Tag Archives: Human Rights Watch

India: Bhima Koregaon violence: Amnesty, Human Rights Watch call activists’ arrests ‘politically motivated’

June 25, 2018

They said the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act should be repealed.

Bhima Koregaon violence: Amnesty, Human Rights Watch call activists’ arrests ‘politically motivated’

India should stop arresting Dalit rights activists, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said in a joint statement on Monday. The rights organisations called the recent arrests of five activists by the Pune Police “politically motivated”, and said the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act should be repealed.

Five activists – Rona Wilson, Sudhir Dhawale, Mahesh Raut, Shoma Sen and Surendra Gadling – were arrested on June 6 for alleged links to the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

The police arrested them after raids at their homes and offices while investigating an event held on December 31 to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon. The police claimed that speeches the accused made at the event led to violent clashes between Dalits and Marathas a day later, and that the programme was funded by Maoists.

“This is not the first time that activists working on Dalit and Adivasi rights have been arrested with little evidence,” Amnesty International India chief Aakar Patel said.


Lawyer arrested for ‘Maoist’ links remanded to magisterial custody till July 4






http://www.haribhoomi.com/news/surendra-gadling-has-been-sent-to-judicial-custody-till-4-july-accused-in-bhima-koregaon-violence (HINDI)

https://money.udn.com/money/story/5641/3219222 (CHINESE)


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Belarus: Joint NGO Letter on Belarus: UN Human Rights Body Should Renew the Mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur

June 18, 2018

Human Rights Watch

To Permanent Representatives of Member and Observer States of the UN Human Rights Council



We, the undersigned international human rights organizations, urge your delegation to support the renewal of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Belarus under Item 4 at the United Nations Human Rights Council.

At its 38th session in June, the Human Rights Council (HRC) will consider the human rights situation in Belarus. Since the creation of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur in 2012, there has been no systematic improvement in the human rights situation in Belarus. On the contrary, all legislative and systemic restrictions on freedom of expression and association remain in place, and violations of civil and political rights are coupled by economic and social rights’ abuses. The peaceful demonstrations on March 25th 2018, also known as Freedom Day, and which are organized every year, were once again met with preemptive house arrests of civic and political activists and journalists as well as the arbitrary arrest of about a hundred of peaceful marchers[1].

Calls by civil society, the Special Rapporteur and the European Parliament to end the most recent blocking of the charter97.org website have been ignored while the amendments to the Law on Media currently before the Parliament aim to further control access to sources of information, particularly online, including via social networks. Under the proposed law, the authorities would be able to block any online content without a court order on even vaguer grounds than at present.

Authorities continue to pressure human rights defenders, independent journalists and opposition activists, using the court system to harass them, impose preventive or administrative detention and levy severe fines. Moreover, in September 2017, eight  lawyers defending clients in a criminal case assessed by human rights defenders as politically motivated were subject to a qualification process controlled by the Ministry of Justice[2]. As a result, Anna Bakhtina, renown for her work in defending political prisoners, lost her practicing license while the license of the remaining lawyers was prolonged conditionally for 6 months. Even if they all passed the “examination” procedure in March 2018, the legislation that allows the authorities to arbitrarily revoke a lawyer’s license remains in place.





Egypt/HRW/EU: Activists Arrested in Dawn Raids

May 31, 2018

Wael Abbas (top left), Haitham Mohamadeen (top right), Shady Abu Zaid (bottom left), and Amal Fathy (bottom right), were all arrested this month for charges such as joining “a banned group” or “terrorist organization” and spreading “false news.” © 2018 Pr

Egyptian police and National Security forces have carried out a wave of arrests of critics of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in dawn raids since early May 2018, Human Rights Watch said today. The charges against them appear to be solely based on their social media posts and peaceful activism. Security briefly held several of the detainees incommunicado.

Those arrested include Hazem Abd al-Azim, a political activist, on May 27, and well-known journalist and rights defender Wael Abbas on May 23. Security forces blindfolded him and kept him for almost 36 hours in an unknown location before taking him before prosecutors. Others include Shady al-Ghazaly Harb and Haitham Mohamadeen, both lawyers; Amal Fathy, an activist; and Shady Abu Zaid, a satirist.

“The state of oppression in Egypt has sunk so low that al-Sisi’s forces are arresting well-recognized activists as they sleep, simply for speaking up,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The message is clear that criticism and even mild satire apparently earn Egyptians an immediate trip to prison.”

A state security prosecutor ordered lawyer Mohamadeen, a workers’ rights defender, detained for 15 days on charges of “joining a terrorist organization” and “inciting protests,” in the same case for which authorities interrogated al-Ghazaly Harb. National security forces initially detainedMohamadeen on May 18 and held him incommunicado for two days.






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http://www.lefigaro.fr/flash-actu/2018/05/30/97001-20180530FILWWW00331-l-ue-denonce-les-arrestations-d-opposants-en-egypte.php (FRANCAIS)

https://www.hrw.org/fr/news/2018/05/31/egypte-vague-darrestations-dactivistes (FRANCAIS)

http://www.lavanguardia.com/politica/20180531/443962098411/hrw-critica-la-oleada-de-detenciones-de-activistas-en-egipto.html (ESPANOL)

https://www.agenzianova.com/a/5b0ff40e22c452.39997198/1943981/2018-05-31/egitto-human-rights-watch-denuncia-arresto-attivisti-e-chiede-liberazione-di-amal-fathy (ITALIANO)

https://www.agenzianova.com/a/5b0ff40e22c452.39997198/1943981/2018-05-31/egitto-human-rights-watch-denuncia-arresto-attivisti-e-chiede-liberazione-di-amal-fathy (ITALIANO)

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Turkey: Bar Council: Pressure mounts on Prime Minister to raise barristers’ urgent concerns with Turkey

May 15, 2018

British CouncilBar Human Rights Committee

The Bar Council of England and Wales and the Bar Human Rights Committee (BHRC) have written jointly to Prime Minister Theresa May, urging her to voice concerns over Turkey’s ongoing and large-scale prosecution of judges, lawyers, journalists and human rights defenders with the Turkish President when the two meet on Tuesday.

The letter, which has also been copied to the Lord Chancellor and the Foreign Secretary, is the second such letter that the Bar Council and BHRC have written to the UK Prime Minister on the injustices in Turkey.

The legal bodies refer to further information that, since the failed coup in 2016,  2431 (out of 4560 dismissed) judges and prosecutors, 580 lawyers, and 319 journalists and media workers have been arrested; an estimated 1000 judges and prosecutors, 400 lawyers and 180 journalists and media workers are still detained; and more than 5,966 judges, prosecutors and lawyers are facing prosecution.

Andrew Walker QC, Chair of the Bar Council, said:

“The seriousness of what legal professionals and human rights defenders have been – and continue to be – subjected to in Turkey cannot be overstated.  The impact reaches internationally.  This is a significant threat not only to those individuals affected, but also to the fundamental principles of the rule of law, without which a truly fair and democratic society cannot exist, and which authorities are duty-bound to protect.









Maldives: Release Supreme Court Justices

May 10, 2018

Police officers stand guard near the opposition party headquarters after President Abdulla Yameen declared a state of emergency in Male, Maldives, February 6, 2018.

The Maldives government should immediately drop politically motivated charges against two Supreme Court justices and release them from detention, Human Rights Watch said today. On May 10, 2018, Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and Justice Ali Hameed were sentenced to one year, seven months in prison on charges of influencing court rulings. Saeed was also sentenced to five months in prison on obstruction charges earlier this week, and both justices face additional charges of terrorism.

The judges were arrested on February 6, along with a judicial administrator and former President Abdul Gayoom, during a state of emergency declared by President Abdulla Yameen in response to a Supreme Court ruling.

“To retain his hold on power, President Yameen has used every trick in the book, from accusing political opponents of terrorism to jailing justices of the Supreme Court,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “Donors and influential governments should send Yameen a clear message to end the attacks on fundamental rights and the country’s democratic institutions.”

The current political crisis was sparked by a Supreme Court ruling on February 1 that overturned the convictions of nine members of the opposition, including former President Mohamed Nasheed, the country’s first democratically elected leader, who had been sentenced to 13 years in prison on terrorism charges in 2015. The United Nations Human Rights Committee recently called for his release after determining that the case violated Nasheed’s rights to a fair trial and political participation under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. After the Supreme Court ruling, Nasheed, who had been granted asylum in the United Kingdom, declared he would contest the presidential elections slated for September.










China/HRW: Release Human Rights Lawyers

February 15, 2018

Relatives of lawyers and activists detained in the “709” crackdown protest in front of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate in Beijing, China, July 7, 2017.

The Chinese government should immediately release human rights lawyers who have been detained or imprisoned on baseless subversion charges, Human Rights Watch said today. Authorities should also end the practice of revoking or suspending licenses of lawyers and law firms on political grounds.

In February 2018, authorities stripped human rights lawyer Sui Muqing of his license for allegedly violating “courtroom etiquette,” and canceled the registration of the Wutian Law Firm for its refusal to participate in a politicized review process.

“Not only is the Chinese government still holding some rights lawyers and activists rounded up in the July 2015 crackdown, it’s disbarring others as a crude way to intimidate the group,” said Sophie Richardson, China director. “This endless persecution of the legal profession exposes the absurdity of China’s claim to uphold the ‘rule of law.’”

Since August 2017, authorities have revoked or suspended the licenses to practice of several human rights lawyers. They have also canceled the registration of one law firm. One lawyer has been detained on subversion charges:









https://www.hrw.org/fr/news/2018/02/15/chine-liberer-les-avocats-specialises-dans-la-defense-des-droits-humains (FRANCAIS)

Kenya/Canada/HRW: Government Crackdown Threatens Rights

February 8, 2018

Miguna Miguna (left) partakes in Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga’s symbolic presidential oath of office, Nairobi, Kenya, January 30, 2018.

Human rights groups have been concerned since President Uhuru Kenyatta took power in 2013 at the authoritarian direction Kenya’s government has been taking. But the situation has taken an alarming turn in the past week. Three highly repressive measures by the authorities since January 30 should worry us all, including the international community, which has been treating Kenyatta’s administration with kid gloves.

Kenyan media and nongovernment groups that are even mildly critical of the government have come under immense pressure in the last five years.

On the early morning of February 2, police broke into the house of an opposition lawyer, Miguna Miguna,and arrested him. Miguna is one of the people who swore Odinga in as the people’s president That evening, Miguna’s lawyers secured a court order for his release on bail.

Kenyan authorities simply ignored the order and not only failed to release Miguna but denied him access to lawyers and to medication despite reports that he had an asthma attack in police cells and urgently needed the medicine. His lawyers struggled to establish where he was being held. Miguna had not been charged by the third day even though Kenyan law requires an accused to be charged within 24 hours or be released.

On February 5, police ignored a second court order to produce Miguna in court, prompting the judge to cite the inspector general of police and the director general of the directorate of criminal investigations for contempt. On Feb 6, media reports suggested that Miguna may have been charged in a Magistrates court in the outskirts of Nairobi, but police failed for the second time to produce him before the High Court as ordered by the Judge. Instead, later that evening, and rather than present him before court as ordered, police deported Miguna to Canada, the country of his acquired citizenship.

This heavy-handed approach by the Kenyan authorities completely disregards international law and its own national law. The government and state officials have a responsibility to uphold the rule of law, especially releasing people whom courts have ordered released – even more so at a time when the political stakes are so high.



















Kenya just deported the lawyer who oversaw the opposition leader’s swearing-in ceremony












http://www.africatopsuccess.com/2018/02/08/kenyaprestation-de-serment-de-raila-odinga-lavocat-ayant-supervise-la-ceremonie-expulse/ (FRANCAIS)

https://lanouvelletribune.info/2018/02/kenya-opposant-possedant-double-nationalite-expulse-vers-canada/ (FRANCAIS)

http://fr.africanews.com/2018/02/08/kenya-un-avocat-opposant-extrade-au-canada-the-morning-call/ (FRANCAIS)

http://prensa-latina.cu/index.php?o=rn&id=151120&SEO=reanudan-labor-televisoras-kenianas-tra-veto-hace-una-semana (ESPANOL)

http://www.dw.com/pt-002/qu%C3%A9nia-oposi%C3%A7%C3%A3o-queixa-se-de-repress%C3%A3o/a-42500629 (PORTUGUES)