Tag Archives: Front Line Defenders

Imprisoned Iranian lawyer distinguished by European Bars

23/09/22

Amirsalar Davoudi, an imprisoned Iranian lawyer, is the winner this year of the Ludovic-Trarieux International Human Rights Prize, awarded this Friday, September 23 in Bordeaux, we learned from the organization.

The Warsaw Bar is named for its part “bar of the year» by this jury made up of representatives of around ten European bar associations and lawyers’ associations.

Amirsalar Davoudi, who has acted as a lawyer for many human rights defenders before Iranian courts, and hosted a Telegram group for Iranian lawyers, was arrested at the end of 2018 for, in particular, insulting the Supreme Leader and propaganda against the ‘State. He was sentenced to a total of thirty years in prison and 111 lashes.

Released last June for irregularities, he was reincarcerated thirteen days later to serve a ten-year sentence in Evin prison in Tehran, where he is still. In 2018, the Ludovic-Trarieux prize had already gone to an Iranian lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh.

“Judicial Harassment”

By once again awarding the prize to an Iranian lawyer, hit by real judicial harassment and imprisoned for several years, the jury wanted to underline that the forces of democracy and human rights defenders were falling asleep in the face of the ever-renewed threat from Iran, and the fate reserved for its lawyers“, told AFP Me Bertrand Favreau, creator of the prize and president of the jury.

Amirsalar Davoudi is singled out as at least 17 people have been killed in recent days in Iran in protests sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, arrested on September 13 in Tehran for “wearing inappropriate clothingby the morality police, responsible for enforcing the dress code of the Islamic Republic. The jury also awarded the prize for the bar of the year to that of Warsaw “for his defense of the independence of magistrates while the Polish government puts them under the yoke“.

[…]

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/fr/profile/amirsalar-davoudi

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

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

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

https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1312507/un-avocat-iranien-emprisonne-distingue-par-les-barreaux-europeens.html (FRANCAIS)

https://www.lefigaro.fr/flash-actu/droits-humains-un-avocat-iranien-emprisonne-distingue-par-les-barreaux-europeens-20220923

https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/fil-dactualites/230922/droits-humains-un-avocat-iranien-emprisonne-prime-par-ses-pairs-europeens

https://www.sudouest.fr/societe/iran-un-avocat-emprisonne-distingue-par-un-prix-international-pour-les-droits-de-l-homme-12372697.php

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prix_Ludovic-Trarieux

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

https://www.hra-news.org/2022/hranews/a-36088/ (FARSI)

Bangladeshi rights lawyer Shahanur Islam received repeated death threats

19/09/22

Shahanur Islam, a prominent human rights lawyer and gay rights campaigner in Bangladesh received repeated death threats SMS over his mobile phone.

Shahanur told to Soja Kotha that recently on 25th August and 6th September 2022, he received separate two death threats messages along with his wife and kid over his mobile phone.

He added, on 25th October 2022 around at 10:17 pm BST, Mr. Islam received threats message in English language over his phone from an unidentified number. The message states that if you don’t stop fighting aims to establishment of homo sexual rights in BD, immediately you will be killed along with your family members brutally.

Later on 8th September 2022, he added that around at 1:07 pm BST that, he received another death threats SMS in Bengali over his mobile phone from an unidentified number. The threatening message states that do you have no fear of death? This county is only for Islam. 

[…]

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/profile/shahanur-islam

(BENGALI)

Noted Lawyer Charged Over His Stance On Russia’s Invasion Of Ukraine

15/09/22

The chairman of the Attorneys’ Chamber in Russia’s Udmurtia region, Dmitry Talantov, has been accused of committing five crimes and faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

Pervy Otdel (The First Unit), a group that unites lawyers and right defenders, wrote on Telegram on September 14 that Talantov has been charged with the distribution of fake materials inciting political hatred and discord, and two counts of inciting hatred and discord using an official position.

Talantov was arrested in the Udmurt capital, Izhevsk, and sent to pretrial detention in Moscow in late June after he criticized the Russian government and military forces over a deadly strike on a shopping mall in the Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk.

He was initially charged with distributing false information about the Russian armed forces.

Earlier in April, Talantov, who has openly condemned Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, also harshly criticized Russia’s military for killing civilians in the Ukrainian towns and cities of Irpin, Bucha, and Mariupol.

Talantov was the lawyer for Ivan Safronov, a prominent former Russian journalist who was sentenced to 22 years in prison last week on a treason charge widely considered to be politically motivated.

https://www.rferl.org/a/russia-lawyer-talantov-charged-ukraine-war/32035181.html

https://www.ibanet.org/IBA-condemns-detention-of-Russian-lawyer-who-spoke-out-against-Russias-invasion-of-Ukraine

https://en.mir.legal/

https://www.uianet.org/en/actions/uia-irol-expresses-deep-concern-and-calls-immediate-release-russian-lawyer-dmitry-talantov

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/fr/profile/dmitry-talantov

https://www.hrw.org/video-photos/interactive/2022/08/22/what-can-get-you-trouble-anti-war-speech-russia

https://gchumanrights.org/news-events/latest-news/news-detail-page/interview-with-russian-human-rights-lawyer-marina-agaltsova.html

https://www.amnestyusa.org/urgent-actions/urgent-action-crimean-human-rights-lawyers-disbarred-russian-federation-ukraine-ua-75-22/

https://ukr-rol.lexisnexis.com/

https://desk-russie.eu/2022/08/17/fausse-informations.html (FRANCAIS)

Verdict delayed as ailing Chinese rights lawyer refuses to ‘confess’, plead guilty

08/09/22

Li Yuhan is thought to have been targeted for defending prominent rights lawyer Wang Yu during a 2015 crackdown.

Since Chinese human rights lawyer Li Yuhan stood trial in the northeastern Chinese province of Liaoning in October 2021 for “fraud” and “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble,” a charge often used to target peaceful critics of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP), there has been scant news of her fate.

There were concerns over Li’s worsening health at the time of Li’s trial at the Heping District People’s Court in Shenyang, provincial capital of Liaoning, while diplomats were denied permission to attend the trial.

But since the trial concluded, nearly a year has passed with no verdict or sentence being made public, her lawyer told RFA in a recent interview.

“They haven’t issued a verdict,” the lawyer said. “Her family and I have contacted the presiding judge many times, and the response we got is ‘we have to wait for the higher-ups [to decide]’.”

“They didn’t give a clear opinion, so they clearly didn’t dare to convict, so they have just kept on dragging their feet,” he said, adding that he has no reason to disbelieve this explanation.

“I don’t think the judge lied … because they will always want to close a case as soon as possible,” he said.

Li is widely believed to have been targeted for her defense of prominent rights lawyer Wang Yu, who was among the first people to be detained in a nationwide operation targeting rights lawyers and activists in July 2015.

Wang said the delay is likely because the authorities are trying to elicit a “confession” from Li.

“The reason why she can’t be sentenced is that the public prosecutor is still trying to force her to confess, and plead guilty,” Wang told RFA.

[…]

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/li-yuhan-09082022102635.html

https://ipkmedia.com/159748/

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/woman-human-rights-defender-and-lawyer-li-yuhans-health-deteriorates-under-prolonged-detention

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/lawyer-trial-10202021132238.html

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/world/article-house-arrest-xi-jingping-china/

India: Rights lawyer Teesta Setalvad gets bail in 2002 Gujarat riots case

02/09/22

India’s Supreme Court has granted bail to one of the country’s best-known rights lawyers.

Teesta Setalvad has long fought for the victims of the deadly 2002 riots in the western state of Gujarat and accuses Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was then the state’s chief minister, of complicity.

She was arrested in June on charges of “forgery and fabricating evidence” in a riots case.

Her arrest was widely condemned by global rights groups.

It also sparked protests with critics accusing Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government of targeting Setalvad for her work.

Since 2003, Setalvad has been accused in at least seven cases — allegations range from violating India’s foreign exchange rules and embezzling funds raised from riot victims to coaching witnesses in the trials.

But investigators were never able to charge her and the courts refused police requests for her custody to question her about five times.

The 2002 riots in Gujarat were among India’s worst outbreaks of violence in decades.

Nearly 2,000 people — mostly Muslims — died in the riots which began after 60 Hindu pilgrims died in a train fire, which was blamed on Muslims, in the town of Godhra.

The state’s BJP government and Modi were accused of not doing enough to bring the violence under control — an allegation he has consistently denied.

In June, the Supreme Court cleared him of complicity after ruling that there was no evidence against him.

Two days later, police arrested Setalvad after registering a fresh case of forgery and criminal conspiracy against her.

Setalvad, who denies the allegations against her, approached the Supreme Court for bail after her plea was rejected by a trial court and the Gujarat High Court deferred the matter for a longer period.

[…]

https://saudigazette.com.sa/article/624540/World/Asia/Human-rights-lawyer-Teesta-Setalvad-gets-bail-in-2002-Gujarat-riots-case

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-62722597

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/9/2/indian-activist-teesta-setalvad-gets-bail-in-2002-gujarat-riots-case

https://www.livelaw.in/top-stories/supreme-court-grants-interim-bail-to-teesta-setalvad-in-gujarat-police-fir-gujarat-riots-case-208231

https://www.startribune.com/indias-top-court-grants-bail-to-activist-in-2002-riots-case/600203285/

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/profile/teesta-setalvad

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

Joint statement on Civil society call to end enforced disappearances in China

30/08/22

On the International Day of the Disappeared, Lawyers for Lawyers co-signed a statement, with a large coalition of organisations, which expresses concerns about enforced disappearances in the People’s Republic of China. Amongst the disappeared are several lawyers from China.

Just over five years ago, on 13 August 2017, human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng vanished for the third time. Gao, praised as the ‘Conscience of China’, had long fought for the rights of those who dared to speak out, who belonged to religious minorities, who were evicted from their homes when their land was seized, or who protested against exploitation. For that, he was in and out of prison and separated from his family for nearly a decade. For more than five years, his wife and children have had no idea of his whereabouts, nor even if he is alive.

Gao Zhisheng’s case is severe, and yet represents only the tip of the iceberg: many other activists and lawyers face a similar fate, such as Tang Jitian, disappeared in 2021, tortured, and detained in a secret location. UN experts, including the Working Group on enforced disappearance, have sounded the alarm from as early as 2011 about the use of enforced disappearances against those taking part in China’s human rights movement. It is used to silence those promoting rights and freedoms, to enable acts of torture and ill-treatment without any oversight, and to send a chilling message to any person who may dare to criticize the government.

[…]

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/statement-report/civil-society-call-end-enforced-disappearances-china

https://www.ntd.com/wife-supporters-call-for-lawyers-release_825380.html

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/family-appointed-lawyer-huang-xueqin-dismissed

Afghanistan: One year after Taliban takeover, human rights defenders at greater risk than ever

12/08/22

One year since the Taliban captured power in Afghanistan, conditions for human rights defenders, especially women, have further deteriorated, the undersigned members of Protect Defenders.eu – said today. A year ago, when the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan, they promised to respect human rights – including the rights of women and girls and media freedom. However, over the past year, they have carried out serious human rights violations and abuses, and sought to suppress civil society, media freedom, and any form of dissent with complete impunity.

Since 15 August 2021, we have witnessed the steady erosion of human rights gains in Afghanistan and attacks, reprisals, and a failure of any effective protection for human rights defenders in the country. Women and girls, religious and ethnic minorities, those speaking out against violations and for the protection of the rights of the most vulnerable, have been deliberately targeted. This is a pattern of violence that has been met with insufficient action from the international community. Human rights defenders who continue to work for their communities have been effectively abandoned and left without adequate support, access to resources, protection, and pathways to safety.   

Human rights defenders have faced near-daily attacks and violent reprisals including arrest, torture, threats and killings since the Taliban takeover. Escalating violence in the provinces has forced a large number of defenders to leave their homes and relocate and/or resettle. Human rights defenders, in particular women human rights defenders have been facing multiple risks and threats by the Taliban, including: kidnapping; arbitrary arrest and imprisonment; torture; physical and psychological harm; house searches; death and physical threats; intimidation and harassment; and violence against their family members. Women human rights defenders have also faced systematic oppression and segregation from public life. They have been stripped of their rights to work, freedom of movement, access to education, and to participate in public affairs. For those seeking to leave Afghanistan due to severe risk, safe and dignified pathways out of the country remain extremely difficult and challenging.

There has also been serious curtailment of freedom of expression and assembly. These freedoms are no longer legally and institutionally protected, and any form of dissent is met with arbitrary arrests and detention and enforced disappearance. Enforced disappearances of women, and arbitrary arrest of journalists and civil society activists are tactics adopted by the Taliban to silence voices that speak out.

[…]

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/statement-report/joint-statement-afghanistan-one-year-after-taliban-takeover

https://www.fidh.org/en/region/asia/afghanistan/afghanistan-one-year-taliban-human-rights-defenders

https://edition.cnn.com/2022/08/14/world/afghanistan-women-judges-taliban-intl-cmd/index.html

https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/08/11/afghanistan-talibans-catastrophic-year-rule

https://civicus.org/index.php/media-resources/reports-publications/5957-afghanistan-the-taliban-s-assault-on-rights-a-year-on-from-its-takeover

https://www.ohchr.org/en/statements/2022/08/afghanistan-un-human-rights-experts-warn-bleak-future-without-massive-turnaround

https://www.eeas.europa.eu/eeas/eu-afghanistan-relations_en

https://thediplomat.com/2022/08/under-taliban-rule-afghanistan-will-never-have-an-inclusive-government/

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/aug/13/female-protesters-beaten-by-taliban-fighters-during-rare-kabul-rally-afghanistan

https://www.hrw.org/ps/news/2022/08/11/afghanistan-talibans-catastrophic-year-rule (PASHTO)

https://www.hrw.org/gbz/news/2022/08/11/afghanistan-talibans-catastrophic-year-rule (DARI)

https://www.lemondedudroit.fr/institutions/83102-observatoire-international-avocats-danger-oiad-lance-campagne-soutien-plaidoyer-barreau-independant-afghanistan.html (FRANCAIS)

https://www.hrw.org/es/news/2022/08/11/afghanistan-talibans-catastrophic-year-rule (ESPANOL)

Kyrgyzstan: Rights lawyer gets reprieve in high-profile case

12/08/22

The persecution of Kamil Ruziyev drew attention to the impunity enjoyed by law enforcement.

A human rights defender in Kyrgyzstan whose work exposed widespread police torture and official indifference to domestic violence has been acquitted in a case that hung over him for more than two years. 

On August 8 the state prosecutor asked a court in the city of Karakol to sentence lawyer Kamil Ruziyev to five years in jail on charges of forgery, but allow him to walk free under a government amnesty.

That the judge decided instead to acquit Ruziyev on August 12 is notable and likely a result of the local and international attention that had built around the case. Acquittals in Kyrgyzstan’s justice system are vanishingly rare. 

Ruziyev has been scrapping with law enforcement for much of his career. His laser-like attention to pretrial abuses of detainees earned him no shortage of enemies in the police and security forces.

One of his most aggressive opponents, a police investigator who has since left the force, even held a gun to his head during a heated argument inside a police headquarters.

Ruziyev filed a complaint over that incident but the investigator was not punished.  

In May 2020, representatives of the state national security committee arrested Ruziyev and held him in a cell without access to his lawyer for three days before putting him before a judge.

[…]

https://eurasianet.org/kyrgyzstan-rights-lawyer-gets-reprieve-in-high-profile-case

https://24.kg/english/242210_Ombudsperson_of_Kyrgyzstan_comments_on_case_against_Kamil_Ruziev/

https://www.rferl.org/a/kyrgyzstan-ruziev-rights-bogus-charge/31982103.html

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/human-rights-defender-kamil-ruziev-sentenced-house-arrest

Ukraine/Russia: Crimean lawyers associate deprivation of their status in Chechnya with persecution

05/08/22

The Department for Chechnya of the Ministry of Justice has succeeded in pressure on the local bar association to withdraw the status of three of its former members working in Crimea. The disqualified lawyers associated the decision with political persecution and plan to appeal against it, human rights defenders report.

The Chamber of Lawyers of Chechnya has deprived lawyers Lilya Gemedji, Rustem Kyamilev, and Nazim Sheikhmambetov of their professional status. As a result, the lawyers cannot participate in criminal cases and are not eligible to take an exam for re-acquisition of status within a year, the civil rights project “For Human Rights”* reported on its website on August 4.

The lawyers are already preparing complaints that they can send to a court and the Federal Chamber, Nazim Sheikhmambetov reports.

“It is unprecedented when three lawyers are simultaneously deprived of their status. Nothing of that kind has happened during eight years of advocacy activities, including of our colleagues in Crimea,” Nazim Sheikhmambetov noted. The lawyer associates the decision “with political persecution by the law enforcement bodies,” human rights defenders report.

*In February 2019, the Russian Ministry of Justice (MoJ) included the All-Russian public movement “For Human Rights” into the register of NCOs acting as a foreign agent. On November 1 of the same year, the movement “For Human Rights” was liquidated by the decision of the Supreme Court (SC) of Russia.

https://www.eng.kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/60939/

https://khpg.org/en/1608810989

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/statement-report/crimea-ukraine-crackdown-crimean-lawyers

https://www.fidh.org/en/issues/human-rights-defenders/ukraine-russia-administrative-harassment-of-four-human-rights-lawyers

https://fparf.ru/en/chambers/advokatskaya-palata-chechenskoy-respubliki/

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/fr/statement-report/crimea-ukraine-crackdown-crimean-lawyers (FRANCAIS)

Mexico: Letter concerning the continued judicial harassment of Juan Carlos Flores Solís and Ana Elizabeth Cabral Pacheco

01/08/22

In a letter, Lawyers for Lawyers expresses concern about the judicial harassment of Mexican lawyers Juan Carlos Flores Solís and Ana Elizabeth Cabral Pacheco.

Juan Carlos Flores Solís and Ana Elizabeth Cabral Pacheco are working as lawyers of the Comité en Defensa del Bosque el Nixticuil – Committee in Defence of the Nixticuil Forest. In this capacity, they have collaborated in the filing of, different judicial amparos, like judicial reviews, against the construction of a planned subdivision in the Nixticuil forest, in a zone adjacent to a protected natural area, located northwest of the metropolitan area of Guadalajara, in the municipality of Zapopán, Jalisco.

Members of the Committee in Defense of the Nixticuil Forest were informed of the existence of investigations against them by personnel from the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic. They did not receive any additional information regarding the persons included in the investigations and the reasons for the complaint.

An official letter, which was later issued by the Attorney General’s Office, made apparent that information was requested from the District Court in relation to the opening of the two investigation folders in relation to the amparo claim (FED/JAL/GDL0003860/ 2021 and FED/JAL/GDL/0001742/2022) against Mr. Flores Solís and Ms. Cabral Pacheco. The complaints were filed by a real estate company called JARHA, S.A. de C.V., one of the developers of the Miralto Residencial real estate project in the municipality of Zapopán, Jalisco. According to the information received, Mr. Floris Solis and Ms. Cabral Pacheco, were being accused of including false information regarding the address of the plaintiffs in the appeal.

It is concerning that both lawyers were not informed by the Mexican authorities about the complaint filed by the real estate company. They only became aware of the accusation against them by luck, after meeting one of their client’s members. Only through monitoring the judicial reviews both lawyers were able to learn more details.

[…]

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/break-and-death-threat-against-environmental-human-rights-defenders-juan-carlos-flores-solis-0

https://www.fidh.org/es/temas/defensores-de-derechos-humanos/mexico-allanamiento-ilegal-del-domicilio-de-juan-carlos-flores-solis (ESPANOL)

https://www.zonadocs.mx/2022/07/06/comite-en-defensa-del-bosque-el-nixticuil/

https://www.informador.mx/ideas/Criminalizacion-vs-defensores-en-Jalisco–20220712-0178.html