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.
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
September 15, 2017
Human rights defender and lawyer Abdessadeq El Bouchtaoui has been summoned for interrogation by Moroccan authorities. He will have to appear on 18 September 2017 at 10.00 am at Tétouan police station.
Abdessadeq El Bouchtaoui was summoned on 7 September 2017. He was told that he was being investigated in relation to his legal representation of Al-Hoceima activists. The human rights defender was previously interrogated on 11 August 2017 at Tétouan police station. He had received summons on 9 August during a court hearing visit with family members to request the retrieval of the body of Emad El-Attabi.
His summons and questioning follows his criticism on Facebook of the repression of Al-Hoceima protests, which were held in response to a speech in which King Mohammed VI described those criticizing government development policies and protesters as “collaborating against the homeland”. The King responded to the protests stating that law enforcement agents were “showing restraint and commitment to the rule of law as they maintained security and stability.”
Defending human rights activists and political prisoners is some of the most dangerous work a lawyer can do in Crimea. After years taking on these risky cases, Crimean Tatar lawyer Emil Kurbedinov was awarded the Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk on 26 May 2017 in a ceremony at City Hall in Dublin.
Emil Kurbedinov is a Crimean Tatar and human rights lawyer. Since the occupation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, Emil has been defending the persecuted Crimean Tatar minority, civil society activists and journalists. He also provides emergency response and documentation of rights violations during raids and searches of activists’ homes. In January 2017, masked representatives from Crimea’s Centre for Counteracting Extremism detained Emil and took him to a local directorate of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) for interrogation. A district court found him guilty of “propagandizing for extremist organisations” and sentenced him to ten days in detention.
Following on continuing requests from Crimean Tatar HRDs in Ukraine to increase their visibility, the Award generated more than 10 unique articles in Russian and Ukrainian media. Top English-language media outlets in Ukraine, Hromadske International TV channel and The Kyiv Post, also ran features on the award winner, as did ATR Channel, a Crimean TV station popular with Crimean Tatars, which moved to Kiev following pressure from the Russian authorities. The Award also garnered print, online, radio, and broadcast television coverage in seven languages (English, Russian, Ukrainian, French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic). In Ireland, RTE and the Irish Times both ran features on the prize and the winner. Reuters issued a wire piece covering the winner, which made both the international Reuters “Big Ten” and “Top Stories” on the day of the event and has been republished dozens of times globally. Al Jazeera Media Network broadcast a segment featuring talks by the winner, Emil Kurbedinov, and Front Line Defenders Executive Director Andrew Anderson.
May 26, 2017
Defending human rights activists and political prisoners is some of the most dangerous work a lawyer can do in Crimea. After years taking on these risky cases, Crimean Tatar lawyer Emil Kurbedinov was today awarded a top international prize for human rights activists. In Dublin, on 26 May 2017, Front Line Defenders named Emil the 2017 Laureate of its annual Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk.
May 3, 2017
On 7 May 2017, human rights defender, Mohammed Khatib, will appear before an Israeli Military Court after three and half years of lengthy court proceedings following his participation in peaceful demonstrations at Beit Il checkpoint, in the village of Bettin, on 7 March 2013. The human rights defender is facing three charges of entering a closed military zone, participating in an illegal demonstration, and disturbing the soldiers.
The upcoming military trial of the human rights defender will take place on 7 May 2017 in Ofer military court. According to Israeli and Palestinian human rights organisations, the conviction rate of Israeli military courts has ranged from ninety to ninety-nine percent in recent years.
Mohammed Khatib has previously been arrested and detained by Israeli forces on several occasions on account of his participation in peaceful demonstrations. On 20 January 2017, Israeli forces arrested Mohammed Khatib while he attended his colleagues’ military hearing for participation in a peaceful demonstration. He was held in Ofer prison for four days and was also accused of participating in an “illegal protest” against Israel’s illegal annexation of Palestinian land in Jerusalem. In 2014, he was detained for participating in a tree-planting project in Turmusaya. All these charges against the human rights defender are still pending and he is expected to have to stand trial for them in the future.
Front Line Defenders condemns the continued judicial harassment of human rights defender, Mohammed Khatib, as it believes it to be solely related to his legitimate and peaceful human rights activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Front Line Defenders further condemns the pattern of intimidation, harassment and prosecution of human rights defenders by the Israeli occupation forces.