Tag Archives: Front Line Defenders

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://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.










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



Egypt: amidst the crackdown, lawyers are also a target

Letter on arrest Mahienour El-Massry


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



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.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。


【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)

Thailand: Acquittal of seven human rights defenders

OMCT LogoOMCT logo

New information

THA 002 / 0118 / OBS 015.2

Acquittal /
Judicial harassment /

Restrictions on freedom of peaceful assembly

September 20, 2019

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Thailand.

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the acquittal of Mr. Sirawit Seritiwat, Ms. Nattha Mahatthana, Ms. Chonticha Jaengrew, Mr. Karn Phongprapaphan, Mr. Sukrit Piansuwan, and human rights lawyer Mr. Anon Nampa for their involvement in a peaceful demonstration held on February 10, 2018 in Bangkok. All six were charged and prosecuted under Article 116 of the Thai Criminal Code (‘sedition’). They faced up to seven years in prison each (see background information).

According to the information received, on September 20, 2019, at approximately 10:30am, the Bangkok’s Criminal Court found all six defendants not guilty of the sedition charges. The court found that the demonstration was peaceful, there was no chaos, there was no use of weapons, and police had received prior notification of the protest.

The court appearance of a seventh defendant, Mr. Rangsiman Rome, was postponed until mid-2020 in consideration of the parliamentary schedule. Mr. Rangsiman was elected as a member of the House of Representatives in the March 24, 2019 polls.

The seven defendants were among a group of 50 protesters who were also charged with violating Article 12 of National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Order 3/2015, which banned political gatherings of more than four people. All charges with regard to this alleged violation were dropped following the repeal of Article 12 of NCPO Order 3/2015 on July 9, 2019.

The Observatory welcomes the acquittal of Mr. Sirawit Seritiwat, Ms. Nattha Mahatthana, Ms. Chonticha Jaengrew, Mr. Karn Phongprapaphan, Mr. Sukrit Piansuwan, and Mr. Anon Nampa, but recalls that the six should never have been prosecuted in the first place.





Egypt: Over 500 arrested in Egypt since Friday: rights group

September 23, 2019

More than 500 people have been arrested across Egypt since demonstrations broke out in Cairo and other cities, a local rights group said Monday.

Hundreds of Egyptians took to the streets on Friday and Saturday in rare demonstrations calling for the departure of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

“The latest count of those arrested over the events of since Friday in Cairo and other provinces has risen to 516,” the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights said in a statement.

On Sunday, Egyptian authorities also detained an award-winning human rights lawyer after she attended judicial investigations into the arrests of protesters.

A judicial official said Mahienour el-Massry had been placed in pre-trial detention for 15 days on charges of “taking part with a terrorist group to achieve its goals and publishing false news”.

Massry, a political activist and human rights defender, has been tried and jailed twice for taking part herself in demonstrations.

Egypt effectively banned protests under a law passed following Islamist president Mohamed Morsi’s 2013 ouster by the army.

















Egypt: immediately release lawyer Mahienour al-Massry and others arbitrarily detained





https://www.francetvinfo.fr/monde/afrique/politique-africaine/egypte-arrestation-de-l-avocate-et-militante-des-droits-humains-mahinour-el-masry_3628445.html (FRANCAIS)

http://www.lefigaro.fr/flash-actu/manifestations-en-egypte-arrestations-et-sites-perturbes-20190924 (FRANCAIS)

https://news-24.fr/pres-de-400-personnes-arretees-alors-que-legypte-reprime-de-rares-manifestations/ (FRANCAIS)

https://www.mediacongo.net/article-actualite-56901_egypte_les_manifestations_suscitent_une_vague_d_espoirs_et_d_inquietudes.html (FRANCAIS)

https://www.disorient.de/blog/mahienour-el-massry-ein-brief-aus-dem-gefaengnis?fbclid=IwAR27JOqn0TsKEFyDeRe7upBMcRpYTASaBJbE-htukMItQByUvEn8IFw5ews  (DEUTSCH)

https://www.articolo21.org/2019/09/egitto-cresce-londa-della-rivolta-contro-al-sisi-365-arresti-in-tre-giorni/ (ITALIANO)

http://nena-news.it/intervista-egitto-si-protesta-per-le-difficili-condizioni-di-vita/ (ITALIANO)

https://oglobo.globo.com/mundo/mais-de-400-pessoas-sao-presas-em-protestos-no-egito-23968297 (PORTUGUES)

https://www.inews.id/news/internasional/lebih-dari-500-orang-ditangkap-di-mesir-sejak-demonstrasi-melawan-presiden-al-sisi (INDONESIAN)







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القرار بعد التحقيق مع ماهينور: حبسها لاستكمال التحقيقات في القضية ٤٨٨ لسنة ٢٠١٩ أمن دولة، وهي المعروفة إعلاميا بقضية “الزمامير”، حيث دعى البعض للنزول في الشوارع واستخدام الزمامير كشكل للمعارضة.
تم توجيه اتهامات: مشاركة جماعة محظورة ومساعدتها على تحقيق اغراضها و نشر أخبار كاذبة لترويع الرأي العام.
والجدير بالذكر أن ماهينور بالفعل ليس لها أية علاقة بهذه الدعوات
نطالب بالافراج الفوري عن ماهينور التي تم القبض عليها فقط لتأدية عملها كمحامية
State Security Prosecution decides to imprison Mahienour pending a court case known in the media as “Beeps case”, where some people called for using beeping in the streets as a way of protest.
Mahienour is accused of taking part with and helping an illegal group achieve their goals, and spreading false news to terrify the public.

It is worth mentioning that Mahienour has NOTHING to do with these calls.

We call for immediate release of Mahienour, who has only been arrested for doing her work as a lawyer.

(الحرية لماهينور – Free Mahienour Facebook 23/09/19)

Bild der "FreeMahienour"-Kampagne auf Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/freemahienour/)

Egypt: Detention Renweed for Another 45 Days for Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy

September 12, 2019


On 10 September 2019, the Criminal Court of Cairo rejected an appeal from human rights defender Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy, and renewed his detention for an additional 45 days.

On 2 May 2018, Cairo Criminal Court ordered the detention of Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy for 45 days pending further investigation. On 4 December 2017, the detention of human rights defender Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy was extended for a further 15 days, pending investigation by the prosecution. He is currently being held in Aqrab Prison, where he has reported poor detention conditions, lack of adequate food, and lack of adequate medical testing for his anaemia.

Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy is a co-founder and the coordinator of the Association of the Families of the Disappeared in Egypt, a network of individuals whose loved ones have been subjected to enforced or involuntary disappearances. Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy became an active human rights defender working on the issue of enforced disappearances after the disappearance of his son Amr Ibrahim Metwally, who went missing on 8 July 2013. The human rights defender is the attorney in the case of Giulio Regeni, an Italian national who was killed in Egypt under suspicious circumstances. Since 2014, Ibrahim Hegazy has been actively lobbying Egyptian authorities on the issue of enforced disappearances in Egypt.




Algeria: Attempted killing of human rights defender Salah Dabouz

September 11, 2019

Salah Dabouz

On 9 September 2019, human rights defender Salah Dabouz was attacked and stabbed by two masked men in the Chouahin neighbourhood of Ghardaïa in an attempted killing.

Salah Dabouz is a prominent Algerian human rights defender and a defence attorney representing several activists across Algeria. Salah Dabouz previously served as the President of the Ligue Algérienne pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme (Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights, LADDH), an independent association founded in 1985. LADDH works on  documentation of human rights violations in Algeria committed by security services and armed groups. Salah Dabouz is also a member of the Commission on Human Rights of the International Union of Lawyers, and a founding member of the Autonomous Union of Lawyers in Algeria.

On 9 September 2019, during Salah Dabouz’s visit to the city of Ghardaïa, two masked men attempted to kill the human rights defender when they attacked and stabbed him. Previously, Salah Dabouz received a death threat; he submitted a complaint to the Prosecutor’s Office of Ghardaïa on 27 June 2019, but the Algerian Authorities did not respond to the death threat, as no investigation was carried out.


Human rights lawyer stabbed in “attempted murder”

https://www.tsa-algerie.com/derniere-minute-salah-dabouz-victime-dune-agression-a-larme-blanche/ (FRANCAIS)

https://www.observalgerie.com/actualite-algerie/algerie-le-defenseur-des-droits-de-lhomme-salah-dabouz-agresse-a-larme-blanche/ (FRANCAIS)

https://www.huffpostmaghreb.com/entry/maitre-salah-dabouz-agresse-a-l-arme-blanche-par-des-hommes-cagoules-a-ghardaia_mg_5d774809e4b064513573c329 (FRANCAIS)

https://www.elwatan.com/edition/actualite/salah-dabouz-agresse-par-des-individus-cagoules-a-ghardaia-09-09-2019 (FRANCAIS)

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Communiqué 23/2019

Maître Salah Dabouz victime d’une tentative d’assassinat

Monsieur Kacem Soufghalem, militant mzab des adroit de l’homme, ancien compagnon de cellule du docteur Fekhar et ami de Me Dabouz, a rapporté sur sa page Facebook : « Me Salah Dabouz a été victime d’une agression à l’arme blanche dans le quartier chouahin à Ghardaïa. Je viens de le transporter aux urgences. Des hommes cagoulés l’ont agressés selon ses premiers dires ».

Selon M. Soufghalem, Me Salah Dabouz se rendait chez Hadj Brahim Aouf, un autre militant et ami de l’avocat, lorsque deux jeunes hommes cagoulés l’ont attaqué à l’arme blanche. Il a cinq points de sutures sur l’un des bras qui ont été lacérés au couteau, lorsqu’il a tenté de se couvrir le visage. En se défendant, les deux assaillants l’ont jeté à terre. Me Dabouz souffre de blessures et coups violents à la tête.

Ceux qui ont menacés Me Dabouz de mort, il y a quelques mois, à la sortie du tribunal de Ghardaïa dont la plainte est restée sans suite, sont passé à l’action. Me Dabouz vient d’être victime d’une agression par arme blanche à Taghardayt (Ghardaïa). Nous tenons responsables de cette agression les autorités de Taghardayt complices par leur passivité. Ils peuvent même être les commanditaires.

Après avoir éliminé le Docteur Fekhar, ils essayent d’éliminer ceux qui restent et qui refusent de se taire. Ceux qui les dénoncent. Soit vigilant cher ami Kacem. Tu es ciblé toi aussi par la même mafia qui n’a ni âme ni conscience.

Si les deux exécuteurs de la tentative d’assassinat de l’avocat courage, Me Salah Dabouz, ne sont pas connus car encagoulés, les commanditaires, eux, ils sont bien connus. A leur tête le général dictateur Ahmed Gaid-Salah et ses sous-traitants locaux, le Wali Azzeddine Mechri, le procureur général Mohamed Bensalem, Mohamed Bouhrich, Juge d’instruction de la première chambre du tribunal de Taghardayt. Khathir Bouzidaoui, procureur de la république près le tribunal de Taghardayt, Mohamed Fahim, Président de la cour de Taghardayt et de la chambre d’accusation, et bien d’autres.
En effet, quand Me Dabouz avait déclaré qu’il rentrait en grève de la faim, il avait cité parmi les causes, en plus du dénie de justice, la non prise au sérieux de sa plainte contre des menaces de mort qu’il avait reçu devant le tribunal même de Taghardayt, à l’occasion de sa présentation pour signer le contrôle judiciaire auquel il était soumis trois fois par semaine à 600 Km de chez lui.

Nous condamnons énergiquement cette tentative d’assassinat et assurons toute notre solidarité indéfectible à Me Salah Dabouz. Si nous n’avons aujourd’hui que nos mots pour faire face à ces injustices, nous faisons la promesse de tout faire pour poursuivre en justice les criminels responsables de cette agression et de l’assassinat du docteur Fekhar et de tant d’autres crimes.

Paris le 09 septembre 2019
Président d’Izmulen
Mohammed Dabouz

(Izmulen Droits At Mzab Facebook, 10/09/19)