July 23, 2019
Defend the defenders of peoples' rights. Secure, encrypted email: email@example.com (end-to-end encryption)
July 23, 2019
July 12, 2019
Farhad Mohammadi, a lawyer and secretary of the National Unity Party in Kurdistan, was released on bail.
Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) has been informed that this lawyer was released from Sanandaj Central Prison at noon on Tuesday, July 9, 2019 after a 6-month detention on a heavy bail of 500 million Tomans.
This activist was arrested on Jan 4, 2019 following the massive arrest of environmental activists and members of the National Unity Party in Sanandaj and Kamyaran. He was detained in the solitary confinement of the Ministry of Intelligence Detention Centre in Sanandaj under the Torture and pressure for about 5 months of his arrest in order to make false confessions.
He was transferred to the quarantine ward of Sanandaj Central Prison on May 25, 2019 but – contrary to the usual practice of being released on bail, his interim detention was illegally extended per the request of the Prosecutor’s Office of the Islamic Revolutionary court of Sanandaj.
Farhad Mohammadi had only one short visit with his family in the presence of his interogators during the entire term of his detention despite the fact that his young daughter had been admitted to the hospital for a serious illness at the same time.
A month after his arrest, 59 lawyers published an open letter in which they had asked for the release of Mohammadi while stressing on his good professional standing.
LLAMADO URGENTE – EL OBSERVATORIO
HND 003 / 0619 / OBS 053
21 de junio de 2019
El Observatorio para la Protección de los Defensores de Derechos Humanos, programa conjunto de la Organización Mundial Contra la Tortura (OMCT) y de la FIDH, solicita su intervención urgente ante la siguiente situación en Honduras.
Descripción de la situación
El Observatorio ha recibido información del Comité de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos en Honduras (COFADEH) sobre la criminalización y amenaza contra la libertad del abogado defensor de derechos humanos Sr. Mario Amilcar Portillo Contreras en la ciudad de la Esperanza, departamento de Intibucá en Honduras.
Según la información recibida, el 20 de junio de 2019, el Sr. Mario Portillo, en ejercicio de su profesión, actuó en la defensa de un menor de edad y otras tres personas que habían sido detenidas en el desarrollo de una protesta social en la ciudad de la Esperanza y quienes fueron objeto de tratos inhumanos y degradantes. Unas horas más tarde las tres personas fueron liberadas y el Sr. Mario Portillo firmó ante la Policía un documento en calidad de representante.
No obstante, la detención de estas cuatro personas produjo el rechazo de los manifestantes, quienes llegaron hasta la delegación policial a reclamar su liberación. Esta protesta fue dispersada por la Policía a la fuerza, mediante el uso de gases lacrimógenos y se produjeron serios disturbios. En ese contexto tres personas más fueron detenidas.
Durante los disturbios la Policía solicitó al defensor Mario Portillo su mediación para calmar los ánimos de los manifestantes a lo que él accedió. La situación retornó a la normalidad y, posteriormente, las otras tres personas detenidas fueron liberadas y entregadas a una comisión que había sido nombrada por parte de la comunidad para recibirlos.
Según las mismas informaciones, las autoridades departamentales de Intibucá, civiles, policiales y militares habrían decidido presentar cargos contra el abogado defensor responsabilizándolo de ser el coordinador de las protestas y de los daños ocasionados durante los disturbios ocurridos. Su captura podría producirse en las próximas horas.
TUR 003 / 0618 / OBS 087.2
May 28, 2019
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your intervention in the following situation in Turkey.
The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the sentencing of human rights lawyer and co-president of the Human Rights Association (İHD) Ms. Eren Keskin and her ongoing judicial harassment. An honorary member of the Paris Bar Association, Eren Keskin is the winner of multiple international awards for her peace and human rights work, including the 2018 Helsinki Civil Society Award, and was the 2018 finalist of Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders.
According to the information received, on May 21, 2019, İstanbul 14th Heavy Penal Court convicted Ms. Eren Keskin for “propaganda on half of a terrorist organisation” – namely the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) – under Article 7(2) of the Anti-Terror Law No. 3713), and sentenced her to 3 years and 9 months of prison. Ms. Eren Keskin attended this final hearing, which was also followed by foreign diplomats. The sentence will be taken to the Regional Court of Appeal.
Since 2016, Ms. Eren Keskin and seven other defendants, columnists or rotating editors of the closed newspaper Özgür Gündem, have faced charges for “disrupting the unity of the state”, “openly inciting to commit crime”, “being a member of a terrorist group”, “propagandizing for a terrorist organization” and “publishing and spreading statements of terrorist organisations” in relation with articles published in Özgür Gündem (see background information below).
IND 004 / 0519 / OBS 043
May 16, 2019
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in India.
Brief description of the situation:
The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about new acts of harassment against Ms. Indira Jaising and Mr. Anand Grover, human rights lawyers and founders of the Indian NGO Lawyers Collective. Both Ms. Jaising and Mr. Grover are internationally renowned human right professionals who have a long history of engaging with the United Nations (UN) system. Ms. Jaising is a former member of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and Mr. Grover is a former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health. Lawyers Collective is a prominent public interest service provider in India with an established record of setting high standards in human rights advocacy, legal aid and litigation.
According to the information received, on May 8, 2019, a Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi issued a notice in a petition filed on May 6 by an organisation called ‘Lawyers Voice.’ The petition demanded that the Government of India initiate criminal proceedings against Lawyers Collective, Ms. Jaising, and Mr. Grover for the alleged misuse of foreign funding under the 2010 Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).
The bench issued the notice despite the fact that the petition did not provide any supporting information. The Observatory further recalls that Lawyers Collective’s FCRA was suspended and subsequently cancelled in 2016 – a measure that is being challenged by Lawyers Collective before the Bombay High Court (see background information).
Ms. Jaising recently expressed strong criticism regarding the handling of proceedings in a case that involves allegations of sexual harassment against CJI Ranjan Gogoi by a former Supreme Court employee.
The Observatory expresses its deepest concern for the harassment against Lawyers Collective, Ms. Indira Jaising and Mr. Anand Grover and condemns the use of FCRA to impede legitimate activities of human rights organisations.
The Observatory calls upon the Indian authorities to put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against them and to amend FRCA in a manner that is consistent with international standards of freedom of association, including Article 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
On June 3, 2016, the Ministry of Home Affairs suspended the FCRA registration of Lawyers Collective. In addition, the Ministry of Home Affairs leaked the suspension notice to the press before Lawyers Collective received a copy of it. This suspension of the FCRA registration was based on allegations that Lawyers Collective, in particular Ms. Jaising and Mr. Grover, violated FCRA regulations.
IRN 004 / 0918 / OBS 115.3
April 19, 2019
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation inIran.
Description of the situation:
The Observatory has been informed by the League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI) about the ongoing judicial harassment against Mr. Amir Salar Davoodi and the sentencing and re-arrest of Mr. Mohammad Najafi. Both of them are human rights lawyers.
According to the information received on April 16, 2019, Branch 2 of the Prosecutor’s Office in Tehran’s Evin prison issued an indictment against Mr. Amir Salar Davoodi on charges of “cooperating with hostile governments through giving interviews to VOA” (purportedly under Article 508 of the Islamic Penal Code) and “establishing a group to overthrow the system” (Article 498). The case was referred to Branch 15 of the Islamic Revolution Court in Tehran. It is believed that the second charge is linked to Mr. Amir Salar Davoodi’ creation of a public channel called “withoutretouch” on the messaging application Telegram, on which he reported news and events regarding lawyers and the Bar Association. This channel was also used to share personal opinions on various topics including objections to the detention of lawyers such as Ms. Nasrin Sotoudehand Messrs. Arash Kaykhosraviand Ghasem Sholeh-Saadi, and other lawyers, as well as occasional statements critical of the actions of the Supreme Leader and the former Head of the Judiciary. Mr. Amir Salar Davoodi has been detained in Evin prison since November 20, 2018 (see background information).
Moreover, the Observatory has received reliable information that the Court of Appeals in Arak, Markazi Province, upheld the conviction and prison sentence issued by Branch 1 of the Islamic Revolution Court of Arak against Mr. Mohammad Najafi on November 26, 2018 (see background information): one year imprisonment for “spreading propaganda in favour of groups and organisations opposed to the system” (purportedly under Article 500 of the Islamic Penal Code), two years imprisonment for “insulting the leader of the Islamic Republic” (Article 514) and ten years imprisonment for “co-operating with hostile governments by transmitting news and information in interviews” (purportedly under Article 508) through interviews he gave to Voice of America, Radio Farda, and BBC Persian Service. Under the provisions of Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, Mr. Najafi will likely have to serve these sentences concurrently, i.e. up to 10 years in prison.
Mr. Mohammad Najafi was arrested on April 1, 2019 to serve his sentence and is currently detained in Arak prison.
The Observatory notes that Mr. Mohammad Najafi was released from Arak prison in Markazi Province under an amnesty on March 28, 2019. He was serving a three-year sentence related to his defence work in the case of the death of a protester in police custody in January 2018 in Arak (see background information).
The Observatory recalls that several other human rights lawyers are currently detained for exercising their profession or for defending human rights, including Ms. Nasrin Sotoudeh, and Messrs. Farhad Mohammadi and Massood Shamsnejad. Others were arrested and released on bail and are still awaiting the outcome of their case.
April 11, 2019
Representatives from the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales and the Colombian Caravana (UK) have returned to Medellin to continue observing the trial of Santiago Uribe Vélez, the brother of former President and current Senator, Álvaro Uribe Vélez. Santiago Uribe is accused of heading a paramilitary group in North Antioquia during the early 1990s that became known as the “12 Apostles”. He also is charged with the murder of bus driver, Camilo Barrientos Durán, in 1994. During its existence, the 12 Apostles sought to carry out what many have referred to as ‘social cleansing’ – eliminating those considered ‘undesirable’ to the group such as sex workers and drug addicts. In addition, the group targeted members and supporters of guerrilla groups. The group is considered to be responsible for over 500 murders and disappearances during this period.
International observation missions were organised following evidence of threats and intimidation to lawyers and witnesses in the case. Daniel Prado, lawyer to the victims of the case, has been granted precautionary measures by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (Medida cautelar N° 261-16 of 20 November 2017), which stated that “the rights to life and personal integrity of Mr. Daniel Ernesto Prado Albarracín are at grave risk.” We understand that, although the National Protection Unit (Unidad Nacional de Protección) provided him with a car as a security measure, it does not have reinforced windows which means that it does not provide adequate protection.
The mission has been informed about serious attempts having been made to undermine the work of the prosecution. It is reported that in November 2017 a plan was uncovered to murder Olwan de Jésus Agudelo Betancurt, one of the witnesses in the case.