Tag Archives: HRW

Tajikistan: How EU Should Tackle Tajikistan Crackdown

October 10, 2017

2015-9-eca-tajikistan-IRPT

Last time the European Union and Tajikistan held high-level talks on human rights in summer 2016, Tajik authorities were in the midst of the worst crackdown in the country’s recent history. Six days before talks took place, the country’s supreme court had sentenced the leaders of Tajikistan’s leading opposition party, the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan to cruelly long prison sentences. The trials were politically motivated, and the defendants tortured. There was no evidence of the activists’ involvement in non-peaceful activities.

This Thursday, the human rights dialogue will once again take place in Tajikistan’s capital, Dushanbe. But this year, things are even worse.

More than 150 political activists, including at least three human rights lawyers – Shuhrat Kudratov, Buzurgmehr Yorov, and Nuriddin Makhkamov – remain unjustly jailed. Kudratov, who’s already served three years, was to have been released last year but authorities kept him behind bars.  And just last week information surfaced that Yorov – who along with Makhkamov is serving 25 years – has been brutally beaten by prison guards recently and thrown into solitary.

https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/10/10/how-eu-should-tackle-tajikistan-crackdown

https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/10/12/greece-tajik-activist-faces-extradition

https://www.rferl.org/a/eu-accused-of-weak-statement-after-human-rights-visit-tajikistan/28794296.html

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The Philippines: International Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL) Monitoring Committee on Attacks on Lawyers Preliminary Report on Lawyers Killed Under Duterte’s “Law and Order” Presidency

August 17, 2017

Gill Boehringer, Stuart Russell and Kristian Boehringer

On August 15, 2017 yet another lawyer was killed in the Philippines. This makes 10 since Rodrigo Duterte began his term of office as President on July 1, 2016. The International Association of Peoples’ Lawyers has been monitoring killings, and other attacks, on lawyers in the Philippines as well as countries around the globe. We presently list 115 countries where there have been credible reports of attacks on lawyers in recent years. In the Philippines the number of lawyers killed since January 1999 is about 130.

President Duterte came to the Presidency with a substantial vote (about 40%) in a large field of candidates. He was a surprise winner as he had no experience as a national political figure and, in the manner of the winner of the recent USA Presidential election, Donald Trump, campaigned on a populist program that included a strong focus on law and order. Duterte promised to reduce crime and corruption, and to eliminate the drug problem in the country in his first six months. That goal eluded him so he asked for another six months to complete the job. That extension expired with the war on drugs raging. Recently he has admitted he cannot finish the job in his six-year term, but assured the people that it would “ruthlessly” continue to the end of his tenure.

Despite his failure on the drugs front, Duterte claims, on the basis of statistics from the Philippine National Police indicating that the crime rate is trending down, that his promise to make the people feel safe on the streets again has been fulfilled. Whether the police statistics are accurate and comprehensive, and how to interpret them is beyond the scope of this preliminary report. To answer the questions that arise from those statistics would, at the least, require an investigation into citizen willingness to report crime (and other issues about crime statistics well known to criminologists) given the fear of reprisals from corrupt police and “vigilantes” in the context of the “drug war”. According to Dean Chel Diokno of Manila’s La Salle University Law School, that war has taken the lives of an estimated 10-12 thousand victims, most of whom were executed because they were suspected of being a drug user or pusher.

draft iapl report re duterte lawyer killings aug 17 final

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/08/17/1730083/amnesty-international-duterte-government-going-new-depths-barbarity

http://bulatlat.com/main/2017/08/17/grave-numbers-continued-killing-legacy-duterte/

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-philippines-drugs-idUSKCN1AX0BO

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/08/death-toll-continues-rise-duterte-war-drugs-170817044816257.html

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/16/philippines-police-bloodiest-night-duterte-war-drugs

https://www.cfr.org/interview/human-rights-and-dutertes-war-drugs

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/08/18/1730371/58-dead-3-days-renewed-philippine-anti-drug-bloodshed#undefined.gbpl

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/17/human-rights-watch-philippines-president-duterte-threat

http://www.omct.org/human-rights-defenders/urgent-interventions/philippines/2017/08/d24490/

http://www.courrierinternational.com/article/philippines-des-raids-meurtriers-de-la-police-salues-par-le-president?utm_campaign=Echobox&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook#link_time=1502978023 (FRANCAIS)

https://www.amnesty.org/es/latest/news/2017/08/philippines-32-killed-in-a-day-as-dutertes-war-on-drugs-hits-new-levels-of-barbarity/ (ESPANOL)

Israel/Palestine: HRW denounces Israeli military court system amid trial of Palestinian activists

July 16, 2017

International NGO Human Rights Watch has reiterated its condemnation of the Israeli military court system, amid the ongoing trial of two Palestinian human rights defenders facing charges related to their activism.

Issa Amro, founder of the Hebron-based group Youth Against Settlements, and Hebron-based lawyer Farid al-Atrash, who is the head of the southern division of Palestinian statutory watchdog Independent Commission of Human Rights, were both arrested for participating in a peaceful protest in February 2016.
They were later charged with “demonstrating without license,” “entering a closed military zone,” “incitement,” and “obstructing an officer.”
The march in question commemorated the 22 years since extremist American-born Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein opened fire on Muslim Palestinian worshipers, killing 29 and injuring more than 120 in Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque in 1994.
The demonstration also called for the reopening of al-Shuhada street, which was shut down soon after the massacre, and called for the removal of discriminatory restrictions on movement placed on Palestinians in the city.
Al-Atrash has vehemently denied charges claiming he attacked Israeli soldiers, with video footage of the arrest showing him standing and holding a poster peacefully in front of Israeli soldiers when he was pushed, dragged, and then violently arrested by a number of soldiers.

https://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=778129

http://www.timesofisrael.com/israeli-military-trial-begins-for-prominent-palestinian-activist/

https://in.news.yahoo.com/israel-begins-trial-against-palestinian-031629884.html

China: Chinese Rights Lawyer Still Jailed After Sentence Suspended

May 1, 2017

Chinese human rights lawyer, Li Heping.

The politically motivated case against prominent Chinese human rights lawyer Li Heping has reached a new low. On April 28, a court in Tianjin found Li guilty of “subversion of state power” and handed him a three-year suspended sentence. But the real kicker is that despite the suspended sentence, the authorities haven’t released Li, nor said where he is and when they plan to do so.

Li allegedly “used foreign funding” to “attempt to instigate discontent towards [China’s] social system among some people who do not know the facts.” It is not clear what funds the court was referring to, but shrewd netizens quickly noted the court’s hypocrisy – a 2015 Supreme Court report in which the court boasted of having received funding from the British government for rule of law research. “How come you people are not subverting state power?” human rights lawyer Zhang Lei asked.

While strangers were allowed to attend Li’s verdict announcement, his family was not even informed of it, or his secret trial on April 25. Li’s lawyer – assigned by the police after they forced Li to fire the lawyers his family chose for him – was also not in the courtroom. Instead, that lawyer traveled with the police to Beijing to help them pressure Li’s wife, Wang Qiaoling, to go to Tianjin to meet with Li, whom she has not seen since he was detained in July 2015.

https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/05/01/chinese-rights-lawyer-still-jailed-after-sentence-suspended

Thailand: Rights Lawyer Feared ‘Disappeared’

May 2, 2017

Thailand: Rights Lawyer Feared ‘Disappeared’ PHOTO

The Thai government should immediately disclose the whereabouts of Prawet Prapanukul, a prominent human rights lawyer and critic of the monarchy, who has been missing since security forces raided his Bangkok home on April 29, 2017, Human Rights Watch said today. Authorities have not acknowledged his arrest and detention, raising grave concerns that he is the victim of an enforced disappearance.

“The Thai junta should urgently disclose Prawet’s whereabouts and release him if he hasn’t been charged with a credible offense,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “Secretly detaining rights lawyers, critics of the monarchy, and other dissidents has created a climate of fear in Thailand that is generating international outrage.”

Officers of the ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) junta, together with soldiers from the 1st Infantry Division and police from Bangkok’s Bang Khen Police Station, carried out a morning raid on Prawet’s house. An official receipt shows that Prawet’s computers, hard drives, flash drives, mobile telephones, CDs containing political programs, and various political T-shirts were confiscated. However, there is no official notification that Prawet was arrested or is in state custody.

https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/05/02/thailand-rights-lawyer-feared-disappeared

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-thailand-rights-idUSKBN18007Y?il=0

https://www.rappler.com/world/regions/asia-pacific/168783-thai-royal-defamation-jail-sentence

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/news/national/30314158

http://www.jurist.org/paperchase/2017/05/thailand-human-rights-lawyer-charged-for-insulting-royal-family.php

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/crime/1243706/rights-group-slams-six-arrests

https://asiancorrespondent.com/2017/05/thailand-end-arbitrary-detention-activists-un/#wTFFBU1slv5Zwsgg.97

The United Nations Human Rights Office for South-East Asia (OHCHR) urges the Thai Government to halt the practice of arbitrary detention of political activists, and to immediately release six people recently charged with criticising authorities.
On 29 April 2017, two political activists – Mr. Danai Tibsuya, a former military officer from Chiang Mai, and Mr. , a Bangkok-based lawyer – were arrested and detained by the military under the lese-majeste law for criticising the King on Facebook. The two men were taken to an unknown location.
On 4 May 2017, the two activists and four other individuals were paraded at a media conference held at the Royal Thai Police’s Technology Crime Suppression Division. The six individuals were charged under the lese-majeste law. Two also face a charge under the Computer Crime Act. Mr. Prawet was also charged under the sedition law reportedly for criticising the Prime Minister. The accused are currently being held at the Bangkok Remand Prison. None of the activists have been given access to legal representatives and their families.
“I am very concerned at the sharp increase in the use of the lese-majeste law after the 2014 coup, with more than 70 people detained or convicted.” said Laurent Meillan, the acting Regional Representative. He added that the UN human rights mechanisms repeatedly stated that the implementation of the law ran contrary to fundamental rights of freedom of expression and opinion.
The UN Human Rights Office is also concerned about the use of incommunicado detention. In March 2017, Thailand was reviewed by the UN Human Rights Committee which raised concerns that individuals had been arrested and detained at undisclosed places without access to lawyers. It recommended that Thailand immediately bring its legislation and practices into compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

(UN Human Rights – Asia Facebook)

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/news/opinion/today_editorial/30314764

http://www.khaosodenglish.com/politics/2017/05/10/professor-law-grad-teacher-among-6-charged-lese-majeste/

https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/thailand-six-charged-over-historians-facebook-post

http://www.bfmtv.com/international/accuse-d-avoir-diffame-la-famille-royale-un-avocat-thailandais-risque-150-ans-de-prison-1156297.html (FRANCAIS)

http://www.bd.nl/tilburg/tijdelijk-in-tilburg-wonende-thaise-advocate-krijgt-prijs-voor-moedig-werk~a03ee9d3/ (DUTCH)