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/

 

Indonesia/Australia: One of Indonesia’s most wanted people says she won’t be silenced, despite daily death threats

October 4, 2019

Veronica Koman in Sydney.

EXCLUSIVE: As violence in the Papuan provinces of Indonesia reaches its “darkest” point in 20 years, Indonesian human rights lawyer Veronica Koman says she will continue to speak out despite daily death threats.

A pro-Papuan lawyer who has been threatened with an Interpol Red Notice says she receives daily rape and death threats as the uprising in the Indonesian provinces ramp up.

Veronica Koman, a respected Indonesian human rights lawyer, now lives in Australia but continues to be pursued by the Indonesian government for allegedly disseminating evidence of security forces carrying out violence in Indonesia’s easternmost provinces of Papua and West Papua.

“I started to receive death threats two years ago and it’s almost like a daily experience now to receive death and rape threats online,” the 31-year-old told SBS News in an exclusive interview.

“They’re trying to kill the messenger. They cannot refute my data, all the footage they cannot refute that so they’re trying to destroy my credibility.”

 

Ms Koman became involved in the West Papuan struggle for independence in 2014 after five protesters were allegedly killed and another 17 injured by the Indonesian military in an event known as the Paniai killings.

“I thought at the time … ‘wow, why is there no outrage? School children are killed by security forces,'” she said.

“It has become my personal mission to expose what’s happening in West Papua.”

Last week, the provinces – which share a border with Papua New Guinea – suffered one of their bloodiest days in 20 years, with at least 33 people killed in the central town of Wamena.

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/one-of-indonesia-s-most-wanted-people-says-she-won-t-be-silenced-despite-daily-death-threats

https://www.abc.net.au/news/programs/the-world/2019-10-03/this-is-bigger-than-us-:-activist-vows-to-keep/11572810

https://home.nzcity.co.nz/news/article.aspx?id=298535

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/threats-against-and-judicial-harassment-human-rights-lawyer-veronica-koman

https://news.detik.com/berita/d-4733800/veronica-koman-buka-suara-di-media-australia-kemlu-anggap-tak-pantas (INDONESIAN)

https://news.detik.com/berita/d-4734501/tampil-di-media-veronica-koman-diingatkan-soal-beasiswa (INDONESIAN)

https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20191004085943-20-436653/buka-suara-veronica-koman-sebut-terima-ancaman-pembunuhan (INDONESIAN)

https://id.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veronica_Koman (INDONESIAN)

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/fr/profile/veronica-koman (FRANCAIS)

Egypt: Largest wave of mass arrests since President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi came to power

October 2, 2019

Over the past 12 days, Egyptian authorities have launched the biggest crackdown under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s rule rounding up more than 2,300 people – at least 111 of them children – said Amnesty International today. The authorities have carried out sweeping arrests of hundreds of peaceful protesters as well as carrying out more targeted arbitrary arrests of human rights lawyers, journalists, political activists and politicians.

The vast majority of those arrested are being investigated as part of one single case. If referred to trial, it would be the largest protest-related criminal case in Egypt’s history.

“President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s government has orchestrated this crackdown to crush the slightest sign of dissent and silence every government critic. The wave of unprecedented mass arrests, which included many who were not even involved in the protests, sends a clear message – anyone perceived to pose a threat to Sisi’s government will be crushed,” said Najia Bounaim, North Africa Campaigns Director for Amnesty International.

“Participating in a peaceful protest is not a crime. The Egyptian authorities’ draconian response to the peaceful demonstrations illustrates their utter contempt for human rights and displays a flagrant disregard for the rights to peaceful protest and freedom of expression. The authorities must immediately and unconditionally release anyone detained solely for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of assembly or expression.“

In a rare challenge to President al-Sisi, and his government, small protests broke out in several cities across Egypt starting on 20 September. The Egyptian authorities sought to prevent a second round of protests on 27 September by shutting down large parts of downtown Cairo and carrying out mass arrests.

An official statement from Egypt’s Office of the Public Prosecutor on 26 September stated that “less than 1,000 people” have been interrogated in relation to their peaceful participation in protests. It confirmed that the defendants’ social media accounts had been searched for evidence of “incitement to protesting”. The statement mentioned that calls to protest posted on social media would be considered evidence of the “crime” of “unauthorized assembly”.

Human rights lawyers working with organizations including the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) and Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF) have documented at least 2,300 arrests so far. According to lawyers, scores of detainees have been released without questioning, but many others continue to appear in front of prosecutors.

Lawyers, journalists and politicians rounded up

Amnesty International has documented the arrest of 10 journalists, remarkably most of them working for pro-government media outlets, primarily in Suez and Mahalla, and at least 25 politicians and academics from four different political parties. They include Khaled Dawoud, journalist and former head of liberal Dostour party, as well as political science professors Hassan Nefea and Hazem Hosny. At least ten are facing investigation on “terrorism-related” charges.

In a serious blow to defendants’ rights to provide a legal defence, lawyers have also been targeted with at least four arrested while carrying out their work and a total of 16 lawyers have been arrested.

On 29 September, human rights lawyer and director of the Adalah Center for Rights and Freedoms Mohamed el-Baqer entered the Supreme State Security Prosecution (SSSP) building to represent detained activist Alaa Abdelfattah only to be arrested on the same unfounded charges as his client. These include “membership in a banned group” and “spreading false information”. The prosecutor questioned him about his organization’s work and did not present any evidence against him except a National Security Agency investigation report, which neither he nor his lawyer have been allowed to examine.

Amnesty International considers Mohammed el-Baqer a prisoner of conscience who is detained solely for his work defending victims of human rights violations. The organization is calling for his immediate and unconditional release.

“The vast scale and arbitrary nature of the arrests is clear indicator of how unnerved the Egyptian authorities are feeling about the prospect of further protests,” said Najia Bounaim.

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2019/10/egypt-largest-wave-of-mass-arrests-since-president-abdel-fattah-al-sisi-came-to-power/

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/egypts-human-rights-lawyers-come-under-states-fire

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/10/egypt-thousands-arrested-biggest-crackdown-el-sisi-191002174627211.html

https://www.cfjustice.org/portal/2019/10/01/egypt-all-are-vulnerable-as-government-plunges-into-frenzied-quest-to-eliminate-opposition/

https://www.newsweek.com/3000-arrested-egypt-latest-uprising-president-abdel-fattah-sisi-biggest-crackdown-yet-1463023

https://www.dw.com/en/egyptian-protest-anger-justified-rights-activist-says/a-50668351

https://madamasr.com/en/2019/10/01/feature/politics/despite-release-of-at-least-96-detainees-calls-for-more-open-political-process-tense-security-situation-highlighted-by-arrest-of-lawyers-persists/

https://www.omct.org/human-rights-defenders/urgent-interventions/egypt/2019/09/d25523/

https://www.voanews.com/middle-east/amid-crackdown-leading-egyptian-rights-activist-arrested

Protests rattle Egypt, Bahraini women political prisoners expose abuse, and journalist jailed over abortion

https://www.york.ac.uk/cahr/news/2019/mohamedel-baqerarrest/

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

Egypt: amidst the crackdown, lawyers are also a target

Letter on arrest Mahienour El-Massry

https://www.movedemocracy.org/alert-egypt-targets-lawyers

Rampant media campaign against human rights organizations: Are the Egyptian authorities paving the way for escalating their oppression of human rights defenders?

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

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019_Egyptian_protests

https://www.aljazeera.net/news/politics/2019/10/2/%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%87%D9%8A%D9%86%D9%88%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%B5%D8%B1%D9%8A-%D9%82%D9%8A%D8%AB%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%A9-%D8%AD%D8%B1%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D8%B3%D8%AC%D9%86%D8%AA%D9%87%D8%A7-%D9%83%D9%84-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A3%D9%86%D8%B8%D9%85%D8%A9 (ARABIC)

https://arabic.euronews.com/2019/09/22/egyptian-human-rights-lawyer-mahinour-el-masri-arrested?fbclid=IwAR0r_Z3IXMk2Up_p0SEe6Z8O9VIWgCpxp8qaA8EhLhKzT_PnCTVjlAzbfoM (ARABIC)

https://egyptianfront.org/ar/2019/10/new-case-against-hrd/ (ARABIC)

https://www.amnesty.org/fr/latest/news/2019/10/egypt-largest-wave-of-mass-arrests-since-president-abdel-fattah-al-sisi-came-to-power/ (FRANCAIS)

https://ifex.org/fr/legypte-submergee-par-les-bruits-des-manifestants-des-prisonnieres-politiques-bahreiniennes-denoncent-des-abus-et-une-journaliste-jetee-en-prison-pour-avortement/ (FRANCAIS)

https://www.protect-lawyers.com/en/lawyer/6389/ (FRANCAIS)

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(L’Observatoire des Avocats Facebook, 01/10/19)

 

 

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China: Human rights lawyer and Chinese citizen controlled by SWAT team members

September 25, 2019

Authorities controlled human rights lawyer Xie Yang and a Chinese citizen, Chen Yanhui, this evening when they were discussing the Sept. 23 death of Wang Meiyu, a prisoner who died in the Hengyang Detention Center.

In the middle of Xie and Chen’s conversation at the Shennong Hotel in Hengyang, Hunan, six armed SWAT team members rushed in and contained them. Plainclothes police and hotel employees watched the room’s doorway, while the SWAT team members handled the staircase.

Xie’s wife, Chen Guiqiu, noted on social media that he was still being controlled as of 1:16 a.m. on Sept. 26 Beijing time. Her attempts to contact him have been unsuccessful, leading her to believe he is still being restricted by the officials.

Xie was previously taken into police custody for his human rights work on July 11, 2015, as part of a nationwide crackdown on rights attorneys known colloquially as the “709 Incident.” During Xie’s time in prison, he revealed that he had been tortured and that the lawyers appointed by his family were prevented from meeting him numerous times. To combat these accusations, China launched a propaganda campaign, claiming the reports were false. They also forced Xie Yang to deny his torture allegations during his trial.Prior to his trial, Xie made a written declaration stating that he was not guilty of subversion, the charge which authorities used to imprison him, and said he would not plead guilty unless it was for the sake of his family or because of torture.

https://www.chinaaid.org/2019/09/human-rights-lawyer-and-chinese-citizen.html

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/08/china-puts-leading-human-rights-lawyer-on-trial-for-inciting-subversion

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/profile/xie-yang

https://www.hrichina.org/en/defenders/xie-yang

https://www.voacantonese.com/a/chinese-human-rights-lawyer-xie-yang/5099363.html (CANTONESE)

N.B. UPDATE 26/09/19:

Lawyer Xie Yang and HRD Chen Yanhui were finally released at 15:00 today 26 September after 14 hours of arbitrary detention in their hotel rooms. The truth of Wang Meiyu’s death remains to be investigated.

謝陽律師和公民陳燕慧在9月26日下午3:00左右已經被釋放, 目前安全。此前他們被非法控制長達14個小時。王美余的死亡真相, 仍有待調查。

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【709人權律師謝陽 被特警通宵控制在房間內】

#UPDATE: 已經成功聯絡謝陽律師與陳燕慧,兩人已經脫離國保的控制

昨晚23:20 謝陽律師及公民陳燕慧在湖南省衡陽市神龍大酒店商量「公民王美余9月23日於衡陽看守所離奇死亡」一案, 突然被衝進來的6名荷槍特警限制在房間裡。

至現時仍然無法聯繫兩人,電話沒有人接聽。王美余家屬亦未能被聯繫上,電話均已停機。
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【Chinese 709 Human Rights Lawyer Xie Yang Detained by Armed Police in Hotel Room】

#UPDATE: We have gotten in touch with Lawyer Xie and Chen, they are both now safe

At 23:20 yesterday evening, Lawyer Xie Yang and citizen Chen Yanhui were discussing the case of the sudden death of citizen Wang Meiyu at Hengyang Detention Centre, which took place on 23rd September. Six armed police officer bursted in and detained the two inside the room.

We have yet to be able to contact Xie and Chen, with calls to their phones going unanswered. We are also unable to contact the family members of Wang Meiyu, as their phones are all out of service.

(China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group / 中國維權律師關注組 Facebook, 26/09/19)