied Kashmir.

Mir Urfi, a young female lawyer, said in Srinagar the authorities and Indian government had no valid grounds to arrest Main Qayoom, president of the bar association.

“In grounds of arrest, the police wrote: ‘We apprehend that you (referring to Qayoom) will motivate people to agitate against abrogation of Article 370′,” she said.

Objecting to the arrest of their colleagues, and to support the largest protests in the region against the Indian government’s actions, the 1,050-member lawyers’ association has gone on strike since Aug 5.

https://kmsnews.org/news/2019/09/26/iok-bar-on-strike-to-support-anti-india-protests/

https://www.urdupoint.com/en/pakistan/iok-lawyers-on-strike-to-support-anti-india-p-722048.html

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/two-lawyers-held-under-psa-jk-admin-cites-drastic-ideology-bar-misuse-6029488/

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/09/crackdown-lawyers-shrinks-road-justice-kashmir-190920073101403.html

https://defence.pk/pdf/threads/crackdown-on-lawyers-narrows-road-to-justice-in-kashmir.637097/

Crackdown on lawyers narrows road to justice in Kashmir

European Parliament to debate ‘Kashmir issue’ tomorrow, first time in 11 years

https://www.theparliamentmagazine.eu/articles/opinion/meps-put-spotlight-kashmir

https://nation.com.pk/24-Sep-2019/eu-calls-for-india-pakistan-dialogue-with-involvement-of-kashmiris

Kashmir in geopolitical context

Egypt: Egypt detains more than 1,000 after anti-Sisi protests: NGOs

September 25, 2019

Egyptian authorities have arrested more than 1,000 people, two rights groups said Wednesday, in the wake of rare protests last week calling for the ouster of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

The Egyptian Centre for Freedoms and Rights said 1,003 had been arrested, while the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights reported the figure of 1,298 detained.

Two prominent academics were also detained on Tuesday, a lawyer and a relative said.

Hazem Hosny, a Cairo University political science professor, was arrested on Tuesday night in front of his home, his lawyer Tarek al-Awadi said on his Facebook account.

French-educated Hosny was a spokesman for former Egyptian military chief of staff Sami Anan, who was detained after he attempted to run against Sisi in presidential elections last year.

The professor has been critical of Sisi on social media in recent days.

Hassan Nafaa, another prominent intellectual who teaches political science at Cairo University, was also detained from his home late Tuesday, family sources told AFP.

The growing list of arrests includes three journalists held for their coverage of the protests and award-winning human rights lawyer Mahienour El-Massry.

Egypt has also come under fire from rights groups for disrupting internet access to the popular app Facebook messenger and news sites such as the BBC.

https://www.france24.com/en/20190925-egypt-detains-more-than-1-000-after-anti-sisi-protests-ngos

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/germany-criticizes-egypts-repression-on-civil-society/1594189

https://en.qantara.de/content/egypt-clamps-down-on-media-outlets-following-protests

https://www.albawaba.com/news/amnesty-international-urges-egypt-stop-crackdown-protesters-1310909

https://www.fidh.org/en/issues/human-rights-defenders/egypt-arbitrary-arrest-of-ms-mahienour-el-massry

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/25/johnson-offers-words-of-praise-to-egypts-leader-despite-repression

Egypt’s Arab Spring Isn’t Over

https://allafrica.com/stories/201909250274.html

https://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/egypt/67839/eu-item-4-statement-egypt-un-human-rights-council-42nd-session_en

https://www.timesofisrael.com/egypt-ngos-say-up-to-1900-detained-after-anti-sissi-protests/

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/26/over-1900-arrested-as-egypt-braces-for-more-protests

https://madamasr.com/en/2019/09/26/feature/politics/biggest-wave-of-arrests-since-sisi-took-office-1909-people-detained/

https://www.facebook.com/freemahienour/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahienour_El-Massry

https://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/egypt/67840/node/67840_ar (ARABIC)

https://information.tv5monde.com/afrique/egypte-plus-de-1000-arrestations-apres-des-manifestations-anti-sissi-ong-323474 (FRANCAIS)

https://www.rferl.org/a/finally-a-defense-of-tajikistan-s-lawyers/30185435.html (FRANCAIS)

https://www.standaard.be/cnt/dmf20190924_04626342 (DEUTSCH)

https://dekanttekening.nl/nieuws/egypte-sluit-prominente-mensenrechtenactiviste-op/ (NEDERLANDS)

https://www.nettavisen.no/nyheter/utenriks/over-1000-pagrepet-i-arrestbolge-egypt/3423851661.html (NORWEGIAN)

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Iran: EU Parliament In Overwhelming Vote Blasts Iran’s Human Rights Record

September 20, 2019

FRANCE – Plenary hall of European parliament in Strasbourg, July 18, 2019

The European Parliament on Thursday, September 19 adopted a resolution condemning the Islamic Republic’s human rights record, calling Tehran to end “suppression of women” in Iran.

The new resolution was endorsed by 608 votes in favor, seven against and 46 abstentions.

While insisting that Iran must stop criminalizing the work of women’s rights defenders, including the work done by those peacefully protesting compulsory hijab, the European Parliament called on the authorities in Iran to abolish this practice.

Furthermore, members of the European Parliament (MEPs) demanded all EU countries with a diplomatic presence in Iran to use all the diplomacy tools in their power to support and protect human rights defenders on the ground.

MEPs also called on the Iranian authorities to immediately release all human rights defenders and journalists detained and sentenced merely for exercising their right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

According to the resolution, at least eight journalists are currently in detention in Iran and that many have been systematically targeted by the authorities through criminal investigations, asset freezes, arbitrary arrest and surveillance, including those working for the BBC Persian service. Furthermore, the MEPs referred to a recent report by Iran Human Rights, noting that in 2018 the second-highest number of people in the world were executed in Iran.

The resolution, adopted by a show of hands, reiterates the European Parliament’s call on the government of Iran to immediately and unconditionally release human rights lawyer and Sakharov Prize Laureate Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes by an Islamic Revolutionary court.

Sotoudeh was arrested in 2018 and convicted for her peaceful activities defending women’s right to choose their own dress style. Although there is no written law in Iran for compulsory hijab, the police and courts spend huge resources to force women to use hijab. Resistance against the policy has increased among Iranians in recent years.

In the meantime, the resolution has stressed that all EU-Iranian dual nationals currently behind bars in the Islamic Republic should be immediately and unconditionally freed.

https://en.radiofarda.com/a/eu-parliament-in-overwhelming-vote-blasts-iran-s-human-rights-record/30175321.html

EU Parliament Censures Iran’s Suppression of Women

What Do Iranian Human Rights Activists Want from the West?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nasrin_Sotoudeh

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nasrin_Sotoudeh (FRANCAIS)

#FreeNasrin

Egypt/UN/EU: Open Letter to EU Member States Ahead of the Universal Periodic Review of Egypt

September 17, 2019

Image result for human rights watch

Your Excellency,

The next Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Egypt’s human rights record is scheduled for 13 November 2019, under the auspices of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. We are writing to strongly urge your government to use this occasion to address the ongoing human rights crisis in Egypt.

Since the last review of Egypt’s record in 2014, human rights violations have increased sharply and the undersigned organisations and our partners have documented unprecedented levels of repression against human rights organisations and human rights defenders. The UPR is an opportunity for States to contribute to reversing these trends and promoting respect for human rights in Egypt.

We urge your government to take part in the UPR process and to make concrete recommendations to the Egyptian authorities to urgently address the following issues:

Immediately and unconditionally release all human rights defenders, civil society activists and all those detained or imprisoned solely for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association, including lawyers, journalists, labour rights activists, minority rights activists, and LGBTQI activists. Put a stop to excessive police probation measures and the use of prolonged pre-trial detention to punish dissenters, close Case 173/2011 against Egyptian NGOs and lift arbitrary travel bans on human rights defenders.

https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/09/17/open-letter-eu-member-states-ahead-universal-periodic-review-egypt

https://www.omct.org/monitoring-protection-mechanisms/statements/egypt/2019/09/d25507/

https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/09/17/un-address-egypts-assault-rights

Thailand: The Attorney General ruled not to prosecute Lawyer June for not allowing police to search her car, due to her lack of intention to comply with the order

August 30, 2019

On 27 August 2019, Ms. Sirikan Charoensiri, known as Lawyer June, went to meet the inquiry officer who was responsible for her case at Chanasongkram Police Station, Bangkok, to hear the Attorney General’s order not to prosecute her on an allegation of concealing evidence.  The order was due to the fact that there was no intention to hide any evidence since she only complied to the recommendation from military court officers to keep the belongings of the alleged fellow activists by her side. Furthermore, the police made the request to search her car during the night and without providing any reasonable legal grounds.

For the other charge of not complying with an official order without reasonable grounds or explanation, the responsible prosecutor issued an order to dismiss the case due to be barred by prescription.  As a result, the criminal proceedings against lawyer Ms. Sirikan for two such allegations have been terminated.

Today the representatives from the embassies of Canada, Sweden, Germany, the United States, the European Union, and officials from human rights organizations including Amnesty International (Regional Office) came to observe the proceedings.

Detailed accounts of the final non-prosecution order and the termination of legal proceedings

On 26 July 2019, the office of the Special Prosecutor issued notification document No. 0013.3/1076 to Chanasongkram Police Station giving a final order not to prosecute and to terminate the proceedings against lawyer Sirikan.  In summary, the document provided the following details:

https://www.tlhr2014.com/?p=13569&fbclid=IwAR2axLGo0dJ6hVoAKljha8PXyM4dPEaDt6hge-6MF5rfK9pHF3a8XtcK4ao&lang=en

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/judicial-harassment-against-sirikan-charoensiri

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sirikan_Charoensiri

https://www.facebook.com/tlhr2014/

https://www.tlhr2014.com/?p=13465 (THAI)

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sirikan_Charoensiri (FRANCAIS)

Turkey: Turkey’s provincial bar associations wage unexpected war on Ankara

August 17, 2019

Feyzioğlu

The Turkish Bar Association, said on Saturday that its president Metin Feyzioğlu would attend a ceremony marking the beginning of the judicial year at the Turkish Presidency’s Congress and Culture Centre in Ankara despite provincial bar associations’ calls for a boycott, Artı Gerçek news site reported.

According to Birgun newspaper, so far 41 provincial bar associations, including those in Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir, announced that they had declined the invitation to attend the event over ethical concerns. Only three associations have accepted participating the ceremony, according to the same newspaper.

In a statement on Friday, the Istanbul Bar Association said it could not accept a choice of venue that conflicted both with the constitution’s 104th article, which deal with the president’s duties in relation to the judiciary, but also with ethical standards outlined in a legal reform package unveiled in May.

The Ankara Bar Association on Saturday said in a written statement that attending an event for the new judicial year at the presidential venue would mean reproducing the political pressure over the judiciary.

The association said the existing circumstances in Turkey had been surpassing both the rule of law and the separation of powers.

Turkish Bar Association, the umbrella organisation of provincial bodies, said in a written statement that Feyzioğlu would attend the event and deliver a speech.

“What our colleagues and nation expect is solve our problems through dialogue. We fully believe that we can solve those problems together by discussing and through dialogue,” it said.

The European Commission said in its annual report on Turkey published in May that the country had been experiencing considerable backsliding in the rule of law and the judiciary. The EU’s executive body said there were serious concerns on the independence of the judiciary, noting that some 30 percent of the judges and prosecutors were either dismissed or removed following a coup attempt in 2016.

https://ahvalnews.com/turkish-judiciary/turkeys-provincial-bar-associations-wage-unexpected-war-ankara

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-08-17/erdogan-faces-backlash-from-lawyers-boycotting-palace-ceremony

Bar associations refuse to attend judicial year opening at Presidential Palace

https://ahvalnews.com/turkish-judiciary/turkish-bar-associations-reject-invitation-state-ceremony-presidential-venue-over

https://ahvalnews.com/rule-law/turkey-109th-out-126-countries-rule-law-index

https://bianet.org/english/law/206052-turkey-ranks-worse-in-rule-of-law-index

https://www.dw.com/en/european-parliament-votes-to-suspend-turkeys-eu-membership-bid/a-47902275

https://ahvalnews.com/turkey-eu/eus-blind-eye-turkey-may-prove-costly

9 bar associations to boycott new judicial year opening at presidential palace

https://www.france24.com/en/20190818-turkish-lawyers-threaten-boycott-of-erdogan-s-courts-ceremony

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-bar-associations-to-boycott-judicial-year-ceremony-145859

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/europe/turkish-bar-groups-boycott-court-ceremony-at-erdogan-s-palace-1.3990123

Turkish Bar Associations boycott new judicial year opening at presidential palace (updated)

https://ahvalnews.com/turkish-judiciary/dozens-top-appeals-court-members-boycott-court-ceremony-erdogans-palace

European Court of Human Rights: ICJ and others intervene in case of former Amnesty Turkey Chair Taner Kiliç

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkish_Bars_Association

http://www.tabloidgazete.com/metin-feyzioglu-saraydaki-torene-katilacak/ (TURKCE)

https://halkweb.com.tr/barolar-daveti-reddetmisti-peki-tbb-ne-yapacak/ (TURKCE)

https://www.barobirlik.org.tr/ (TURKCE)

http://www.lefigaro.fr/flash-actu/les-avocats-turcs-menacent-de-boycotter-une-ceremonie-d-erdogan-20190818 (FRANCAIS)

China: “The Bravest Lawyer in China” – Gao Zhisheng

August 13, 2019

The first case was that of Cai Zhuohua, a pastor at a house church in Beijing who, together with members of his family, was arrested for operating an illegal business after printing multiple copies of the Bible. It was the first time I witnessed Gao’s grace and eloquence in court. The court disrespected the lawful right of Cai’s mother to observe the hearing, and Gao denounced the judge with fervent conviction. After that, Gao and I would often attend services at house churches in Beijing and he even got baptized later.

Another case we took on was the case of Shaanxi Oil. At the time, one of the lawyers on the case, Zhu Jiuhu, was arrested and imprisoned at the Shaanxi Yulin Detention Centre. We went to represent him and took pictures at the entrance before we left. Not long after, more than a dozen armed policemen rushed towards us and interrogated us for taking those pictures. They thought they could frighten us, but we were experienced in such interrogation and firmly rebutted them. After that, Gao lamented, “If this is how they treat lawyers in suits, can you imagine what they’d do to the people living around here?”

On the way back, we stopped by Gao’s home in Jiaxian and squatted in the courtyard eating noodles. I will never forget his cave home, his taciturn brother and the dry and barren land that surrounded us.

A coal miner turned lawyer

Gao Zhisheng came from humble beginnings. His father passed away when he was 11. At 16, he was admitted to a prestigious high school but had to drop out because he could not afford the tuition. Before he became a lawyer at 31, he worked a variety of jobs – he picked Chinese herbs in the mountains, worked as a coal miner, soldier and vegetable vendor, and labored in a cement factory. He experienced all kinds of hardships and had a deep understanding of inequality and injustices in China.

After becoming a lawyer, Gao set a few rules for himself. One was that a third of his cases had to be pro-bono lawsuits for low-income groups. He said: “I came from a poor family. I know how poor people feel so I know what I have to do … but helping others should not be an act of charity.”

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2019/08/bravest-lawyer-china-gao-zhisheng/

https://m.theepochtimes.com/an-unprecedented-evil-persecution-chapter-ten-silent-atrocities_3022485.html

https://www.netherlandsandyou.nl/latest-news/news/2019/07/31/statement-by-the-spokesperson-of-the-eu-on-the-trial-of-chinese-human-rights-activist-huang-qi

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/family-08142019110446.html

https://www.theepochtimes.com/trump-will-work-to-oppose-the-forces-of-repression-for-dissedent-chinese-lawyer_3038733.html

http://www.jeromecohen.net/jerrys-blog/the-bravest-lawyer-in-china-gao-zhisheng

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gao_Zhisheng

https://www.amnesty.be/infos/nos-blogs/blog-paroles-de-chercheurs-de-defenseurs-et-de-victimes/gao-zhisheng-disparition?lang=fr (FRANCAIS)

https://www.amnesty.fr/liberte-d-expression/actualites/gao-zhisheng-est-un-eminent-avocat-specialise-dans (FRANCAIS)

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gao_Zhisheng (FRANCAIS)