Tag Archives: FIDH

Belarus: Trial against the leaders of Viasna begins on January 5


Nobel prize winner Ales Bialiatski, FIDH Vice-President Valiantsin Stefanovic and lawyer Uladzimir Labkovich, will be tried on January 5, 2023. The three face fake charges of smuggling and financing of group actions grossly violating public order. The Observatory demands their release and calls for solidarity actions in support of the imprisoned human rights defenders in Belarus.

On January 5, 2023, Viasna Chairman and Nobel Peace Prize 2022 laureate Ales Bialiatski, his deputy Valiantsin Stefanovic, and Viasna’s lawyer and coordinator of the “Free Elections Campaign” Uladzimir Labkovich will face trial before the Lieninski District Court of Minsk, after more than 17 months of arbitrary detention. Another defendant in this case and Viasna member Zmister Salauyou has left Belarus and will be tried in absentia.

Messrs Bialiatski, Stefanovic and Labkovich were arrested on July 14, 2021, and held in torturous conditions ever since. They are accused under two criminal articles:

• “Smuggling; illegal movement of cash across the customs border of the Eurasian Economic Union on a large scale by an organized group” (Article 228.4 of the Criminal Code of Belarus); and
• “Financing of group actions grossly violating the public order” (Article 342.2 of the same Code). They face from 7 to 12 years of imprisonment if convicted and sentenced.

The charges are politically motivated and refer to Viasna’s legitimate human rights activities, deemed “illegal” by the prosecution. The defendants are notably accused of helping victims of the Lukashenka regime’s repression, including those protesting the 2020 election fraud, by paying their legal fees, reimbursing fines and paying for meals in detention centers.

The current charges against the defendants were filed in October 2022, whilst since July 2021 the three were detained on the charge of “tax evasion” (Part 2 of Art. 243 of the Belarus Criminal Code), which was later dropped. This charge was already used to target Ales Bialiatski in 2012, when he was sentenced to four and a half years of imprisonment. He was released in June 2014, after the UN Human Rights Committee ruled that his conviction was illegal and ordered his release.

The judicial proceedings against Bialiatski, Stefanovic and Labkovich are marred by numerous irregularities. The investigation period has been dragged out by the authorities, and has exceeded the legal limit established in Belarusian law and international standards. There are sufficient grounds to claim that this is due to a deliberate attempt to fabricate evidence. Their pre-trial detention has been continuously extended in closed doors hearings, even though the Belarusian law offers alternatives in the form of house arrest. It is believed that the authorities have kept them in inhumane detention conditions to force them to confess.

Their lawyers as well as the defendants themselves have been placed under a nondisclosure obligation. For 17 months, they have been systematically denied family visits, and medical care and access to their lawyers have been severely limited.

The reprisals against Viasna and its members are part of a broader crackdown on civil society in Belarus. In 2021 alone, the authorities shut down more than 275 human rights and other civil society organisations, leaving no legally operating independent NGO in the country. In December 2021, the authorities re-introduced criminal liability for working with unregistered or liquidated organisations. This led to a de facto criminalisation of human rights work in Belarus. Since 2020, five other members of Viasna were put behind bars, including Marfa RabkovaAndrei ChapyukLeanid Sudalenka and Tatsiana Lasitsa.







Turkey: Judicial harassment and upcoming trial of rights lawyer Elif Tirenç İpek Ulaş



The Observatory has been informed about the judicial harassment and upcoming trial hearing of Ms Elif Tirenç İpek Ulaş, a lawyer, women’s rights defender and board member of the Rosa Women’s Association (Rosa Kadın Derneği). Rosa Women’s Association is a civil society organisation focusing on violence against women and women’s rights in Diyarbakır and overall South-Eastern region in Turkey. The Association has supported more than 160 women who survived from violence.

On December 22, 2022, the eighth hearing in the ongoing trial of Elif Tirenç İpek Ulaş on the charge of “membership to an armed terrorist organisation” (Article 314/2 of the Turkish Penal Code) will be held before the Diyarbakır 8th Heavy Penal Court. If convicted, Elif Tirenç İpek Ulaş could face up to 10 years of imprisonment.

The case against Elif Tirenç İpek Ulaş began in May 2020, when Diyarbakır prosecution authorities launched investigations into members of Rosa Women’s Association. The authorities then divided individual cases per person and the investigation against Elif Tirenç İpek Ulaş initiated in August 2020.

According to the indictment drawn up by the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, the charges relate to the allegation that Rosa Women’s Association would praise and defend the activities and principles of the Kurdistan Labour Party (PKK), which would make members and board members of the Association members of an armed terrorist organisation.

Apart from the general allegations against the association, the indictment against Elif Tirenç İpek Ulaş presents only one anonymous witness statement as the basis of her alleged “membership to an armed terrorist organisation”. This anonymous statement alleges that, as an attorney, Elif Tirenç İpek Ulaş regularly visits women prisoners convicted for terrorism-related charges, financially assists them, and provides them communication with the PKK and the outer world. Elif Tirenç İpek Ulaş denied these allegations, explaining that the aim of Rosa Women’s Association is to advocate to put an end to violence against women, and that she did not carry any prison visit in the last three years nor is familiar with any of the women prisoners the anonymous witness mentioned. So far, Diyarbakır 8th Heavy Penal Court did not inquire into the allegations and defences of the parties.




https://jinpanel.com/HUKUK/content/view/201269 (TURKCE)


Salah Hamouri: Israel deports Palestinian lawyer to France


Israel’s interior ministry says it has deported a Palestinian-French human rights lawyer after accusing him of security threats.

Salah Hammouri, 37, was escorted onto a flight to France by police early on Sunday morning, the ministry said.

A lifelong resident of Jerusalem, he was stripped of his residency rights after officials accused him of being a member of a terrorist organisation.

Mr Hammouri denies the charges and rights groups have condemned the move.

The French foreign ministry also expressed disappointment at the decision, and said it condemned “the Israeli authorities’ decision, against the law, to expel Salah Hammouri to France”.

But in a statement, the Israeli interior ministry said Mr Hammouri had “organised, inspired and planned to commit terror attacks” against “citizens and well-known Israelis”.

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, part of the outgoing Israeli government, hailed the move as a personal success.

“Justice has been done to the terrorist and he has been deported from Israel,” she said in a statement.

“This was a long and protracted process and it is a tremendous achievement that I was able to bring about his deportation just before the end of my duties, using the tools at my disposal to advance the fight against terrorism.”

Mr Hammouri holds French citizenship through his mother. He held residency rights in Jerusalem – a fragile system used by Palestinians in Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem which can be revoked by authorities. He does not hold Israeli citizenship.

He works for Addameer, a Palestinian legal aid and prisoners’ rights group that was designated a terrorist organisation by the Israeli defence ministry in October 2021 along with five other Palestinian civil society groups.

The military said they were linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a Palestinian militant group that Israel considers a terrorist organisation.





https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2022/12/18/israel-a-expulse-vers-la-france-l-avocat-franco-palestinien-salah-hamouri_6154913_3210.html (FRANCAIS)



Macron urged to oppose Israeli deportation of French Palestinian lawyer Salah Hamouri 


Several charitable organizations and activist groups have called on French President Emmanuel Macron to act immediately against the expulsion of French Palestinian lawyer Salah Hamouri by Israeli authorities.

Israel on Thursday announced it had stripped Hamouri of his Jerusalem residency and planned to deport him to France, saying he was an “activist in a banned militant group.”

French citizen Hamouri, who has been held since March in administrative detention — a tool that allows Israeli authorities to hold suspects without charge for months on end — faces deportation as early as Sunday despite being a life-long resident of Jerusalem.

His charge, as announced by the Israeli Ministry of Interior, is a “failure of allegiance” toward the state of Israel, first confirmed on June 29 last year. He has not been convicted in the proceedings.

Israel claims that Hamouri is a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a group that is considered a terrorist organization by Israel and the US.

He is a lawyer for Adameer, a rights group that assists Palestinian prisoners that Israel has banned for alleged ties to the PFLP, and previously spent seven years in prison after being convicted in an alleged plot to kill a prominent rabbi, but was released in a 2011 prisoner swap with Hamas.

Human Rights Watch, ACAT-France, Amnesty International France, the Platform of French NGOs for Palestine and the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders are appealing to Macron to immediately call on the Israeli authorities to release Hamouri.










https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2022/12/02/l-expulsion-de-l-avocat-franco-palestinien-detenu-en-israel-salah-hamouri-reportee-selon-ses-proches_6152728_3210.html (FRANCAIS)





Uzbekistan: Opening of the trial against rights defender Dauletmurat Tajimuratov



The Observatory has been informed about the opening of the trial against Mr Dauletmurat Tajimuratov, who was abducted in June 2022 along with his relatives and has been arbitrarily detained ever since. Mr Tajimuratov is a lawyer, independent journalist, and defender of the rights of the Karakalpak national minority in Uzbekistan.

On November 28, 2022, Dauletmurat Tajimuratov appeared before the Bukhara Regional Criminal Court for the first hearing in his criminal trial on the following charges:

  • “Intentional grievous bodily harm” (Article 104, paragraph 3(a) of the Criminal Code of Uzbekistan);
  • “Conspiracy to seize power or overthrow the constitutional order” (Article 159 paragraph 4 of the same Code);
  • “Theft by embezzlement or misappropriation at a large scale” (Article 167, paragraph 3(a) of the same Code);
  • “Legalisation of proceeds of criminal activity” (Article 243 of the same Code);
  • “Organisation of mass riots accompanied by violence” (Article 244, paragraph 3 of the same Code);
  • “Preparation and dissemination of materials containing threat to public security and public order” (Article 244-1, paragraph 1(a, b, g) of the same Code).

The articles under which Mr Tajimuratov is accused carry penalties of up to 8, 10 and 15 years in prison. At the time of publication of this Urgent Appeal, he remained detained in pre-trial detention centre No. 11 in the city of Urgench, Khorezm region.

The Observatory notes that the judge hearing the case, Mr Yelubay Abibullayev, was criticised by Mr Tajimuratov in a video the latter published on his YouTube channel in November 2021 denouncing the judge’s alleged involvement in a corruption case. This creates a conflict of interest and raises concerns over the fairness and impartiality of the trial.

Mr Tajimuratov is being tried along with 21 individuals who participated or allegedly intended to participate in the July 2022 Karakalpak massive protests over the Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s proposed amendments to the Constitution of Uzbekistan, including the removal of the autonomous status of the Republic of Karakalpakstan. The protests were met with a brutal crackdown on civil society in the autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan, as well as the imposition of a one-month regional state of emergency and an Internet shutdown in the above-mentioned autonomous Republic.

The Observatory recalls that Mr Tajimuratov was abducted on June 30, 2022 by alleged officers of the Uzbekistan National Security Service from his home in the city of Nukus, along with his wife, two brothers and 8-year-old daughter. 





https://www.gazeta.uz/oz/2022/12/01/live/ (UZBEK)


Tajikistan: Tajik Prosecutors Seek 30 Years In Prison For Activist From Restive Gorno-Badakhshan Region


Tajik prosecutors have asked a court in Dushanbe to convict and sentence to 30 years in prison Faromuz Irgashev, an activist and former lawmaker in the volatile Gorno-Badakhshan region (GBAO), on charges of receiving illegal financial support from abroad, organizing an unsanctioned rally, and participating in the activities of a criminal group.

Two sources close to the trial, which started in October and is being held behind closed doors, told RFE/RL on December 1 that the prosecutor asked the court to sentence Irgashev last week.

The 32-year-old lawyer was arrested in May with several other activists in the wake of the deadly dispersal of protesters in GBAO. It is not known how he pleaded.

Irgashev was a lawyer for the Commission 44 group, which was created in November last year in GBAO to facilitate a dialogue between regional authorities and anti-government protesters. The group’s efforts led to the peaceful resolution of protests in the region.

In May, the protests in GBAO resumed as people demanded a thorough investigation into the 2021 death of an activist while in police custody and the refusal by regional authorities to consider the resignation of the regional governor and the mayor of GBAO’s capital, Khorugh.

The rallies intensified after one of the protesters was killed by police in May, prompting the authorities to launch a “counterterrorist operation.”

Authorities violently dispersed the protesters, arresting dozens of them. Irgashev and at least six other members of Commission 44 were among those apprehended. Two of them were later sentenced to 18 years in prison each.

In August, Tajikistan’s Supreme Court declared Commission 44 to be a criminal group.

Protests are rare in the tightly controlled nation of 9.5 million where President Emomali Rahmon has ruled with an iron fist for nearly three decades.




Mexico: Concern about harassment, surveillance and likely attempted murder of lawyer and defender of the Peoples’ Front in Defense of Land and Water – Morelos, Puebla, Tlaxcala, Juan Carlos Flores Solís


Joint Declaration by: Peace Brigades International – PBI Mexico; World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) and International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), in the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders; Protection International Mesoamerica; Taula per Mèxic (Barcelona); Front line Defenders; Swedish Movement for Reconciliation – SweFOR; Amnesty International

Concern about the harassment, surveillance and likely attempted murder of the lawyer and defender of the Peoples’ Front in Defense of Land and Water – Morelos, Puebla, Tlaxcala (FPDTA – MPT), Juan Carlos Flores Solís.

November 28, 2022

  • The Mexican State has the duty to guarantee the right to defend human and collective rights, and the integrity and life of human rights defenders of the FPDTA-MPT.
  • Human rights organizations are concerned about the harassment, surveillance and likely attempted murder of the lawyer and human rights defender Juan Carlos Flores Solís.

The undersigned organizations hereby recognize the indispensable work of the lawyer and human rights defender of the FPDTA-MPT, Juan Carlos Flores Solís, for his human rights work and defense of the right to access to water, a healthy environment and the self-determination of peoples.

The work of Juan Carlos Flores Solís, as a member and lawyer of the FPDTA-MPT, has focused on legal and social accompaniment of different indigenous Nahua communities fighting against mega-projects and against the extraction and contamination of water, both in the Cuautla River, in the municipality of Ayala, Morelos, and in the Metlapanapa River, in the municipality of Juan C. Bonilla, Puebla.

We would like to collectively express our concern for the recent events of intimidation, harassment, surveillance and the likely attempted homicide against Juan Carlos Flores Solís, which is directly linked to his legitimate legal and human rights work. We have received information from Juan Carlos Flores Solís about the attacks against his physical integrity, threats of physical harm, repeated raids, and acts of surveillance, intimidation and harassment that he has been subjected to throughout this year. These attacks seek to undermine and hinder the exercise of his right to defend human rights, as his legal and social accompaniment work is translated into denouncing the serious environmental impacts related to the industrial activity of both Mexican and transnational companies operating in the centre of the country.



https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/es/statement-report/joint-statement-mexico-concern-about-harassment-surveillance-juan-carlos-flores-solis (ESPANOL)





Turkey: Stigmatisation and death threats against Jiyan Tosun and her family



The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), requests your intervention in the following situation in Turkey.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by the Human Rights Association (İnsan Hakları Derneği – İHD) about the acts of stigmatisation and death threats against Ms Jiyan Tosun, her family, and Ms Eren Keskin. Ms Tosun is a lawyer and member of İHD. She is the daughter of Mr Fehmi Tosun, who was forcibly disappeared in 1995. Jiyan Tosun works for justice, truth and reparation for her father and other victims of enforced disappearance, together with the Saturday Mothers/People. Ms Keskin is the Co-Chairperson of İHD.

On November 13, 2022, while they were sitting in a café in Küçükçekmece District, Istanbul, plainclothes police officers took Jiyan Tosun and two of her foreign clients to the Istanbul Küçükçekmece Police Station for an identity check. In the police station, Ms Tosun was informed that a bomb attack in İstiklal Street, in Istanbul’s Taksim Square, had just been perpetrated. She was questioned by the anti-terror branch police, who asked her if she had any information about the attack. Ms Tosun was released shortly after, together with her clients.

As Ms Tosun was in the police station, Mr Adem Taşkaya, a member of the Victory Party (Zafer Partisi) posted a photo of a woman, allegedly the terrorist suspect, on Twitter. Along with the photo, he published a message stating that Ms Jiyan Tosun was responsible for the attack, which killed six people and wounded 81. Even though the post was removed within three minutes, Ms Tosun and her family have been receiving offline and online threats, including death, rape and sexual violence threats, since then. On the same day, unknown individuals who identified themselves as police officers posted photos and personal information about Ms Tosun and her relatives, including minors, on a Telegram channel.

Consequently, due to her work as a lawyer in the same office as Jiyan Tosun and her position as co-chair of İHD, Eren Keskin has also been targeted and threatened as a result of the false information posted by Mr Taşkaya.

On November 14, 2022, after spending the previous night in a police station in Istanbul as a protective measure, Ms Tosun filed a criminal complaint against Mr Adem Taşkaya before the Küçükçekmece Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. Ms Tosun also requested to be put under a protection scheme.










https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/tr/case/death-threats-against-woman-human-rights-defender-and-lawyer-jiyan-tosun (TURKCE)


https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/fr/case/death-threats-against-woman-human-rights-defender-and-lawyer-jiyan-tosun (FRANCAIS)


Click to access EN_HRL_20221124_Turkey_Sentencing-of-lawyers-from-the-Progressive-Lawyers-Association-HD-and-the-People-s-Law-Office-HHB.pdf

Click to access EN_HRL_20221115_Turkey_Arrest-of-lawyer-Aryen-Turan.pdf

Sudan: Lawyers demonstrate against detention of lawyer Wagdi Salih in Khartoum










https://www.alrakoba.net/31766130/%D9%88%D8%AC%D8%AF%D9%8A-%D8%B5%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD-%D9%8A%D8%B3%D8%AA%D8%AC%D9%8A%D8%A8-%D9%84%D8%A5%D8%B9%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%86-%D9%85%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%86%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%A8%D8%A9-%D8%A8%D8%AA%D8%B3/ (ARABIC)

https://www.zonebourse.com/actualite-bourse/La-coalition-civile-du-Soudan-presente-une-vision-pour-la-sortie-des-militaires-de-la-politique–42024303/ (FRANCAIS)



https://nl.marketscreener.com/beursnieuws/laatste/Soedanese-burgercoalitie-presenteert-visie-op-militaire-terugtrekking-uit-de-politiek–42024303/ (NEDERLANDS)

Azerbaijan: Statement by Rights Lawyer Elchin Sadigov


[N.B. Elchin Sadigov has requested that Bar associations, law societies, human rights groups and NGOs write the President of Azerbaijan in support of his case. Please write:

Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, The Presidential Palace, 19 Istiqlaliyyat street, Republic of Azerbaijan, Baku, AZ1066, Azerbaijan. Fax: (+99412) 492 35 43, (+99412) 492 06 25 E-mail: office@pa.gov.az ]

I state that I have been defending human rights in Azerbaijan since 2002. Furthermore, I have become a member of the Bar Association of the Republic of Azerbaijan since 2007 and have never ceased my activity in defending human rights. I have defended the rights of political prisoners, journalists, media, political figures, activists, and LGBTQ+ persons. I successfully defended those cases in local courts and the European Court of Human Rights. Based on my applications, ECtHR has found a violation of Articles 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, and 18 of the Convention. My steadfast defense of political cases and being successful before ECtHR irritated the Government of Azerbaijan. Therefore, the Government has constantly been persecuting me.

These prosecutions were mainly carried out by the Bar Association of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the State Security Service. The Bar Association has repeatedly initiated disciplinary proceedings against me for political reasons and punished me.

Even in 2016, there was an attempt to kill me after I was threatened at the Main Organized Crime Department (MOCD) under the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Because at that time, I was defending the rights of Bayram Mammadov and Giyas Ibrahimov, who wrote the graffiti on the statue of Heydar Aliyev, the father of the current president Ilham Aliyev. They were both tortured in the MOCD, and I have made it public. Moreover, at that time, I made public the torture issue of Fikret Faramezoglu, a journalist, who had been kept in the MOCD. I was preparing their applications for the ECtHR.