Tag Archives: Germany

China: China’s War on Lawyers

August 16, 2018

Eighty years ago, a beaten and broken man limped into a bathroom of a barracks in the Dachau concentration camp. After five years of torture at the hands of his Nazi captors, fearful that he may finally break and betray his friends, attorney Hans Litten fashioned a noose and hung himself. His “crime” was that as a lawyer in 1931, he put the Nazi party on trial for an attack on a dance hall where a left-wing workers association was meeting. Three people were killed and twenty others injured. During the course of the trial, Litten called Adolf Hitler to the stand and cross-examined him for hours. According to reports, Hitler was so shaken and enraged by the experience that Litten’s name could never be uttered in his presence. As the Nazis ascended to power, Litten turned down opportunities to flee Germany insisting that he needed to stay for his clients. In the hours following the Reichstag fire in 1933, Hitler got his revenge. Litten, at the top of Hitler’s enemies list, was arrested, imprisoned and tortured until his suicide in Dachau in 1938.

Today, it is more important than ever to keep Litten’s memory alive, when governments around the world have declared an unofficial war on lawyers who are fighting for the human rights of their clients. One of the worst offenders is China, who has faced growing international criticism for its actions against human rights attorneys and advocates in the country.

The 709 Crackdown

The repression known as the 709 Crackdown began in July 2015 when 248 human rights lawyers were detained and interrogated for work they had done on behalf of their clients. Charges were filed against a number of those detained for a variety of “crimes” under Chinese law, including “subversion,” which can carry a life sentence, and “subversion of state power,” which can result in up to 15 years in prison. The Chinese government has also suspended law licenses, engaged in enforced disappearances and filed and prosecuted arbitrary criminal cases against human rights defenders in China.

Three years on, according to Amnesty International, of the 248 individuals who were detained, nine were convicted of the “crimes” of “subverting state power,” “inciting subversion of state power” or “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.” Three people were given suspended sentences and one “exempted from criminal punishment” while remaining under surveillance. As of July 2018, four remain imprisoned.




Vietnam: Vietnamese Rights Lawyer Nguyen Van Dai Released, Exiled to Germany

June 7, 2018

Prominent Vietnamese rights lawyer Nguyen Van Dai (C) stands in a courtroom during his trial with other political activists in Hanoi, April 5, 2018.

Prominent Vietnamese rights lawyer Nguyen Van Dai and a fellow member of the Brotherhood for Democracy were released from prison late on Thursday and put on a plane from Hanoi to Germany, members of his banned group and an exile pro-democracy group said.

The release and exile of Dai and colleague Le Thu Ha came about two months after they and four other activists were given lengthy jail sentences for conducting activities aimed at overthrowing the state under Article 79 of Vietnam’s Penal Code.

Dai was sentenced to 15 years in prison and five years of house arrest on April 5, while Ha was sentenced to nine years imprisonment.

According to Viet Tan, an unsanctioned Vietnamese pro-democracy party, Dai, Ha, and Dai’s wife, Vu Minh Khanh, will arrive in Frankfurt Friday morning on a Vietnam Airlines flight from Hanoi.

There was no immediate confirmation of the release from the Vietnamese government or state media, but fellow members of the Brotherhood for Democracy in Vietnam confirmed to RFA’s Vietnamese service that the pair were released and exiled.

“We are heartened that Nguyen Van Dai does not have to endure more years of prison,” said Duy Hoang, spokesperson for Viet Tan.

“However his and other members of the (Brotherhood for Democracy’s) imprisonment by the Vietnamese authorities was arbitrary and illegal in the first place. Nguyen Van Dai should be able to return to Vietnam as a free person at the time of his choosing,” added Hoang.







https://www.voatiengviet.com/a/tin-noi-luat-su-nguyen-van-dai-duoc-phong-thich-sang-duc-/4429793.html (VIETNAMESE)

https://www.nguoi-viet.com/viet-nam/ls-nguyen-van-dai-va-co-le-thu-ha-sang-duc-ti-nan/ (VIETNAMESE)

http://www.idhae.org/OBSAVie180607.htm (FRANCAIS)

https://www.challenges.fr/monde/le-vietnam-libere-deux-dissidents-qui-partent-en-allemagne_592647 (FRANCAIS)

http://www.rfi.fr/asie-pacifique/20180609-vietnam-nguyen-van-dai-libere-exile-allemagne (FRANCAIS)

Turkey/Germany: Turkish gov’t launches probe into German prosecutor over financial support to family of a jailed judge

June 2, 2018

Turkish government has launched an investigation into a German prosecutor and financial support given by the European Association of Judges (EAJ) to the family of Turkish judge Mesut Orta who was jailed over his alleged links to the Gülen movement.

According to a report by blog titled Free Judges, Turkish judge Mesut Orta, about whom a detention warrant was issued but he did not surrender due to arbitrary unlawfulnesses in Turkey, applied for financial support especially for his family when he remained at large, making contact with the EAJ via e-mail. The correspondences as to the financial support given by EAJ were revealed from the computer records of judge Orta, seized when he was detained.

Accordingly, it was found out that 1300 euro was transferred to the bank account of Judge Orta’s wife by means of two separate transactions by Stuttgart prosecutor P.S. who is a member of EAJ as well. The media outlets under the control of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan alleged that German prosecutor provided help for judge Orta so that he was able to hide out.

Judge Orta, held under pre-trial detention arbitrarily over terrorism charges, is being accused this time of the financial support he took from the EAJ. According to the reports taking place in press, beside judge Orta, EAJ and Stutgart prosecutor P.S., leading to this fund transfer, have been also included into this investigation.

The Turkish government has arrested a total of 2,431 judges and prosecutors and dismissed 4,424 others since a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016, a Constitutional Court general assembly ruling revealed on early August 2017.







China: Wife of detained Chinese lawyer barred from travelling

May 31, 2018

Xu Yan

The wife of a detained Chinese human rights lawyer said Thursday that she has been prevented from leaving her neighborhood, the latest apparent case of extra-legal harassment of those who fall afoul of the ruling Communist Party.

Xu Yan tweeted that she had been followed from her apartment by police officers who stopped her leaving by taxi by telling the drivers not to take her.

“I asked ‘Why am I being restricted?'” Xu wrote. She said the officers said they didn’t know, nor were they aware of who had authorized the measures or how long they were to be enforced.

Xu’s husband, Yu Wensheng, was grabbed by police on Jan. 19 while preparing to take his 13-year-old son to school and has been charged with the loosely defined crime of inciting subversion against the one-party authoritarian Communist state.

During a visit to Beijing last week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel met privately with Xu and Li Wenzhu, the wife of another detained lawyer, Wang Quanzhang.





China/Germany: In China, Angela Merkel Meets Wife of Detained Human Rights Lawyer

May 25, 2018

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Xu Yan, wife of jailed human rights attorney Yu Wensheng, in undated recent photo.

German chancellor Angela Merkel has met with the wife of a Chinese rights lawyer detained incommunicado for several months, during her trip to China.

Merkel met with Xu Yan, wife of rights attorney Yu Wensheng, who was initially placed under criminal detention on Jan. 19, on suspicion of “obstructing public servants in the course of their duties,” Xu and rights activists said via social media.

“The two sides exchanged views on the #HumanRights situation in China,” Amnesty International research William Nee translated one tweet as saying.

After his detention, Yu was transferred from Beijing to Jiangsu’s Xuzhou city with the addition of the more serious charge of “incitement to subvert state power,” and has been held since with no access to a defense lawyer, or family visits.

Yu has been identified by London based rights group Amnesty International as being “at risk of torture” while he remains in incommunicado detention.

Repeated calls to Xu’s phone rang unanswered on Friday.

Beijing-based rights activist Ni Yulan, a friend and supporter of Xu’s, said she may be keeping a low profile while Merkel, who is leading a large business delegation on this visit, remains in the country.









https://www.rtbf.be/info/monde/detail_chine-angela-merkel-a-rencontre-a-pekin-les-epouses-d-avocats-en-detention?id=9929563 (FRANCAIS)

http://www.rfi.fr/europe/20180528-chine-allemagne-merkel-rencontre-epouses-avocats-emprisonnes (FRANCAIS)

https://www.la-croix.com/Monde/Merkel-rencontre-Pekin-epouses-avocats-detention-2018-05-28-1300942272 (FRANCAIS)

http://www.fr.de/wirtschaft/china-wer-widerspricht-verschwindet-a-1511234 (DEUTSCH)

https://www.aargauerzeitung.ch/ausland/menschenrechtslage-in-china-nur-noch-merkel-setzt-sich-fuer-inhaftierte-dissidenten-ein-132602581 (DEUTSCH)

http://www.sueddeutsche.de/politik/merkel-in-china-humanitaet-im-hausarrest-1.3991217 (DEUTSCH)

https://www.rfa.org/mandarin/yataibaodao/renquanfazhi/yl-05252018120039.html (CHINESE)

Image may contain: 1 person, text

Turkey/Germany: Gastprofessur angetreten – trotz Ausreiseverbot


Die türkische Menschenrechtsaktivistin Istar Gözaydin Savasir ist die aktuelle Leibniz-Professorin der Universität Leipzig. Aufgrund ihrer angeblichen Nähe zur Gülen-Bewegung darf sie jedoch nicht nach Deutschland ausreisen. Ihre Antrittsvorlesung hielt sie trotzdem – via Skype.

Die türkische Gastprofossorin Istar Gözaydin Savasir ist für ihre Antrittsvorlesung an der Universität Leipzig via Skype zugeschaltet (Dr. Katarina Werneburg/Universität Leipzig)

Uni Leipzig, gestern Abend, 18 Uhr. Rund 70 Zuhörer drängen sich in den kleinen Raum in der Research Academy. Alle Stühle sind belegt, nur der Platz in der ersten Reihe, reserviert für die türkische Professorin Istar Gözaydin Savasir, bleibt leer.

“Good evening, kollegues, the audience, I wish I could be there, however the conditions in turkey do not allow me.”

Auf zwei Mal einem Meter erscheint Gözaydins Gesicht auf einem großen Bildschirm. Während sie zu den Leipziger Studierenden spricht, sitzt sie im türkischen Ankara vor ihrem Computer. Manchmal wackelt das Bild, dann bricht ihre Stimme weg. Das Internet schwächelt, während sie über die Türkei referiert. Die 59-Jährige ist Expertin, was die politischen und religiösen Strömungen ihres Heimatlandes angeht. Sie studierte Jura in den USA, lehrte unter anderem der Technischen Universität Istanbul.

“Ich versuche zu analysieren, welche Schritte zu dem autoritären Regime geführt haben, was wir heute in der Türkei haben. Die Türkei kämpft derzeit mit der Demokratie, mit Prozessen und Institutionen, die seit dem 18. Jahrhundert das Land modernisieren. Es gab viele Auf und Abs – die letzten 15,16 Jahre aber waren in diesem Sinne die dramatischsten.”




Image may contain: Istar Gozaydin, indoor

Image may contain: table

Dün akşam Leipzig Üniversitesi’de dönemin açılış konuşmasını yaptım: bu dönemin Leibniz profesörü olarak. Ama tabii bizzat gidemediğimden teknoloji aracılığıyla…

Yesterday I did the inaugural speech for Summer semester of Leipzig University as the Leibniz professor. Unfortunately it was via technology due to my obstacle in travelling abroad!

(Facebook, 16/05/18)


Image may contain: text

+++ Leibniz-Professorin İştar Gözaydın hält Antrittsvorlesung +++

Die neue Leibniz-Professorin İştar Gözaydın spricht heute um 18 Uhr in der Villa Tillmanns zum Thema “The desire was there”.
Die Professorin für Politik und Rechtswissenschaften ist nicht nur eine international renommierte Wissenschaftlerin, sondern zugleich eine der Gründer der Menschenrechtsorganisation Helsinki Citizens Assembly in der Türkei.
Weitere Informationen gibt es hier: www.ral.uni-leipzig.de/

(Research Academy Leipzig Facebook, 15/05/18)


Turkey/Germany: Türkei verbietet Gast-Professorin die Ausreise


Istar Gözaydin Savasir, 59, Leibniz-Professorin des Sommersemesters 2018.

Die Juristin Istar Gözaydin Savasir darf nicht die Türkei verlassen, um im Sommersemester an der Universität Leipzig zu forschen und lehren. Die 59-jährige Wissenschaftlerin und Menschenrechtsaktivistin sollte im April für ein Semester die Leibniz-Professur antreten. Mit dem Hinweis auf ein schwebendes Verfahren erhält sie von ihrem Heimatland aber keinen Reisepass. Die bereits verschobene Antrittsvorlesung wird Mitte Mai notfalls über Skype nachgeholt.

Gözaydin Savasir saß von Dezember 2016 bis April 2017 in Untersuchungshaft. Vor zwei Monaten sprach sie ein Gericht vom Vorwurf frei, Mitglied einer terroristischen Vereinigung zu sein. Der Staatsanwalt ist jedoch in Berufung gegangen. Die Rechts- und Politikwissenschaftlerin spricht von einem kafkaesken Verfahren: „ohne Argumente, ohne Beweise“. Lediglich ihre potenzielle „Entschlossenheit, ein Verbrechen zu begehen“ führe die Strafverfolgungsbehörde an. „Als hätte ich ein paar Morde begangen und daraus eine Gewohnheit gemacht!“

Monika Wohlrab-Sahr, Direktorin des Leibniz-Programms, bedauert die Situation fachlich wie menschlich: „Für sie selbst ist es fürchterlich. Sie ist freigesprochen und trotzdem gefangen.“ Für das Forschungsprojekt „Multiple Secularities“ über Wechselwirkungen zwischen Religion und anderen gesellschaftlichen Sphären habe man sich wertvolle Einblicke von ihr erhofft. „Ihre Arbeiten zum institutionellen Verhältnis von Religion und Politik in der Türkei gelten als grundlegend“, so Wohlrab-Sahr. „Gleichzeitig mischt sie sich kritisch in politische Debatten ein und tritt für Menschenrechtsfragen und Rechtsstaatlichkeit ein.“ Als man sich entschlossen habe, Gözaydin Savasir zu berufen, habe man von der Anklage gewusst. „Aber wir wollten ein Zeichen setzen, und sie keinesfalls allein aus dem Grund nicht berufen, dass ihr ein Prozess gemacht wird.“


https://odatv.com/istar-gozaydin-beraat-etti-3101181200.html (TURKCE)

https://tr.sputniknews.com/turkiye/201801311032054377-istar-gozaydin-beraat-etti/ (TURKCE)

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/profile/istar-gozaydin (ENGLISH)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C4%B0%C5%9Ftar_G%C3%B6zayd%C4%B1n (ENGLISH)

N.B. Istar Gözaydin received a guest professorship at a university in Germany (Leipzig), but because she is banned from travelling outside of Turkey she cannot take up the position, which was supposed to start now.

Image may contain: Istar Gozaydin, smiling