Tag Archives: Human Rights Watch

Nicaragua: Nicaragua Urged to End Harassment of Attorneys Defending Political Prisoners

July 18, 2019

The court also reminded the Nicaraguan State that “hindering the work of advocates, as well as ignoring the provisional measures determined by the Inter-American Court, constitute incompliance with your international obligations.”

This Tuesday, July 17, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights posted on Twitter that they “urge an end to the harassment” of human rights defenders in Nicaragua.  The post referred to a recent episode where some six police patrol cars surrounded the building where the Defensores del Pueblo [People’s Defenders] have their office. The group is made up of lawyers who defend the political prisoners of Daniel Ortega’s regime.

They also reminded the State of Nicaragua that “hindering the work of [human rights] defenders, as well as disregarding the provisional measures determined by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, constitute acts of incompliance with your international obligations.”

The siege mounted against the lawyers began around 8:40 a.m. when six patrol vehicles, carrying some thirty members of the Police special forces, stationed themselves along the two access routes to the attorney’s offices, essentially surrounding the installations. The offices, located in the Los Robles sector of Managua, are coordinated by Dr. Julio Montenegro.

Later, one of the police commanders began to take photos and videos of those entering and leaving the building. They also detained and took data from vehicles attempting to enter the access roads that lead to the back part of the building, Montenegro denounced.

According to Montenegro, the siege occurred because the lawyers were receiving five people who had been involved in the occupation of the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN) in Managua between May and July of 2018.  These five were in the building to file a complaint regarding another five people who were detained the previous week.  One of these recent detainees, from the town of Sebaco, Matagalpa, is missing.

Nicaragua Urged to End Harassment of Attorneys Defending Political Prisoners





http://www.canal10.com.ni/accion-10/julio-montenegro-exige-a-las-autoridades-informacion-sobre-edward-lacayo-53258 (ESPANOL)

https://ecodiario.eleconomista.es/global/noticias/10002174/07/19/Nicaraguenses-exigen-justicia-en-entierro-de-opositor-muerto-en-operativo-policial.html (ESPANOL)

https://maje.com.ni/entonces/3117-lado-humano-julio-montenegro-abogado-defensor-mani/ (ESPANOL)

https://www.laprensa.com.ni/2019/06/24/nacionales/2563022-abogado-julio-montenegro-pide-reprogramacion-de-juicio-para-periodista (ESPANOL)

https://maje.com.ni/entonces/3115-julio-montenegro-oea-nicaragua-podemos-identificar/ (ESPANOL)

Russia/Crimea: Crimean Tatars Face Unfounded Terrorism Charges

July 12, 2019

Crimean Tatar activists protest politically motivated arrests of terrorism charges in Moscow’s Red Square on July 10, 2019.

Russian authorities have brought unfounded terrorism charges against 24 Crimean Tatars, 20 of whom were arrested during heavily armed raids on their homes in the spring of this year, Human Rights Watch said today. Security officers tortured four of the men, denied lawyers access to search sites, planted evidence, and later briefly detained two activists who spoke out on behalf of the arrested men.

Crimean Tatars are a Muslim ethnic minority indigenous to the Crimean Peninsula. Many openly oppose Russia’s occupation, which began in 2014.The crackdown in the spring of 2019 is the latest in a pattern of repression to smear peaceful activists as terrorists and to stifle dissent in occupied Crimea. Russian authorities should release the activists and stop misusing the country’s overly broad counterterrorism legislation to stifle freedom of opinion, expression, and religion.

“Russian authorities seek to portray Crimean Tatars who oppose Russia’s occupation as ‘terrorists’ and ‘extremists,’” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The Russian authorities in Crimea are using terrorism charges as a convenient tool of repression.”

Human Rights Watch visited Crimea from May 17 to 20 and interviewed 16 relatives of 9 of those arrested, 5 lawyers representing some of them, and a leading activist with Crimean Solidarity, which provides aid to families of individuals arrested on politically motivated charges. Human Rights Watch also examined some legal documents and seven search sites, including the places where banned books or brochures had been allegedly planted. One lawyer, who is based in Moscow, was interviewed by phone.


Most of the 24 men arrested were active in Crimean Solidarity, a loose association of human rights lawyers, relatives, and supporters of victims of political repression. All have been charged with association with Hizb ut-Tahrir (Party of Liberation), the controversial pan-Islamist movement that is banned in Russia as a “terrorist” organization but is legal in Ukraine. Hizb ut-Tahrir seeks the establishment of a caliphate but does not espouse violence to achieve its goals.





Faces of the Crimean Solidarity group who Russia baselessly arrested as “terrorists”



Turkey: Turkey must rebuild trust in judiciary, protect human rights – CoE commissioner

July 8, 2019


The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic has called on Turkey to urgently take measures to re-establish trust in its judiciary and repair the rule of law, which was damaged during two years of emergency rule following the July 2016 coup attempt.

Constitutional changes regarding the Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) made during the two-year state of emergency “are in clear contradiction with Council of Europe standards,” Mijatovic said following a five-day visit to Turkey.

“The suspension of ordinary safeguards and procedures for the dismissal, recruitment and appointment of judges and prosecutors’’ were an additional cause for concern, she said.

Turkey’s state of emergency came into effect on July 20, 2016, days after the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government survived a coup attempt.

The state of emergency allowed the government to issue decree laws, bypassing legislative and judicial procedures. Over 77,000 people have been arrested and another 150,000 civil servants, military personnel and others have been fired from the government as part of a crackdown by Ankara following the failed putsch.



Threats to the rule of law in Europe

EU accuses Turkey for violating human rights by opening Gezi protests trial

9 Turkish judges, prosecutors suspended over alleged Gülen links

CoE calls on Turkey to repair damage to Turkish judiciary inflicted by state of emergency

https://www.protect-lawyers.com/fr/compte-rendu-presentation-du-rapport-de-human-rights-watch-sur-la-situation-des-avocats-en-turquie/ (FRANCAIS)

https://www.union-syndicale-magistrats.org/web2/fr/soutien-collegues-turcs_news_1295 (FRANCAIS)

Tajikistan: Oral statement to Human Rights Committee

July 1, 2019

Oral statement to Human Rights Committee

Today Lawyers for Lawyers delivered an oral statement during the 126th session of the Human Rights Committee for the review of Tajikistan’s compliance with it’s international human rights obligations. In July 2018, Lawyers for Lawyers submitted a submission for the List of Issues for this review, to inform the Committee about the situation of lawyers in Tadzjikistan.


Lawyers for Lawyers highlighted the failure of the authorities of the Republic of Tajikistan to ensure that all persons have effective and equal access to legal services provided by an independent legal profession.

Firstly, The legal profession lacks institutional independence. The admission to and the continued practice within the legal profession is controlled by the executive branch. The 2015 Law “On Advokatura and Advocates’ Activities” requires all lawyers to renew their accreditation and go through a new examination process, which must be redone every five years. Since the reform, the number of licensed lawyers in Tajikistan has fallen precipitously. This seems detrimental to access to justice. The process also carries the risk of misuse by authorities seeking to exclude or disbar lawyers.

Secondly, professional rights and privileges of lawyers who are still able to practice law are violated. Lawyers are repeatedly denied access to clients in detention and to appropriate information. Lawyer-client confidentiality and lawyers’ rights to freedom of expression and association are not respected. Furthermore, lawyers involved in sensitive cases are identified with their clients or their clients’ causes. These lawyers have been subjected to intimidation, harassment as well as arbitrary arrests, prosecutions and convictions. Some of them are now in prison after closed, unfair trials, or were forced to flee the country due to fears of reprisal. An emblematic case is the prosecution of Buzurgmehr Yorov, who is serving a combined sentence of 28 years in prison. As a result of these problems, lawyers are unable to provide effective legal representation.

Oral statement to Human Rights Committee



Tajikistan: ICJ calls for immediate release of imprisoned lawyer

UN committee offers grim view Tajikistan’s human rights record




China: Lawyers key to the rule of law – even China agrees but only lip service

June 26, 2019

Lawyers have an essential role in upholding the Constitution and realising the rule of law – at the Human Rights Council 41st session this week, even China agreed. So why does the Chinese government continue to harass, intimidate and persecute lawyers who defend human rights ask 4 NGOs on 25 June 2019: Lawyers for Lawyers, International Bar Association, International Service for Human Rights and Lawyer’s Rights Watch Canada. In a joint statement the NGOs call on the UN expert on independence of judges and lawyers, and the Council and its members, to press for accountability. 

‘The Chinese delegation recognised the need for balance in regulation between lawyers’ and judges’ rights, on the one hand, and their professional responsibilities, on the other hand’,says Sarah M Brooks, Asia Advocate at ISHR. ‘But it is hard to take this claim seriously, as Chinese authorities continue to adopt  abusive laws and measures, using them as a “sledgehammer” to restrict fundamental freedoms’.

This includes in particular lawyer Jiang Tianyong, who – since his nominal release from prison on 28 February 2019 – has been subject to invasive surveillance, restrictions on his freedom of movement, and refusal of independent medical exams. Worse, he is unnecessarily and inhumanely kept from joining his family in the U.S.

Lawyers key to the rule of law – even China agrees but only lip service



Joint oral statement to Human Rights Council

Lawyer Jiang Tianyong Freed From Prison but Not Free, Health Deteriorating



https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jiang_Tianyong (FRANCAIS)

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Tajikistan: UN Group Calls On Tajik Government To Release Imprisoned Rights Lawyer

June 6, 2019

Buzurgmehr Yorov was one of the very few lawyers in Tajikistan willing to defend people the government considered opponents.

A UN agency is calling on authorities in Tajikistan to free lawyer Buzurgmehr Yorov from prison, saying Yorov’s rights have been consistently violated since the moment of his detention.

Yorov was one of the very few lawyers in Tajikistan willing to defend people the Tajik government considered opponents. Yorov was also a vocal critic of rights abuses.

In September 2015, Yorov agreed to represent 13 high-ranking members of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT). The IRPT had been represented in the Tajik government until March of that year, when it lost its last two seats in parliament. By late August, a Tajik court had banned the party; then, in September, following an armed conflict between government forces and a group loyal to the country’s deputy defense minister, a Tajik court declared the IRPT an extremist group and arrested the members of the party’s leadership who were still in the country. The authorities never publicly offered compelling evidence to substantiate accusations of links between the mutinous deputy defense minister and the IRPT.

On September 26, 2015, Yorov met with one of his clients. Two days later, he made a public statement saying his client was being tortured. Later that same day, Yorov was taken into custody. On October 6, 2016, a court in Tajikistan found Yorov and fellow human rights lawyer Nuriddin Makhamov guilty of fraud, swindling, arousing national, racial, local, or religious hostility, and extremism, and gave them long prison sentences.

Yorov was put on trial two more times with additional time added to his sentence, eventually totaling 28 years.


WGAD decision on detention Yorov



Tajikistan: ICJ calls for immediate release of imprisoned lawyer

UN committee offers grim view Tajikistan’s human rights record

https://akhbor-rus.com/-p2321-161.htm (RUSSIAN)

Morocco/Spain: Sahara : Morocco expels seven people, including five Spanish lawyers

May 20, 2019

Five Spanish lawyers were expelled, Sunday, by the Moroccan authorities after they arrived at Laayoune airport, Europa Press reports.

Maria Dolores Travieso, a lawyer defended pro-Polisario activist Aminatou Haidar in the past, Ruth Sebastian Garcia, Lourdes Baron, Ramon Campos and Sidi Mohamed Taleb Buya were accompanied by two Norwegian observers from an NGO called Rafto, said the agency.

These seven people went to the Sahara as «observers for the trial of Nezha Khalidi, who is affiliated to Equipe Media group in Laayoune».

The decision of the Moroccan authorities was denounced, Sunday, by pro-Polisario platform Futuro Sahara.

On Thursday, New York-based NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) slammed the Moroccan authorities in a statement, for «using a law designed to keep people from falsely claiming professional credentials to bring criminal charges against people trying to expose abuses».






https://www.abogacia.es/2019/05/20/el-consejo-general-de-la-abogacia-protesta-por-la-expulsion-de-marruecos-de-una-delegacion-de-abogados-observadores-de-derechos-humanos/ (ESPANOL)

https://www.lavanguardia.com/vida/20190520/462372686147/el-consejo-general-de-la-abogacia-protesta-por-la-expulsion-injustificada-de-cinco-espanoles-del-sahara.html (ESPANOL)

https://www.elespanol.com/espana/politica/20190520/incertidumbre-habitacion-sotano-retenido-abogados-espanoles/399960836_0.html (ESPANOL)

https://www.cope.es/actualidad/internacional/noticias/cinco-abogados-espanoles-retenidos-marruecos-mas-horas-20190520_417982 (ESPANOL)

https://www.elconfidencial.com/espana/2019-05-19/marruecos-prohibe-sahara-abogados-espanoles_2009886/ (ESPANOL)

https://telquel.ma/2019/05/20/sept-observateurs-europeens-expulses-par-les-autorites-a-laayoune_1639018/?utm_source=tq&utm_medium=normal_post (FRANCAIS)

https://www.yabiladi.com/articles/details/78500/sahara-maroc-expulse-sept-personnes.html (FRANCAIS)

https://www.lesiteinfo.com/maroc/le-maroc-expulse-cinq-avocats-espagnols/ (FRANCAIS)

https://www.algeriepatriotique.com/2019/05/20/sept-observateurs-internationaux-expulses-par-le-maroc/ (FRANCAIS)

https://www.huffpostmaghreb.com/entry/un-groupe-davocats-espagnols-et-norvegiens-detenus-au-maroc-depuis-plus-de-24-heures_mg_5ce2b320e4b09e0578088d23 (FRANCAIS)

https://www.bladna.nl/marokko-spanjaarden-noren-uitzetting,25505.html (NEDERLAND)