Tag Archives: FIDH

Belarus: Controls on lawyers endangering human rights

June 29, 2018

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, an FIDH-OMCT partnership, in collaboration with the Paris Bar and Human Rights Centre “Viasna”, today released a report documenting restrictions on the independence of lawyers in Belarus. Based on an investigation conducted in January 2018, the report criticises the executive power’s stranglehold on the capacity of lawyers defending cases which the authorities consider to be ‘sensitive’ to practise their profession.


In Belarus, lawyers defending cases considered by the authorities to be ‘troublesome’ are generally exposed to retaliatory measures which can culminate in their expulsion, against a background of changes to the legal framework that have gradually placed Belarusian bars, and lawyers themselves, under the direct authority of the Ministry of Justice. Such retaliatory measures are often initiated following repression by the authorities of large-scale protests, as in 2010 and 2017.

In the course of the past few years, the bars have been stripped of their primary function, which is to guarantee independence and ensure the regulation of the profession. Access to the profession and its organisation now fall under the almost exclusive competence of civil servants in the Ministry of Justice.




https://www.fidh.org/fr/themes/defenseurs-des-droits-humains/belarus-le-controle-des-avocats-met-en-peril-les-droits-humains (FRANCAIS)


Iran: Immediate Release of Human Rights Lawyer Demanded by Amnesty International

June 15, 2018

Nasrin Sotoudeh

On June 13, in her home in Tehran, human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh was arrested. According to her husband, Reza Khandan, she was then transferred to the prosecutor’s office of Evin prison.

Sotoudeh was told she was being arrested to serve a five-year prison sentence, said Khandan, but neither he nor his wife knew anything about this sentence.

The same day, Amnesty International issued a statement calling for Iranian authorities to immediately release Nasrin Sotoudeh. The statement said, “We call on the Iranian authorities to release Nasrin Sotoudeh immediately and unconditionally.

Any action short of this must be unreservedly condemned by the international community.”

The statement also claims, “In recent weeks, Nasrin Sotoudeh has spoken out against the application of a Note to Article 48 of Iran’s 2015 Code of Criminal Procedure. The Note to Article 48 denies individuals facing some offenses, including those related to national security, the right to access an independent lawyer of their own choosing during the investigation of their charges. Instead, individuals can only select from a roster of pre-approved lawyers chosen by the Head of the Judiciary.

The Head of the Judiciary issued a list with only 20 people pre-approved for Tehran province.”

Philip Luther, Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program, stated, “Permitting only lawyers who are pre-approved to defend individuals accused of ‘security’ offences – who often include human rights defenders – completely undermines the right of detainees to a lawyer of their own choosing.”

Nasrin Sotoudeh recently represented Narges Hosseini, who was prosecuted for peacefully protesting against compulsory veiling in Iran earlier this year. Since the December / January protests this year, dozens of women have been violently attacked and arrested for peacefully protesting against compulsory veiling.








Iranian human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, arrested – again




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%A7%DB%8C%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%B2%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%B4%D8%AA-%D8%AE%D9%88%D8%AF%D8%B3%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%87%E2%80%8C%DB%8C-%D9%86%D8%B3%D8%B1%DB%8C%D9%86-%D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%88%D8%AF%D9%87 (FARSI)

https://ir.voanews.com/a/iran-human-rights-justice/4441832.html (FARSI)

http://fa.euronews.com/2018/06/17/reza-khandan-husband-of-nasrin-sotoudeh-iranian-human-rights-defender-arrested-evin-tehran (FARSI)

http://www.idhae.org/OBSAV-fr-wewsira181306.htm (FRANCAIS)

http://www.lefigaro.fr/flash-actu/2018/06/16/97001-20180616FILWWW00111-iran-l-arrestation-de-nasrin-sotoudeh-defenseure-des-droits-humaine-jugee-scandaleuse.php (FRANCAIS)

https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/160618/l-avocate-iranienne-nasrin-sotoudeh-arretee-pour-soutien-la-cause-des-femmes (FRANCAIS)

https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1121095/washington-appelle-a-la-liberation-de-lavocate-iranienne-nasrin-sotoudeh.html (FRANCAIS)

http://www.madmoizelle.com/avocate-iranienne-arretee-931835 (FRANCAIS)

https://www.islampos.com/fifa-izinkan-spanduk-dukungan-untuk-wanita-iran-di-stadion-di-piala-dunia-91806/ (ITALIANO)




Tunisia: Harcèlement judiciaire continu et actes d’intimidation à l’encontre de Me Najet Laabidi

le 8 juin, 2018


Nouvelles informations

TUN 001 / 0517 / OBS 052.1

Harcèlement judiciaire /

Actes d’intimidation

Description de la situation :

L’Observatoire a été informé par des sources fiables du harcèlement judiciaire continu et des actes d’intimidation à l’encontre de Me Najet Laabidi, avocate spécialisée dans la défense des droits humains et qui a notamment représenté plusieurs victimes de torture devant le Tribunal militaire de Tunis dans le cadre de l’affaire dite de Barraket Essahel[1].

Selon les informations reçues, le 7 mars 2018, Me Najet Laabidi a été victime d’actes d’intimidation et d’agressions verbales de la part des agents de la garde nationale au poste de police de Ben Arous. Elle s’était rendue à Ben Arous pour assister un témoin dans le cadre d’un dossier relatif à un cas de violence contre des enfants autistes dans un centre privé de prise en charge et d’éducation spécialisée à Tunis, dans lequel une des inculpés est une femme connue pour être proche du pouvoir politique tunisien. Les agents de la garde nationale ont alors encerclé Me Najet Laabidi et le témoin, ont fermé la porte du poste de police et les ont menacés verbalement alors qu’ils tenaient une arme à feu à la main.

À la suite de ces événements, Me Najet Laabidi a déposé plainte contre les agents de la garde nationale de Ben Arous, mais aucune action n’a été entreprise par les autorités à cet égard. Cependant, le 8 mars 2018, une plainte pour diffamation a été déposée à l’encontre de Me Najet Laabidi par les agents de la garde nationale de Ben Arous, à la suite de laquelle Me Najet Laabidi a été immédiatement convoquée par le procureur de la Cour d’appel de Tunis.

L’Observatoire pour la protection des défenseurs des droits humains, un partenariat de l’Organisationmondiale contre la torture (OMCT) et de la FIDH, a reçu de nouvelles informations et vous prie d’intervenir de toute urgence sur la situation suivante en Tunisie.



Cameroon/LRWC: Immediately End Judicial Harassment and Guarantee Protection of Jan Capelle, Elvis Brown and other OFFGO members | Letter

April 26, 2018

In Cameroon, Jan Cappelle, founder of OFFGO, an organization opposing land grabbing and promoting perservationi of farm land and gorilla habitat, and OFFGO’s lawyer Elvis Brown face death threats for pursuing a complaint with the National Commission On Human Rights and Freedoms. State authorities have subjected Jan Chapelle and other OFFGO members to detention, interrogation and threatened prosecution for their peaceful advocacy. LRWC calls on Cameroon to protect the lives of Chapelle and Brown, to prevent future and punish past death threats, and stop the harassment.

Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC) is a committee of lawyers and other human rights defenders who promote international human rights, the rule of law, and the integrity of legal systems through advocacy, education and legal research. LRWC is a volunteer-run NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

LRWC is concerned by reports of death threats against Mr. Jan Cappelle, founder of OFFGO and lawyer Elvis Brown and persistent judicial harassment of OFFGO members. LRWC repeats calls by the Observatory for remedial action and also requests immediate action by the Government of Cameroon to protect the lives of Jan Cappelle and Elvis Brown and their families and to prevent and punish the death threats made against them.

Reports of death threats and judicial harassment

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 has also requested your urgent intervention in the following situation in Cameroon.

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the ongoing judicial harassment and death threats targeting several members of the OFFGO, a group of farmers founded in September 2015 to promote organic farming and environmental protection, and to oppose land grabbing and work for the protection of the cross-river gorilla in Mbengwi, in the North-West Region of Cameroon.

According to the information received, on April 13, 2018, a man who allegedly worked with billionaire businessman Mr. Baba Ahmadou Danpullo called and threatened to kill OFFGO’s lawyer Mr. Elvis Brown and his family if they did not “drop the file”, referring to OFFGO’s complaints before the National Commission on Human Rights and Freedoms (NCHRF). The caller knew details of the presence of Mr. Brown and his family in Bamenda, including related to their home and the children’s school. He also threatened to kill Mr. Jan Cappelle, founder of OFFGO.

A complaint was filed before the Police National Security Department in Mbengwi, who latter summoned the caller to present himself by April 18, 2018. The caller, who received the summons on April 16, 2018, did not present himself.

On April 18, 2018, the same person called Mr. Elvis Brown again and told him to “prepare very well”. On April 19, 2018, Mr. Elvis Brown received another text message reading “watch and see how I make your team suffer”, “you should be sorry for your friends back here. I am merciless”, “I am heartless I have no feelings” and “I will teach your team a bitter lesson. You will all suffer for destabilising Cameroon”.




Niger: Arrestations de l’avocat Lirwana Abdourahmane et d’autres défenseurs des droits de l’homme

le 23 avril, 2018

Image result for CCBEhrd_lirwana_abdourahmane.jpg

Je vous écris au nom du Conseil des barreaux européens (CCBE). Le CCBE représente les barreaux de 45 pays, soit plus d’un million d’avocats européens. Le CCBE accorde beaucoup d’importance au respect des droits de l’homme et à l’État de droit. Il est particulièrement inquiet au sujet de la situation des défenseurs des droits de l’homme dans le monde entier.
Le CCBE souhaite exprimer sa préoccupation concernant la situation de l’avocat Lirwana
Abdourahmane qui a été arrêté le mois dernier, avec d’autres défenseurs des droits de l’homme (Ali Idrissa, Moussa Tchangari et Nouhou Arzika).
D’après les informations que nous avons reçues, ils ont été arrêtés le 27 mars dernier par les forces de sécurité à Niamey, au Niger, suite à une manifestation organisée le 23 mars pour exiger l’abrogation de la loi des finances pour 2018. Aucun mandat d’arrêt n’a été présenté au moment de leur arrestation. Ils ont été accusés d’« avoir organisé et participé à une manifestation interdite » et de « complicité dans la destruction de biens » et sont actuellement en attente de jugement.
Nous comprenons que ce n’est pas la première fois que ces personnes subissent des pressions en raison de leurs activités de défense des droits de l’homme au Niger, en particulier leurs activités visant à dénoncer les violations commises dans le cadre de la lutte contre le terrorisme.







Egypt: Arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Ms. Mahienour El Massry

December 22, 2017


EGY 006 / 1217 / OBS 120

Arbitrary detention /

Judicial harassment

December 22, 2017

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

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Ms. Mahienour El Massry, human rights lawyer known for her activism in favour of judicial independence and prisoners’ rights by organising peaceful protests, support activities for political prisoners and using social media to denounce human rights violations.

According to the information received, on November 18, 2017, the Misdemeanor Montaza Court in Alexandria ordered the detention of Ms. Mahienour El-Massry pending trial, in relation to the protests against the Tiran and Sanafeer land agreement in June 2017[1], which has resulted in the arrest of 60 activists throughout the country[2]. She is accused of “participating in an unauthorized protest”, “insulting the President” and thuggery. The next hearing is scheduled on December 30, 2017.

On December 16, 2017, Ms. Mahienour El-Massry’s family went to visit her in Qanater El Khayereya Women’s Prison in Cairo. There, they were told that she had been deported to Damanhour prison, which is closer to Alexandria.

Thus, on December 17, 2017, Ms. Mahienour El-Massry’s family went to Damanhour prison to visit her. They reported that Ms. Mahienour El-Massry had been in a put in a “waiting room” since her transfer. The waiting room was reportedly overcrowded and Ms. Mahienour El-Massry was prevented from eating, drinking or using the toilet. In addition, as the decision to transfer her to Damanhour prison was very sudden, Ms. Mahienour El-Massry was unable to pack all her needs when she left Qanater prison.

The Observatory recalls that Egyptian authorities have a long history of harassing and detaining Ms. Mahienour El-Massry. Already, in January 2014, she was sentenced to 2 years in jail for exercising her right to peacefully protest against police violence. Her sentence was reduced in appeal to six months[3].






Urgent latest update on Mahienour’s situation in prison as of 21 December
عن وضع ماهينور في سجن دمنهور بحسب زيارة عائلتها بالأمس 21 ديسمبر

Mahienour’s family has visited her again after she was moved to Damanhour prison. Her sister updated us on the situation, which is still alarming. Visitors have to walk for long distances inside the prison, carrying all the subsistence, which is usually huge because prisoners’ rely largely on this subsistence. Then, visitors and subsistence are searched, such that all food packages, and even fruits are opened/peeled and literally thrown on top of each other in one large pack.

As for Mahienour herself, she is in a very over crowded cell with 31 women, each of them gets a space of around 50 cm width to sleep in. They ended up dividing sleeping hours among them, so Mahienour manages to sleep for only two hours a day. Letters are allowed through the family after they are read by the officers.

Follow the solidarity campaign for 4 Egyptian activists facing trial by the end of 2017, including renowned award-winning human rights lawyer Mahienour El Massry, via the hashtag #30DecemberTrials

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الحرية لماهينور -Free Mahienour  Facebook)

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China/Turkey/Azerbaijan/Russia etc: Joint Civil Society Petition to the International Association of Prosecutors

September 5, 2017

OMCT LogoOMCT logo

Dear members of the IAP Executive Committee and the Senate,

dear members of the IAP,

In the run-up to the annual conference and general meeting of the International Association of Prosecutors (IAP) in Beijing, China, the undersigned civil society organisations urge the IAP to live up to its vision and bolster its efforts to preserve the integrity of the profession.

Increasingly, in many regions of the world, in clear breach of professional integrity and fair trial standards, public prosecutors use their powers to suppress critical voices.

In China, over the last two years, dozens of prominent lawyers, labour rights advocates and activists have been targeted by the prosecution service[1]. Many remain behind bars, convicted or in prolonged detention for legal and peaceful activities protected by international human rights standards, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Azerbaijan is in the midst of a major crackdown on civil rights defenders, bloggers and journalists, imposing hefty sentences on fabricated charges in trials that make a mockery of justice[2]. In Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkey many prosecutors play an active role in the repression of human rights defenders, and in committing, covering up or condoning other grave human rights abuses[3].

Patterns of abusive practices by prosecutors in these and other countries ought to be of grave concern to the professional associations they belong to, such as the IAP. Upholding the rule of law and human rights is a key aspect of the profession of a prosecutor, as is certified by the IAP’s Standards of Professional Responsibility and Statement of the Essential Duties and Rights of Prosecutors, that explicitly refer to the importance of observing and protecting the right to a fair trial and other human rights at all stages of work[4].