Tag Archives: Front Line Defenders

Brazil/Colombia/Guatemala/Honduras/ Mexico/The Philippines: Stop the Killings

June 21, 2018

Stop the Killings Report.jpg

“Stop the Killings” analyzes the root causes of the killing of HRDs in Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and the Philippines.

The report is based on original research by Comitê Brasileiro de Defensoras e Defensores de Direitos Humanos – CBDDH, (Brazil), Programa Somos Defensores (Colombia), UDEFEGUA (Guatemala), ACI-Participa (Honduras), Comité Cerezo (Mexico) and iDEFEND, Karapatan and Pahra (Philippines).

With a forward from United Natiosn Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders Michel Forst and introduction by Front Line Defenders Exective Director Andrew Anderson, “Stop the Killings” is a vital resource for understanding the current and alarming increase of killings of human rights defenders globally.






China: Lawyer Xie Yanyi assaulted, detained during impending disbarment proceedings

May 18, 2018

Xie Yanyi

On 16 May 2018, human rights lawyer Xie Yanyi (谢燕益) attended a formal review hearing at the Beijing Lawyers’ Association to determine whether infractions allegedly committed by the defender are sufficient to warrant the revocation of his license to practice law. He stands accused of unspecified violations in connection to his representation of a client in a freedom of religion case. Before entering the building, police physically assaulted the defender. After the review hearing, Xie Yanyi and his wife were detained for several hours. Based on recent persecution of China’s human rights lawyers, Xie Yanyi is likely to face imminent revocation of his legal license.

In April 2018, Xie Yanyi first noticed that his legal license had been marked “void” on the Beijing Justice Bureau’s website, after which he was legally unable to practice. On 4 May, the Beijing Lawyers’ Association notified the human rights defender that a hearing would be held on 16 May to discuss the alleged violation of regulations in the course of his legal representation of client accused of “using an evil religious organization to undermine the rule of law”. On 13 May, Xie Yanyi requested that the hearing be postponed on the basis that he had not been given sufficient access to the evidence being used to support the government’s allegations. His request was denied.

On 16 May, at the entrance to the Beijing Lawyers’ Association, a journalist accompanying Xie Yanyi was stopped and his identification was taken by police. When the officers refused to return the identification, Xie Yanyi took the identification from the officer’s hand. The officer responded by grabbing the lawyer by the throat, thus injuring him and tearing his shirt. Officers then brought Xie Yanyi to the review hearing.

After the hearing, lawyer associates of Xie Yanyi, who had attended the hearing, announced that Xie Yanyi had been taken away by police. He was released approximately five hours later.




http://www.idhae.org/OBSAV-fr-wewschi191605.htm (FRANCAIS)


April 27, 2018


Human rights defender and lawyer Nelson La Madrid has been receiving threatening calls and messages since he filed a lawsuit against Bolivia’s National Electricity Company (Empresa Nacional de Electricidad de Bolivia) on 28 March 2018. The lawsuit is aimed at preventing the construction of the Rositas Hydroelectric Project on the basis that it has not received free, prior and informed consent by the affected indigenous communities.

Nelson La Madrid is a lawyer and human rights defender in Cochambamba, Bolivia, who is legally representing the Guaraní indigenous communities of Tatarenda Nuevo and Yumao in the trial, which is expected to begin on 4 April 2018. The human rights defender is assisting these indigenous communities, which reside in Santa Cruz Province, to challenge the construction of the Rositas Hydroelectric Project (Proyecto Hidroeléctrico Rositas) before the courts.


On Monday 30 April 2018, the new judge assigned to review the Rositas Hydroelectric Project case will hold a hearing to decide the merits of the popular action submitted by the Guaraní indigenous communities of Tatarenda Nuevo and Yumao.

Human rights defender, Nelson La Madrid, is providing legal representation for both communities in their case against Bolivia’s Electric National Company (Empresa Nacional de Electricidad de Bolivia ENDE) to stop Rositas Hydroelectric Project. The human rights defender has highlighted that now two judges have recused themselves from the case in the last month, claiming that it is outside their jurisdictions. Nelson La Madrid believes that pressure and intimidation by ENDE’s legal team and the Attorney General’s Office, led to both judges decision to step down from the case.


Listen to a recent interview with Nelson on #RightsOnTheLinePodcast:

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.








April 6, 2018


On 4 April 2018, the judge reviewing the popular action challenging the activities of Rositas Hydroelectric Project recused himself from deciding the case during a hearing in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Human rights defenders involved in the case reported that the judge had been subjected to intimidation

Human rights defender Nelson La Madrid is providing legal representation for the Guaraní indigenous communities of Tatarenda Nuevo and Yumao, located in Santa Cruz province, Bolivia. The defender is supporting these indigenous communities, who challenged before the domestic courts the execution of “Rositas Hydroelectric Project” (Proyecto Hidroeléctrico Rositas), promoted by Bolivia’s Electric National Company (Empresa Nacional de Electricidad de Bolivia ENDE) in their territories without their free, prior and informed consent. The communities have opposed the project because it will flood approximately 45,000 hectares of land, leaving the territory of twelve Guaraní communities (approximately 500 families) under water. Nelson La Madrid has been subjected to a series of threatening phone calls as a result of his work on behalf of the communities.

On 29 March, a civil court admitted the popular action and resolved that ENDE suspend all administrative or legal activity in the framework of the construction of the Rositas hydroelectric plant until there is a decision on the merits of the claim. However, during the case hearing on 4 April 2018, Judge Óscar Ortiz recused himself from deciding the case on the grounds of territorial jurisdiction, and ordered the action must be reviewed by the courts in Santa Cruz, because of proximity to Tatarenda Nuevo and Yumao indigenous communities. Nelson La Madrid believes that Judge Ortiz was subjected to pressure and intimidation from ENDE’s legal team and the Attorney General’s Office, which led to his decision to step down from the case.

Furthermore, on 3 April 2018, at a press conference, Bolivia’s Minister of Energy, Rafael Alarcón, and the president of ENDE , Joaquín Rodríguez, labelled those involved in the popular action opposing the project as “bad people” who were only seeking financial compensation.


http://www.opinion.com.bo/opinion/articulos/noticias.php?a=2018&md=0413&id=251173 (ESPANOL)


February 27, 2018


On 23 February, the bail application of senior counsel and human rights lawyer Upendra Nayak was rejected by the Junior Magistrate First Class (JMFC), Mohana in Gajapati district in Odisha state. He was arrested on 20 February by Paralakhemundi Police. His next bail application will be filed before the District Judge.

On 21 February 2018, Upendra Nayak appeared before Gajapati Judicial Magistrate and was sent to R. Udaygiri Jail.

On 20 February, Upendra Nayak was arrested in relation to ten criminal cases where he himself was the defense lawyer and has been charged under sections 121, 121-A, 124-A of the Indian Penal Code which are related to sedition, waging war against the State, and various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. These cases were registered between 2009 and 2010 wherein he successfully defended adivasi individuals who were arrested under anti-Maoist operations. All the trials ended in acquittals.

This is not the first case where a lawyer representing or working with adivasi people has been subjected to judicial harassment in India. Most recently, Advocate A. Murugan was arrested in 2017 in relation to  criminal cases in which he had been defending the accused.

Front Line Defenders condemns the arrest of of human rights defender Upendra Nayak, as it strongly believes that it is directly linked to hispeaceful and legitimate work as a human rights lawyer in Odisha state in India.



Turkey: 14 lawyers from People’s Law Office arrested and charged

September 27, 2017


On 20 September 2017, 14 lawyers were charged with “being members of a terrorist organisation” by the Istanbul Criminal Judgeship of Peace. They were detained and taken into police custody on 12 September 2017.

Didem Baydar, Şükriye Erden, Ayşegül Çağatay, Ebru Timtik, Aytaç Ünsal, Zehra Özdemir, Yağmur Ereren, Engin Gökoğlu, Süleyman Gökten, Aycan Çiçek, Naciye Demir, Behiç Aşçı, Barkın Timtik and Özgür Yılmaz are human rights defenders and lawyers belonging to the People’s Law Officein Turkey. They are well known due to their work on high profile cases such as that of 15- year old Berkin Elvan, who died during the Gezi Park protests after being hit on the head by a tear-gas canister fired by a police officer, and  Dilek Doğan, a young woman who was shot and killed by a police officer during an anti-terror raid on her house on 18 October 2015.  They also represent Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça, two educators dismissed from their positions following the failed coup attempt on 15 July 2016.  The detention of the 14 human rights defenders from the People’s Law Office occurred two days before the educators’ trial was due to begin on 14 September 2017.

On 11-12 September 2017, around midnight, Turkish police raided the offices of People’s Law Office in Istanbul and Ankara as well as the lawyers’ houses. The 14 human rights defenders were detained following a warrant issued by the Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office accusing them of “being members of a terrorist organisation”. On 20 September 2017, the human rights defenders were taken to the prosecutor’s office in Istanbul courthouse where their testimonies were taken. Ahmet Mandacı and Ezgi Gökten were then released under judicial control as they had no formal ties to the People’s Law Office, while all others were arrested. The lawyers are accused of having ties to the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party (DHKP-C) which is recognised as a terrorist organisation in Turkey.




9 lawyers in Izmir and 3 lawyers in Isparta were arrested in one week