Tag Archives: FIDH

India: New acts of harassment against Ms. Indira Jaising, Mr. Anand Grover and the Lawyers Collective

OMCT LogoOMCT logo

 IND 004 / 0519 / OBS 043

Harassment

India
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.

Background information:

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.

http://www.omct.org/human-rights-defenders/urgent-interventions/india/2019/05/d25351/

https://www.fidh.org/en/issues/human-rights-defenders/india-harassment-against-ms-indira-jaising-mr-anand-grover-and

https://www.news18.com/news/india/indira-jaising-anand-grover-allege-victimisation-after-sc-notice-to-their-ngo-2133921.html

https://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/senior-lawyers-indira-jaising-anand-grover-claim-victimisation-over-sc-notice-119050801310_1.html

NGO v. NGO: Supreme Court issues notice in PIL seeking action against Lawyers Collective, Indira Jaising, Anand Grover

https://thewire.in/rights/fcra-sc-indira-jaising-anand-grover-cji-gogoi

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ngo-run-by-indira-jaising-gets-supreme-court-notice/article27072901.ece

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/indira-jaising-alleges-victimisation-after-supreme-court-notice-to-her-ngo-2034973

Indira Jaising

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

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

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

Iran: Ongoing judicial harassment against human rights lawyers Mr. Amir Salar Davoodi and Mr. Mohammad Najafi

URGENT APPEAL – THE OBSERVATORY

New information

IRN 004 / 0918 / OBS 115.3

Arbitrary detention/
Judicial harassment/
Indictment

Iran
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[1]” (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 Sotoudeh[2]and Messrs. Arash Kaykhosraviand Ghasem Sholeh-Saadi[3], 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 AmericaRadio Farda, and BBC Persian Service. Under the provisions of Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code[4], 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[5]. Others were arrested and released on bail and are still awaiting the outcome of their case.

http://www.omct.org/human-rights-defenders/urgent-interventions/iran/2019/04/d25318/

https://www.fidh.org/en/issues/human-rights-defenders/iran-ongoing-judicial-harassment-against-human-rights-lawyers-mr-amir

Amir Salar Davoodi

https://www.rferl.org/a/iconic-iranian-antihijab-protester-jailed-for-year/29879887.html

https://www.radiofarda.com/a/29880276.html (FARSI)

https://persian.iranhumanrights.org/1398/01/amirsalar-davoudi-charges-to-collaborate-with-hostile-states-through-an-interview-with-a-television-network/?fbclid=IwAR12d-ACvQoTAsKKhC-pYvhB98tCFsS0P9RrVizL3JlHKED_j814bGeK8-M (FARSI)

https://www.protect-lawyers.com/fr/avocat/amir-salar-davoodi/ (FRANCAIS)

https://www.protect-lawyers.com/fr/avocat/mohammad-najafi/ (FRANCAIS)

https://www.lagazzettadilucca.it/cultura-e-spettacolo/2019/04/nasrin-sotoudeh-il-filo-rosso-degli-avvocati-passa-anche-da-lucca/ (ITALIANO)

Colombia/UK: International lawyers observe “12 Apostles” trial of Santiago Uribe Vélez

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.

https://preview.mailerlite.com/b1t2k6/1131637732708192920/z6w9/

https://www.abcolombia.org.uk/case-los-doce-apostoles-human-rights-lawyer-at-risk/

https://peacebrigades.org.uk/daniel-prado-colombia

https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/law-society-expresses-grave-concerns-regarding-human-rights-violations-against-members-of-legal-profession-886341166.html

http://www.colombiancaravana.org.uk/trial-observation-12-apostles-case-press-release-nota-de-prensa/

http://www.advocates.org.uk/news-and-responses/news/2018/dec/faculty-observer-at-twelve-apostles-trial-in-colombia

http://www.lawyersatrisk.org/

https://www.fidh.org/es/temas/defensores-de-derechos-humanos/colombia-campana-de-ataques-intimidacion-y-amenazas-en-contra-del-sr (ESPANOL)

https://www.la-croix.com/Monde/Ameriques/Daniel-Prado-justice-paix-2018-12-05-1200987560 (FRANCAIS)

https://www.newswire.ca/fr/news-releases/le-barreau-tres-preoccupe-par-les-violations-des-droits-de-la-personne-a-l-encontre-de-membres-de-la-profession-juridique-845161362.html (FRANCAIS)

Zimbabwe: Acts of intimidation against Mr. Okay Machisa, Ms. Beatrice Mtetwa and Pastor Evan Magwarire | Letter

February 1, 2019

Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), a committee of lawyers and other human rights defenders, that promotes compliance with international human rights, the integrity of legal systems and the rule of law through advocacy, legal research and education. LRWC has Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

LRWC objects to Zimbabwe’s failure to respect and protect its citizens’ rights as exemplified by the increasing number of citizens who have been arrested and are facing prosecution for participating in peaceful protests. Also of concern are the numbers of lawyers and human rights defenders who have been threatened, arbitrarily detained and arrested in apparent retaliation for exercising their constitutional rights.

The right to freedom of assembly is a fundamental human right and is guaranteed in section 58 of Zimbabwe’s constitution. Furthermore, section 67 guarantees every citizen the right to political participation to engage in peaceful activities to influence, challenge or support the policies of the government. LRWC encourages you to respect these same rights as a signatory to the African Charter of Human and People’s Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Recent incidents include the acts of intimidation against Mr. Okay Machisa, National Executive Director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) along with his family, and many other ZimRights lawyers. Also of concern is the recent arbitrary arrest and detention of Pastor Evan Magwarire on 16 January 2019, who is facing charges of “subverting a constitutional government” and is scheduled for a bail hearing on 29 January 2019. LRWC is also gravely concerned by the recently revealed attempted deportation of Beatrice Mtetwa, a prominent human rights lawyer, to her country of birth Swaziland during the 2013 harmonized election campaign, reports of rapes of women by Zimbawean security forces, the arrests and arbitrary detention of many Zimbabwe citizens and children as young as eleven years old, and the surveillance and intimidation of human rights defenders both within and outside Zimbabwe on their alleged involvement in the protest.

https://www.lrwc.org/zimbabwe-acts-of-intimidation-against-mr-okay-machisa-ms-beatrice-mtetwa-and-pastor-evan-magwarire-letter/

https://www.fidh.org/en/issues/human-rights-defenders/zimbabwe-intimidation-of-okay-machisa-and-other-members-of-zimrights

https://bulawayo24.com/index-id-news-sc-national-byo-153364.html

http://www.omct.org/human-rights-defenders/urgent-interventions/zimbabwe/2019/02/d25225/

https://citizen.co.za/news/news-africa/2074878/us-lawyers-concerned-over-zim-legal-system/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/africa/lawyers-march-in-zimbabwe-capital-alleging-denial-of-justice/2019/01/29/68d33b7c-23cb-11e9-b5b4-1d18dfb7b084_story.html?utm_term=.3943eccafbda

https://mg.co.za/article/2019-01-23-systematic-torture-killings-abductions-assaults-zim-rights-commission-speaks-out

https://www.newsday.co.zw/2019/02/un-condemns-zim-rights-abuses/

http://www.ludovictrarieux.org/uk-index.htm

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

https://www.voaafrique.com/a/les-avocats-du-zimbabwe-reclament-justice-pour-les-manifestants-emprisonn%C3%A9s/4763583.html (FRANCAIS)

https://www.fidh.org/fr/regions/afrique/zimbabwe/zimbabwe-la-repression-des-manifestations-pacifiques-doit-cesser-les (FRANCAIS)

http://www.ludovictrarieux.org/ (FRANCAIS)

Iran: Iranian Lawyers Demand Release Of Jailed Colleagues

January 25, 2019

Five Iranian lawyers who are under judicial pressure in Iran; (LTR) Mohammad Najafi, Arash Keykhosravi, Amirsalar Davoudi, Ghasem Sholeh Sadi, and Nasrin Sotoodeh.

(Five Iranian lawyers who are under judicial pressure in Iran; (LTR) Mohammad Najafi, Arash Keykhosravi, Amirsalar Davoudi, Ghasem Sholeh Sadi, and Nasrin Sotoodeh.)

In an open letter addressed to the head of Islamic Republic’s judiciary, dozens of prominent Iranian attorneys have called for the immediate release of their colleagues, jailed on trumped up charges related to their defense of civil rights.

Referring to the pressures imposed on lawyers by the judicial and intelligence authorities, 49 signatories to the letter have insisted, “Any sort of discrimination, restrictions, and threats against legal counsels is illegal and leads to partial, unfair, and unjust trials.”

While several Iranian lawyers are currently behind bars, many more of them are free on huge bails, lined up for their trials.

Meanwhile, the signatories to the letter have asserted that a note added to the Article 48 of the Islamic Penal code is a source of discrimination against most lawyers.

The note limits the job of defending suspects in primary legal stages of national security-related cases to only twenty vetted lawyers, endorsed by the head of Islamic Republic’s judiciary, Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani.

https://en.radiofarda.com/a/iranian-lawyers-demand-release-of-jailed-colleagues/29730100.html

https://middle-east-online.com/en/iran%E2%80%99s-hijab-protesters-not-cowed-crackdown

https://www.fidh.org/en/issues/human-rights-defenders/iran-sentencing-and-ongoing-arbitrary-detention-of-mr-farhad-mayssami

http://www.omct.org/human-rights-defenders/urgent-interventions/iran/2019/01/d25212/

https://www.newsghana.com.gh/iran-immediately-and-unconditionally-release-mr-farhad-mayssami/

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/features/2019/01/25/Activists-in-Iran-will-continue-protests-despite-crackdown.html

http://www.omct.org/human-rights-defenders/urgent-interventions/iran/2019/01/d25213/

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

https://www.fidh.org/fa/%D9%85%D9%88%D8%B6%D9%88%D8%B9%E2%80%8C%D9%87%D8%A7/%D9%85%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%81%D8%B9%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%AD%D9%82%D9%88%D9%82-%D8%A8%D8%B4%D8%B1/%D8%A8%D8%B1%DA%AF%D8%B1%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%AC%D8%AF%D9%8A%D8%AF-iran-sentencing-of-mr-reza-khandan?fbclid=IwAR1fWnHEUQGaSCQ3z2pPyKlfkMs-qklWQYFr5Fg9w_9wDMBhbq-7E4l7KqM (FARSI)

http://resistancerepublicaine.eu/2019/01/26/jeannette-bougrab-les-musulmanes-persecutees-pour-leur-refus-du-voile-ninteressent-pas-les-feministes/ (FRANCAIS)

Image may contain: Reza Khandan, text

The Philippines: Crackdown Against Critics Intensifies

January 17, 2019

Activists hold a candle light vigil for victims of the extra judicial killings in the drug war of the government in front of a church in Manila on September 16, 2016

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration heightened its repression in 2018, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2019.

The government’s murderous “war on drugs” expanded to cities outside Manila. Attacks escalated against activists, journalists, and critics of the government. Donor governments should intensify pressure on Duterte to end targeted killings and to drop politically motivated criminal cases.

“President Duterte has used the killing of thousands of largely poor drug suspects as a tool to bolster his popularity,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “He’s also targeting anyone who might undermine that popularity, from outspoken senators to journalists documenting his abuses.”

In the 674-page World Report 2019, its 29thedition, Human Rights Watch reviewed human rights practices in more than 100 countries. In his introductory essay, Executive Director Kenneth Roth says that the populists spreading hatred and intolerance in many countries are spawning a resistance. New alliances of rights-respecting governments, often prompted and joined by civic groups and the public, are raising the cost of autocratic excess. Their successes illustrate the possibility of defending human rights – indeed, the responsibility to do so – even in darker times.

The government vilified activist groups, calling them communists, and terrorists. In March, the foreign affairs secretary accused human rights groups of being “unwitting tools” of drug syndicates. In November, gunmen killed a rights lawyer, Benjamin Ramos, in Negros Occidental. Ramos represented the families of victims of a recent massacre of peasants in the province. There were violent attacks against human rights activists, lawyers, journalists, environmentalists, indigenous group members, peasants, and farmers.

https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/01/17/philippines-crackdown-against-critics-intensifies

https://www.fidh.org/en/issues/human-rights-defenders/philippines-killing-of-human-rights-lawyer-benjamin-ramos

http://bulatlat.com/main/2018/12/30/resistance-unity-and-hope-a-look-back-at-the-year-2018/

https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2019/01/18/1886167/hrw-drug-war-attacks-vs-critics-deepened-rights-crisis-philippines

https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1074803/us-ngo-finds-ph-a-war-zone-in-disguise-hogwash-says-palace

https://www.hrw.org/fr/news/2019/01/17/rapport-mondial-2019-resistance-aux-attaques-des-autocrates-contre-les-droits (FRANCAIS)

Crimea/Russia/Ukraine: Russian Authorities Increase Pressure on Crimean Human Rights Lawyer

January 14, 2019

Justice Ministry Calls for Emil Kurbedinov’s Expulsion from Bar Association

 

Few human rights lawyers are brave enough to work in Crimea these days. A recent letter from Russia’s Ministry of Justice to Crimean defense lawyer Emil Kurbedinov threatening his profession is yet another stark reminder that Russian authorities intend to keep it that way.

Last month, Kurbedinov was arrested on charges of “public distribution of extremist materials” and sentenced to five days in jail for a 2013 social media post about a meeting in Crimea of supporters of Hizb ut-Tahrir, an Islamist political movement opposed to violence. Hizb ut-Tahrir is banned in Russia as a terrorist organization but operates legally in Ukraine. Kurbedinov had previously spent ten days in jail in 2017 after the court sentenced him on the same charges and for the very same post, but made on a different social media site.

Shortly after his release on December 25, Russia’s Justice Ministry sent Kurbedinov and the Crimean Bar Association letters requesting that Kurbedinov be expelled from the bar association by March 1 because of alleged involvement in “extremist activities.”

https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/01/14/russian-authorities-increase-pressure-crimean-human-rights-lawyer

https://www.kyivpost.com/article/opinion/op-ed/halya-coynash-russia-launches-dangerous-attack-on-lawyers-in-crimea.html

https://www.kyivpost.com/ukraine-politics/112-ua-russia-search-houses-of-crimean-tatars-on-occupied-peninsula.html

https://www.rferl.org/a/russian-justice-ministry-calls-for-brave-crimean-lawyer-s-expulsion-from-bar-association/29708692.html

https://www.kyivpost.com/ukraine-politics/rfe-rl-russian-justice-ministry-calls-for-brave-crimean-lawyers-expulsion-from-bar-association.html

http://www.omct.org/human-rights-defenders/urgent-interventions/russia/2019/01/d25201/

https://www.fidh.org/en/issues/human-rights-defenders/russia-imminent-disbarment-of-emil-kurbedinov?fbclid=IwAR0GtoVbcF0bzXljxjv5u3GLFPSAuicOsUTVZEmYC7AKNNNRixgf6wklCYs

https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/01/17/russia-bleak-year-human-rights

https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/01/17/ukraine-human-rights-backsliding-election-looms

https://lso.ca/news-events/news/latest-news-2019/law-society-expresses-grave-concerns-regarding-hum

http://old.qha.com.ua/tr/toplum/hak-savunuculardan-uluslararasi-topluma-kurbedinov-cagrisi/176069/ (TURKCE)