Tag Archives: Front Line Defenders

Letter to the Lawyers Council of Thailand on the disbarment proceedings against Arnon Nampha


In a joint letter, Lawyers for Lawyers again expressed concerns about the disbarment proceedings against lawyer and human rights defender Mr. Arnon Nampha.

Lawyers for Lawyers is concerned about the disbarment proceeding against Mr. Arnon Nampha, a lawyer and human rights defender, that is taking place before the Investigative Committee that was established by the Committee on Professional Ethics of the Lawyers Council of Thailand during the Meeting No. 1/2564 on 13 January 2021.

We were informed that the proceeding against lawyer Arnon Nampha is related to a complaint motion filed to the Lawyers Council of Thailand on 7 August 2020 by the Assistant Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, who alleged that lawyer Arnon Nampha’s behaviour violated the Lawyers Council of Thailand’s disciplinary rules as his behaviour would “incite, intend to cause unrest, distort information and insult on the monarchy”. The speech in question called for reform of the constitution and the monarchy, during a peaceful protest at the Democracy Monument on Ratchadamnoen Avenue on 3 August 2020.

According to our information, a first pre-hearing was postponed twice on 24 November 2021 and 3 March 2022, due to the fact that Mr. Nampha was held in detention pending trial. Therefore, the first pre-hearing was scheduled for 7 April 2022 where both parties appeared before the Investigative Committee to schedule witness examination dates. The Committee scheduled the complainer witness examinations on 2 and 20 June and the complained witness examination on 18 July, 1 and 22 August, and 5 September 2022. However, on 2 June, the complainer failed to attend the first hearing taken place at the LCT. The proceeding therefore was adjourned until 20 June. The next witness examination was scheduled on 11 January 2023 but has been rescheduled to July 2023. After the witness examinations are completed, the Committee will schedule the date to deliver the order.






eSwatini/Swaziland: Human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko shot dead


Human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko,the Chairperson of the MultiStakeholder Forum(MSF) has been shot dead.

The death of the prominent lawyer was confirmed by his wife Tanele Maseko on Saturday evening, he was gunned down at his home, Luyengo.

“It’s true,Thulani has been killed, bashaye waphola Nkhosi. Ubobuye ushaye kwanyalo kusenemaphoyisa,” said the wife to the late MSF Chairperson.

The death of the human rights lawyer comes a few hours after King Mswati warned those calling for democracy that his mercenaries would deal with them.

Eswatini is in the midst of a political unrest, Mswati has intensified the killing of political activists and human rights defenders.






Turkey: Criminal lawsuit launched against perpetrator of smear campaign against woman human rights lawyer Jiyan Tosun


On 4 January 2023, a criminal lawsuit was launched against Adem Taşkaya, the co-president of Zafer Partisi (Victory Party), who had posted a tweet targeting woman human rights defender Jiyan Tosun and falsely accusing her as the perpetrator of the bomb attack in Istanbul on 13 November 2022. The woman human rights defender Jiyan Tosun filed a complaint against Adem Taşkaya and other unidentified perpetrators, seeking that they be named and prosecuted.

Jiyan Tosun is a woman human rights defender, lawyer and a member of Human Rights Association. She provides legal support to women and LGBTI+ survivors at the Legal Assistance Office against Sexual Abuse and Rape in Detention. Jiyan Tosun is the daughter of Fehmi Tosun, who was forcibly disappeared in 1995. The woman human rights defender has been seeking justice for her father and the other enforced disappearances together with Saturday Mothers/People.

On 4 January 2023, a criminal lawsuit was launched against Adem Taşkaya, who had posted a tweet targetting woman human rights defender Jiyan Tosun by falsely accusing her as a perpetrator of the bomb attack in Istanbul on 13 November 2022. He posted her photo, saying that “the bomber is a PKK lawyer, Jiyan Tosun”. Following the tweet, Jiyan Tosun and her family started receiving a high number of death threats, which ultimately led to their decision to leave their home. This prompted Jiyan Tosun to filea complaint with the public prosecutor against Adem Taşkaya and other unidentified perpetrators. Jiyan Tosun also requested to be put under a protection scheme, as she worried for her safety and security. The Kücükçekmece 20th Criminal Court of First Instance accepted the indictment against Adem Taşkaya, who is charged with offences of “insult” as per Article 125/2, and illegally disseminating personal data as per Article 136 of the Turkish Penal Code. The trial is set to begin on 30 May 2023.





https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/tr/case/criminal-lawsuit-launched-against-perpetrator-smear-campaign-against-woman-human-rights (TURKCE)



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

https://camerepenali.it/cat/11756/la_dichiarazione_della_piattaforma_per_una_magistratura_indipendente_in_turchia_sui_processi_di_massa_agli_avvocati_di_ankara.html (ITALIANO)

Tajikistan: Long Sentences for Autonomous Region Activists


Six civil society activists from the Gorno-Badakshan Autonomous Region in Tajikistan, detained in connection with protests in May 2022, have received lengthy prison terms after closed, unfair trials, Human Rights Watch said today.

Among them is Ulfatkhonim Mamadshoeva, a 65-year-old independent journalist and civil rights activist, who was sentenced to 21 years in prison on charges of conspiring against the state and organizing the protests. Her former husband, Kholbash Kholbashov, was sentenced to life in prison in September.

“The trials of the Gorno-Badakshan activists were held behind closed doors without access to lawyers or the evidence against them, in violation of fundamental fair trial standards,” said Syinat Sultanalieva, Central Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The Tajikistan authorities should immediately release these six activists, along with the other activists who have been locked up for legitimate exercise of their rights and drop all charges against them.”

The other five activists who were convicted in trials on December 9 and 10 are members of Commission 44, an independent group established in 2021 to investigate the death of Gulbiddin Ziyobekov, a resident of the region killed by police in November 2021, whose death sparked an initial round of protests in Khorog, the regional capital.

The convicted activists are Faromuz Irgashov, a lawyer who headed Commission 44, sentenced to 30 years; Muzaffar Muborakshoev, a civil rights activist, 29 years; Khursand Mamadshoev, brother of Ulfatkhonim Mamadshoeva, 18 years; Manuchekhr Kholiknazarov, head of the Association of Lawyers in Pamir, 15 years; and Khushruz Djumaev, a civil rights activist and blogger known by the pseudonym Khushom Gulyam, 8 years. All were charged with “participation in a criminal association” under article 187 of the Criminal Code of Tajikistan. In June, two other members of the group were also sentenced to 18 years each.

The persecution of activists, journalists, and lawyers from the autonomous region has been ongoing since May, following a government crackdown on peaceful protests by the local population, the Pamiri, a distinct ethnic and religious minority, whom the government has long discriminated against. The authorities have arrested and detained more than 200 people on charges related to the protests and ensuing clashes. According to the United Nations special rapporteur on minority issues, as many as 40 people may have been killed in a special “anti-terrorism operation” that the Tajik authorities conducted in the region to quash the protests.







China: Famous lawyer Yu Wensheng: released from prison, but no different from lock up


Renowned human rights lawyer Yu Wensheng was released in March of this year after serving four years in prison for proposing to amend the Constitution and demanding that the government respect human rights.

According to RFA’s exclusive interview with Yu, despite being released, Yu and his wife are still under close surveillance by Chinese authorities.

Before and after European Council President Charles Michel’s visit to China on December 1, the Yu family was put on a week-long stay-at-home lockdown by the authorities because of pandemic prevention.

Yu Wensheng said that after serving his prison term, he took a break to heal the physical and mental injuries resulting from the horrific four years of prison.

He shared that the days of having to live in cold and hungry conditions in prison have caused his old illnesses to recur, and so far, his hand still can’t hold a pen.

Yu also confided that he regretted that the prison prevented him from seeing his father one last time. His father passed away more than a month before he left the prison.

Yu said he still has to comply with three years deprived of his political rights. His wife has also been restricted from leaving the country since 2018.

Yu said that his family could not leave China at the moment. For him, life right now is basically the same as when he was in prison.

Yu Wensheng and many other lawyers had active human rights protection activities before being arrested. He said that the lawyers who joined him were all suppressed by Chinese authorities.








https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/zh/case/human-rights-lawyer-chang-weiping-secret-detention-denied-access-lawyers (CHINESE)

https://www.rfa.org/cantonese/news/uk-new-12092022051314.html#.Y5NKvPsVgHI.twitter (CANTONESE)

Argentina: Judicial harassment against human rights lawyer Nadia Schujman


The human rights lawyer Dr. Nadia Schujman has been suffering judicial persecution and a smear campaign due to her previous work as Director of the Police Control Agency of the Santa Fe province, in Argentina. In a process marked by irregularities, lack of transparency and lack of due diligence, Schujman is being accused of illegal surveillance and illegal association together with other eight employers of the Ministry of Security of Santa Fe.

Dr. Nadia Schujman is a human rights lawyer and woman human rights defender, working for more than 20 years for the rights to memory and truth in crimes against humanity, committed during the civil-military dictatorship in Argentina. Dr. Schujman provides legal assistance and representation to victim’s families and survivors of human rights violations in the country, and has also played an important role in various national and regional human rights campaigns on memory, justice and reparation. She is currently part of the legal team in the civil society organization H.I.J.O.S1. In 2019, Dr. Schujman attended Front Line Defenders’ flagship event, the Dublin Platform, in Dublin, Ireland.

In addition to her legal work related to human rights violations committed during the dictatorship period, since 2009 Dr. Schujman held different roles in the Human Rights Secretariat of Santa Fe. In January 2020, she was named the Director of the Police Control Agency for almost two years. Dr. Schujman lead investigations about abuses, violations and irregularities committed by police officers, including some cases also related to local politicians and other public officials, until she resigned the position in November 2021.



https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/es/statement-report/statement-argentina-judicial-harassment-against-human-rights-lawyer-nadia-schujman (ESPANOL)




Burundi: Quashing of Tony Germain Nkina’s sentence by the Supreme Court


On 8 December 2022, the Burundian Supreme Court quashed the five year conviction of the human rights defender and lawyer Tony Germain Nkina, which was previously confirmed on 29 September 2021 by the Ngozi Appeal Court. The human rights defender has been detained at the Ngozi central prison since 13 October 2020. The new appeal trial must take place without delay, as per the Supreme Court’s recommendation.

Tony Germain Nkina is a well known human rights lawyer in Kayanza province, who provides legal assistance to detained persons and victims of human rights abuses. He is the former representative of the Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Detained Persons (Association pour la protection des droits humains et des personnes détenues – APRODH), a leading human rights group in Burundi until 2015. APRODH worked to protect human rights in general, and the rights of detained persons in particular, and provided legal and psychological assistance to detained persons and victims of abuse as well as worked to raise public awareness on the prevention of all forms of abuse of humans and persons in pre-trial detention. In 2015, the government suspended the organization as part of a crackdown on independent civil society.

On 13 October 2020, Tony Germain Nkina was arrested without a warrant in Kabarore, where he was visiting a client for his professional work as a lawyer. In June 2021, a court in Kayanza found Tony Germain Nkina guilty of collaboration with armed groups – a common accusation against perceived opponents and critics of the government in Burundi – and sentenced him to five years in prison. On 16 July 2021, the human rights defender’s lawyer filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal of Ngozi. His lawyer reported that Tony Germain Nkina was questioned regarding APRODH. The human rights defender was found guilty of complicity with armed groups and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of one million Burundian francs (approximately 460 Euro).




https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/fr/case/quashing-tony-germain-nkinas-sentence-by-supreme-court (FRANCAIS)





On the International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, The 29 Principles, Lawyers for Lawyers, the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), the International Bar Association’s Human Rights’ Institute (IBAHRI), the International Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL), Front Line Defenders, the Law Society of England and Wales, the Institute for the Rule of Law of the International Association of Lawyers (UIA-IROL), the Leitner Center for International Law and Justice, the American Association of the International Commission of Jurists, the Committee to Support Chinese Lawyers, the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe, Avocats sans Frontières, Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, The Rights Practice, Ordre des Barreaux Francophones et Germanophones de Belgique express their concern about the ongoing detention of Chinese human rights lawyers Li Yuhan. Li Yuhan has been detained in Shenyang City, the capital of the Northeastern province of Liaoning since October 2017. She was charged with “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”. Although her case was tried last year, there is still no verdict and her release date remains unknown.

Li Yuhan is a veteran lawyer who started practising in the 1990s, taking on numerous human rights cases such as Falon Gong and Christian underground churches. She also represented Wang Yu, one of the most prominent lawyers arrested in the “709 crackdown” – a mass arrest of human rights lawyers and other activists in 2015. The arrest of Li was regarded as retaliation for her involvement in Wang Yu’s case and other sensitive cases.

It is reported that she has been subjected to torture and ill-treatment while in detention, including insufficient food and being denied to receive adequate and appropriate medical treatment. Also, the authorities tried to force her to plead guilty and postponed her trial a few times until October 2021.  

Having been detained for more than five years, her health deteriorated rapidly and she suffers from arrhythmia, fluttering in chest and tremors, coronary heart disease, unstable angina, hyperthyroidism, acute erosive gastritis, cerebral concussion, and cerebral ischemia.





https://29principles.uk/zh-hant/contents/%E5%90%84%E5%9C%B0%E4%BA%BA%E6%AC%8A%E7%B5%84%E7%B9%94%E6%96%BC%E3%80%8C%E5%9C%8B%E9%9A%9B%E5%A5%B3%E6%80%A7%E4%BA%BA%E6%AC%8A%E6%8D%8D%E8%A1%9B%E8%80%85%E6%97%A5%E3%80%8D%E8%81%AF%E5%90%88%E5%91%BC%E7%B1%B2%E8%A6%81%E6%B1%82%E7%AB%8B%E5%8D%B3%E9%87%8B%E6%94%BE%E6%9D%8E%E6%98%B1%E5%87%BD%E5%BE%8B%E5%B8%AB%EF%BC%88%E5%8F%AA%E6%9C%89%E8%8B%B1%E6%96%87%E7%89%88%EF%BC%89 (CHINESE)

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