Tag Archives: Front Line Defenders

Turkey: International Law Obligations to Release ÇHD Lawyers | Letter

October 23, 2019

We write on behalf of Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), a committee of lawyers and human rights defenders who promote international human rights, the independence and security of human rights defenders, the integrity of legal systems and the rule of law through advocacy, education and legal research. LRWC has Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

LRWC has written in the past with respect to various Turkish lawyers and human rights defenders who have been detained, arrested, charged, and/or imprisoned in violation of Turkey’s international human rights law obligations and Turkey’s own Constitution. Communications to the Government of Turkey have been made by LRWC regarding the cases of: Nurullah Albayrak, Eren Keskin, Selçuk Kozağaçlı, Şebnem Korur Fincancı, Ramazan Demir, Mustafa Aydin, Can Tombul, Taner Kilic and numerous other Turkish lawyers. LRWC has also made oral and written statements to the UN Human Rights Council and submissions to the UN Human Rights Council and Special Procedures regarding widespread persecution of lawyers, journalists and other human rights defenders through prosecutions, convictions, arbitrary detentions and other grave human rights abuses in violation of international law.

LRWC has just been advised that on 16 October 2019 the İstanbul Regional Court of Justice 2nd Penal Chamber (Court of Appeals) has rejected the appeals and confirmed the sentences imposed in March 2019 by the Istanbul 37th Heavy Penal Court on lawyers who are members of the Contemporary Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD). The convictions and sentences are contrary to international human rights law, contrary to Turkey’s constitution, and contrary to basic principles of fairness and justice. The alleged crimes that underlie these convictions would not be considered crimes in any country governed by the rule of law.  We urge you to intervene to ensure the release of those sentenced and the vacation and nullification of the convictions and sentences imposed.

An international delegation of lawyers who observed the March 2019 court proceedings that imposed the convictions and sentences, concluded that the, “trial is completely null and void” and called for, “the immediate acquittal of all defendants, to be attained through all possible judicial and legal means.”[1]

Background of this Case

This case involves the sentencing of 20 ÇHD lawyers.  The six lawyers, sentenced to less than five years in prison do not have the right to any further appeal. ÇHD lawyers sentenced to more than five years in prison, have a right to appeal to Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeal.

Turkey: International Law Obligations to Release ÇHD Lawyers | Letter

http://bianet.org/english/law/214528-court-of-appeals-upholds-159-year-prison-term-for-contemporary-lawyers-association-members

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/selcuk-kozagacli-detained

https://www.lawtimesnews.com/news/general/lawyers-rights-watch-canada-calls-for-release-of-convicted-lawyers-in-turkey/321265

https://www.gercekgundem.com/guncel/126431/istinaf-mahkemesinden-selcuk-kozagacli-ve-chd-avukatlari-hakkinda-karar (TURKCE)

http://www.yeniyasamgazetesi1.com/chd-ve-hhbli-avukatlara-verilen-hapis-cezasi-onandi/ (TURKCE)

https://www.gazeteduvar.com.tr/gundem/2019/10/19/ege-insan-haklari-okulu-calistayinda-ikinci-gun-sona-erdi/ (TURKCE)

Egypt: Mohammed Al-Baqir: The imprisoned lawyer who turned into a symbol of justice

October 22, 2019

Image result for mohamed el-baker

While the prominent human rights lawyer Mohammad Al-Baqir was attending investigations atthe supreme state security prosecution with the political activist Alaa Abd al-Fattah at the end of September, he was surprised that the prosecution ordered that he be detained and informed him that he is wanted under the same case.

The prosecution accused Al-Baqir of “belonging to a terrorist group, financing terrorism, spreading false news that undermines national security,” and then ordered his preventive detention. After that, he wastransferred blindfolded to al-Aqrab Prison, the prison with the worst reputation in Egypt.

Al-Baqir was physically and verbally abused, hisbasic rights were violated from the moment he entered prison. He was forced to walk while bending his back, showered by insults and abuse. He was stripped of all his belongings, even his personal hygiene items. They put on his prison clothes while he was blindfolded and he was driven to a cell while not being allowed to shower or change his underclothes for nine days. The prison administration also refused al-Baqir’s request to see the prison doctor and prevented him from buying clean food or water, his wife said.

The prosecution delayed the decision on a request made by Al-Baqir’s lawyer to enable him to visit his ill father, who was in intensive care. He died before seeing his son, but al-Baqir was allowed to attend the funeral.

Why al-Baqir?

Egyptian authorities are currently carrying out a systematic campaign targeting human rights lawyers who took on the mission of defending those arrested after the demonstrations of September 20, that demanded the toppling of President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi’s regime and accused it of corruption. Among the most prominent that have been arrested along with al-Baqir are Mahienour el-Massry, and Amr Imam.

Mohammed Al-Baqir: The imprisoned lawyer who turned into a symbol of justice

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-egypt-rights-un/u-n-rights-office-urges-egypt-to-free-lawyers-activist-idUSKBN1WX1JZ

http://www.ishr.ch/news/egypt-let-human-rights-defenders-work-better-future

https://www.fidh.org/en/issues/human-rights-defenders/egypt-arbitrary-detention-and-judicial-harassment-of-amr-imam

https://www.omct.org/human-rights-defenders/urgent-interventions/egypt/2019/10/d25561/

IFEX strongly condemns violent crackdown against Egyptian rights defenders

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/arrest-mohamed-el-baqer

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/RC-9-2019-0138_EN.html

https://vwv.almanassa.net/ar/story/13097 (ARABIC)

https://ifex.org/ar/%D8%A2%D9%8A%D9%81%D9%83%D8%B3-%D8%AA%D8%AF%D9%8A%D9%86-%D8%A8%D8%B4%D8%AF%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%85%D9%84%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D9%86%D9%8A%D9%81%D8%A9-%D8%B6%D8%AF-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%AF/ (ARABIC)

http://mubasher.aljazeera.net/news/%D9%85%D8%B5%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D8%B9%D8%AA%D9%82%D8%A7%D9%84-%D9%85%D8%AD%D8%A7%D9%85%D9%90-%D8%A3%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%86-%D8%A5%D8%B6%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%A8%D8%A7-%D8%B9%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B7%D8%B9%D8%A7%D9%85-%D8%AA%D8%B6%D8%A7%D9%85%D9%86%D8%A7-%D9%85%D8%B9-%D8%A5%D8%B3%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%A1-%D8%B9%D8%A8%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%81%D8%AA%D8%A7%D8%AD (ARABIC)

https://www.lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2019/09/30/alaa-abdel-fattah-icone-de-la-revolution-a-nouveau-arrete-en-egypte_6013618_3212.html (FRANCAIS)

http://www.eldiario.ec/noticias-manabi-ecuador/511795-ong-dice-hay-mas-de-4000-arrestos-y-3000-acusados-tras-protestas-en-egipto/ (ESPANOL)

#الحرية_لباقر

#FreeBaker

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تجديد حبس المحامي الحقوقي محمد الباقر ١٥ يوما في اتهامه بنشر أخبار كاذبة

قررت نيابة أمن الدولة العليا، اليوم الأربعاء، تجديد حبس المحامي الحقوقي البارز، محمد الباقر، ١٥ يوما آخرى.
حلء ذلك على ذمة اتهامه في القضية رقم ١٣٥٦ لسنة ٢٠١٩ حصر أمن دولة، والمتهم فيها بنشر أخبار كاذبة ومشاركة جماعة إرهابية.#دفتر_أحوال_المحاكم_والنيابات
#المفوضية_المصرية_للحقوق_والحريات
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Russia: Mikhail Benyash fined 30,000 RUB

October 17, 2019

Mikhail Benyash

On 11 October 2019, Leninsky District Court of Krasnodar found Mikhail Benyash guilty of “exercising violence against a representative of authority” and fined him 30 000 RUB (almost 423 EUR).

On 23 September 2018, Mikhail Benyash was charged under article 318 of the Criminal Code of Russia, following his arrest on 9 September 2018 in Krasnodar where he had travelled to provide legal assistance to the participants of an unsanctioned protest against pension reform. The Investigative Committee claimed that Mikhail Benyash hit a police officer in the face three times and bit him on the arm. The human rights defender thoroughly rejects these accusations.

Mikhail Benyash is a defence lawyer who has been working on civil and criminal cases for the last ten years in Sochi and Krasnodar Region, Russia. In the context of authorities’ reluctance to sanction peaceful protests, the human rights defender has been providing legal assistance to the participants of rallies which were not officially approved. He has also attended a number of protests in order to monitor and prevent police brutality.

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/judicial-harassment-mikhail-benyash

https://www.eng.kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/48748/

https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/10/04/russia-defense-lawyer-arrested-beaten

https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/eur46/9295/2018/en/

Egypt: Egypt arrests a mother who enquired after her detained son

October 17, 2019

Mohamed Helmi Hamdoun, an Egyptian lawyer

After a lawyer, his wife and his brother were arrested from a café in Damanhour, a city in Lower Egypt, his mother and two sisters were also arrested after enquiring about his whereabouts.

According to a Facebook post written by Major General Helmi Hamdoun, which has now been removed, his son and lawyer Mohamed Helmi Hamdoun was with his wife Asmaa Daabes and brother Ahmed in a café in Damanhour when security forces stormed the café and arrested all three of them.

When Mohamed’s mother went to the police station to enquire about where her son was being held, police arrested her. An hour later his two sisters Fatima and Zeinab went to ask where their mother was and police arrested them also.

Helmi wrote: “I am at my house in Damanhour, waiting for rabid dogs to come.”

Mohamed is a member of the Dostour Party, which is part of a coalition of left-wing parties that called for the “Stay at Home” campaign, a boycott of the March elections in which President Abdel Fattah Al- Sisi ran against only one candidate who backed the general himself.

The Sisi regime has carried out a series of arrests against members of the party.

Besides journalists, activists and former detainees, lawyers have been one of the targets of this sweep. Earlier this week lawyer Amr Iman was arrested from his house after declaring he would start a hunger strike in solidarity with detained and tortured activists Alaa Abdul Fattah and Israa Abdelfattah.

Amr witnessed Alaa’s arrest: “This is a blatant violation against lawyers… lawyers are immune while working, just like judges and prosecutors. As a lawyer, I am afraid about getting arrested right now,” he said.

Mohamed Al-Baqer, Alaa’s lawyer, was arrested at the State Security Prosecution after he attended his client’s investigation session and award-winning human rights lawyer Mahienour El-Massry was arrested outside the state security prosecutor’s headquarters after representing detainees arrested during the demonstrations.

The Sisi regime has long targeted lawyers – researcher for the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, the human rights lawyer Ibrahim Ezz Al-Din has been forcibly arrested since 11 June this year.

Egypt arrests a mother who enquired after her detained son

https://www.trtworld.com/magazine/egyptian-activist-says-she-was-tortured-after-authorities-abducted-her-30635

https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/10/17/egypt-institutional-insanity-new-normal

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/arrest-and-detention-human-rights-defender-and-lawyer-mohamed-ramadan

https://www.france24.com/en/20191018-un-condemns-egypt-crackdown-on-activists

U.N. rights office urges Egypt to free lawyers, activist

https://en.qantara.de/content/rights-groups-call-on-egypt-authorities-to-free-esraa-abdel-fattah

https://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/2233

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-egypt-rights-un/u-n-rights-office-urges-egypt-to-free-blogger-lawyer-activist-idUSKBN1WX1JZ

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahienour_El-Massry

http://mubasher.aljazeera.net/news/%D9%85%D8%B5%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D8%B9%D8%AA%D9%82%D8%A7%D9%84-%D9%85%D8%AD%D8%A7%D9%85%D9%90-%D8%A3%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%86-%D8%A5%D8%B6%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%A8%D8%A7-%D8%B9%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B7%D8%B9%D8%A7%D9%85-%D8%AA%D8%B6%D8%A7%D9%85%D9%86%D8%A7-%D9%85%D8%B9-%D8%A5%D8%B3%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%A1-%D8%B9%D8%A8%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%81%D8%AA%D8%A7%D8%AD (ARABIC)

https://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/2234 (ARABIC)

https://www.amnesty.fr/presse/gypte-lintensification-de-la-rpression-visant-les- (FRANCAIS)

https://www.amnesty.org/es/latest/news/2019/06/egypt-chilling-wave-of-arbitrary-arrests-as-authorities-intensify-crackdown-on-critics-and-opponents/ (ITALIANO)

Details of 24 hours of torture of #Israa_AbdelFattah, according to a post by Egyptian activist Mohamed Saleh:
#الحرية_لاسراء_عبد_الفتاح #الحرية_لمصطفى_الخطيب #الحرية_لعلاء_عبدالفتاح #الحرية_لمحمد_باقر #الحرية_للجدعان

(Democratic Transition & Human Rights Support – DAAM – دعم Facebook, 17/10/19)

Egypt: Abduction of Amr Imam and physical assault of Gamal Eid, members of ANHRI

October 17, 2019

EGY 008/ 1019 / OBS 081
Abduction / Enforced disappearance /
Physical assaultThe Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Egypt.

 

Description of the situation:The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the abduction and enforced disappearance of Mr. Amr Imam, human rights lawyer at the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), and the physical assault of Mr. Gamal Eid, ANHRI’s Director.

According to the information received, on October 16, 2019 at dawn, Mr. Amr Imam was abducted by police officers from his home in Cairo. While Mr. Amr Imam managed to publish a brief post about his arrest on Facebook, the security forces then refused him his right to make a phone call to his lawyer or family members. At the time of publication of this Urgent Appeal, Mr. Amr Imam’s fate and whereabouts remained unknown, despite attempts to locate him. In the previous days, Mr. Amr Imam had publicly announced his intention to start a hunger strike to denounce police abuses, including multiple cases of abduction and enforced disappearances, acts of torture and ill-treatment as well as the lack of accountability from the of police officers for their crimes.

Moreover, on October 10, 2019, Mr. Gamal Eid was beaten repeatedly with the butt of a gun by an unknown attacker who stole his cellphone, tried to steal his backpack and fired a shot in the air while fleeing the scene with an accomplice who had a motorcycle. The beatings resulted in a fractured rib and bruises for Mr. Gamal Eid. The incident happened on main street and during busy hours (between 6 and 8pm). The Observatory fears that this act constitutes an act of harassment targeting Mr. Eid for his human rights activities.

The Observatory recalls that the abduction of Mr. Amr Imam comes a few days after the abduction, torture and arbitrary detention of journalist Esraa Abdel Fattah [1], as well as the arbitrary detention and torture of blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah and his lawyer, Mohamed Al Baqer [2]. Other human rights defenders and lawyers were also arrested in this last wave of arrests, such as women’s rights defender Asmaa Dabees [3] and human rights lawyer Mahienour El Massry [4].

https://www.fidh.org/en/issues/human-rights-defenders/egypt-abduction-of-amr-imam-and-physical-assault-of-gamal-eid-members

Lawyer Amr Emam from ANHRI kidnapped from his home today at dawn The police regime in Egypt shows further hostility against human rights and the rule of law

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/arrest-mohamed-el-baqer

http://mubasher.aljazeera.net/news/%D9%85%D8%B5%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D8%B9%D8%AA%D9%82%D8%A7%D9%84-%D9%85%D8%AD%D8%A7%D9%85%D9%90-%D8%A3%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%86-%D8%A5%D8%B6%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%A8%D8%A7-%D8%B9%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B7%D8%B9%D8%A7%D9%85-%D8%AA%D8%B6%D8%A7%D9%85%D9%86%D8%A7-%D9%85%D8%B9-%D8%A5%D8%B3%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%A1-%D8%B9%D8%A8%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%81%D8%AA%D8%A7%D8%AD (ARABIC)

Egypt: Rights lawyer Gamal Eid attacked

October 10, 2019

https://madamasr.com/en/2019/09/15/feature/politics/civil-society-leaders-fight-travel-bans-as-9-year-ngo-foreign-funding-case-drags-on/

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/judicial-harassment-gamal-eid

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/profile/gamal-eid

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

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/egypt-prominent-human-rights-defender-tortured-crackdown-intensifies

300 UN recommendations spurned by the Egyptian government; 12 demands must be urgently implemented before next month’s UPR

https://cihrs.org/300-un-recommendations-spurned-by-the-egyptian-government-12-demands-must-be-urgently-implemented-before-next-months-upr/ (ARABIC)

https://www.facebook.com/events/669343450226861/ (FRANCAIS)

https://www.dw.com/de/menschenrechtsaktivist-gamal-eid-der-zorn-ist-berechtigt/a-50648470 (DEUTSCH)

https://www.vistazo.com/seccion/mundo/actualidad-mundial/detienen-y-torturan-destacada-activista-egipcia-esraa-abdel-fattah (ESPANOL)

http://www.kaixian.tv/gd/2019/1014/1075615.html (MANDARIN)

Russia: Russian Lawyer Who Defended Detainees Fined For ‘Attack’ On Police

October 11, 2019

Michail Benyash appears in court during his trial in Krasnodar.

A Russian lawyer and human rights activist has been found guilty of attacking police and fined 30,000 rubles ($468) by a Krasnodar court in connection with his detention while he was trying to provide legal advice to protesters being taken into police custody at an anti-government rally a year ago.

Mikhail Benyash had faced up to five years in prison, and investigators were reportedly seeking a larger fine.

International rights group Amnesty International has called the charges against Benyash “politically motivated.”

He has spent the past decade working on civil and criminal cases and “has been providing legal assistance to the participants of rallies which were not officially approved,” according to Frontline Defenders, a Dublin-based group that seeks to protect “at-risk” human rights defenders.

Benyash was arrested on September 9, 2018, in Krasnodar, where he went to provide legal assistance to participants in an unsanctioned protest during a wave of public rallies against Russian pension reform.

He was initially ordered to spend two weeks in jail in September 2018 for allegedly disobeying police.

Later, he was charged with “using violence against a government official,” leading to this latest conviction.

https://www.rferl.org/a/russian-lawyer-who-defended-detainees-fined-for-attack-on-police/30212351.html

https://www.eng.kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/48748/

https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/10/04/russia-defense-lawyer-arrested-beaten

https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/eur46/9295/2018/en/

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/profile/mikhail-benyash

https://lawyersforlawyers.org/en/lawyers/mikhail-benyash/