Tag Archives: Human Rights Watch

Iraq: Lawyers Arrested for Work in ISIS Courts

August 10, 2017

A man walks across a street in al-Hamdaniya, Iraq November 25, 2016. Picture taken November 25, 2016. © 2016 Reuters

Iraqi authorities have issued arrest warrants for at least 15 private lawyers since July 24, 2017, on charges of Islamic State (also known as ISIS) affiliation for their past work in ISIS courts, Human Rights Watch said today. While lawyers are not immune from prosecution if they engage in criminal activity, they should not be prosecuted for doing their job as lawyers, nor should the authorities associate them with their clients’ cause simply because they represented them.

All were representing ISIS suspects facing trial in Iraqi courts at the time of their arrest, raising concerns among local lawyers that the warrants were issued to intimidate lawyers defending ISIS suspects. One senior judge told Human Rights Watch that since the warrants were issued, private lawyers had stopped taking cases of any defendants that they believed to be ISIS-affiliated, only taking cases of people they thought were innocent. As a result, only state-appointed lawyers are taking on the cases of those believed to be ISIS-affiliated. Based on interviews with four lawyers, there are serious concerns that the state-appointed lawyers are not providing a robust defense of these clients.

“The authorities should immediately explain why they are detaining and charging these lawyers,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “They need to make it clear that Iraqi lawyers should not be afraid to defend ISIS suspects.”

https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/08/10/iraq-lawyers-arrested-work-isis-courts

http://www.iraqinews.com/features/hrw-iraq-hunt-lawyers-suspected-links-islamic-state/

Turkey: Investigate Ankara Abductions, Disappearances

August 3, 2017

Önder Asan (L), was abducted and secretly detained for 42 days and alleges that he was tortured; Cemil Koçak (C), a former civil servant was abducted in front of his eight-year old son; Mustafa Özben (R), a former teacher and lawyer, was also abducted

(Önder Asan (L), was abducted and secretly detained for 42 days and alleges that he was tortured; Cemil Koçak (C), a former civil servant was abducted in front of his eight-year old son; Mustafa Özben (R), a former teacher and lawyer, was also abducted under similar circumstances. Human Rights Watch has reviewed five cases of possible enforced disappearance by Turkish security forces. )

Turkish authorities should urgently investigate the abduction and possible enforced disappearance of at least four men in Ankara since March 2017, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül.

One of the abducted men, a former teacher, was located in official police custody after 42 days. At least three others were abducted in similar circumstances but their whereabouts remain unknown. The similarities between the abductions and the fact that one of the men was subsequently found in police custody are credible grounds to believe that the men may be victims of enforced disappearances by Turkish security forces or law enforcement agents.

“There are credible grounds to believe that government agents forcibly disappeared the missing men,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The Turkish authorities should promptly uphold their obligation to locate the missing men, who may be in grave danger, secure their release and if they are in custody give them immediate access to a lawyer, and let their families know where they are.”

An enforced disappearance occurs when a person is taken into custody, or otherwise deprived of their liberty by the state or its proxies, but authorities subsequently deny it or refuse to provide information about the person’s whereabouts, placing the victim outside the protection of the law.

https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/08/03/turkey-investigate-ankara-abductions-disappearances

https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/08/03/letter-human-rights-watch-minister-gul

https://turkeypurge.com/hrw-to-turkey-investigate-ankara-abductions-disappearances

https://www.albawaba.com/news/artists-journalists-these-are-people-facing-trial-post-coup-turkey-1005420

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/08/echr-rejects-bid-release-turkey-ozakca-gulmen-170803105241936.html

http://www.euronews.com/2017/08/03/turkish-doctors-slam-rights-court-for-rejecting-hunger-strikers-case