Tag Archives: Human Rights Watch

Turkey: Turkey detains 13 intellectuals, academics over Gezi protests

November 16, 2018


This story will be updated with new developments as they take place.

Turkish police have detained over a dozen academics, intellectuals, and activists said to be linked to jailed Turkish philanthropist and businessman Osman Kavala.

The arrests of the 13 people, linked with Kavala’s NGO Anadolu Kültür, pertain to their alleged involvement in the nationwide Gezi Park protests of 2013, the Istanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office said in a press release on the police operation on Friday. The protests, which started as the defence of a park in central Istanbul, grew to encompass a range of progressive and opposition causes.

Four of the detained academics – Turgut Trahanlı, Asena Günal, Meltem Aslan and Bora Sarı – were released on Friday evening. All four are reportedly subject to travel restrictions.


The detainees, who included Hakan Altınay, a board member of Anadolu Kültür and the founder of Turkey’s Open Society Foundation, are charged with spreading the Gezi protests, bringing trainers and professional activists from abroad for the organisation of the protests, and promoting the activities in the media, according to the statement.

Betül Tanbay, an academic, and Turgut Tarhanlı, the dean of Istanbul Bilgi University’s Faculty of Law, were also among those detained.












http://bianet.org/bianet/siyaset/202710-prof-dr-turgut-tarhanli-asena-gunal-bora-sari-ve-meltem-aslan-serbest (TURKCE)

https://www.haberturk.com/prof-turgut-tarhanli-ve-prof-betul-tanbay-gozaltina-alindi-2222398 (TURKCE)

https://www.gazeteduvar.com.tr/gundem/2018/11/16/prof-dr-turgut-tarhanli-ve-2-kisi-serbest-birakildi/ (TURKCE)

https://www.lemonde.fr/proche-orient/article/2018/11/16/turquie-l-etau-se-resserre-sur-la-fondation-du-mecene-osman-kavala_5384672_3218.html (FRANCAIS)

http://www.lefigaro.fr/flash-actu/2018/11/16/97001-20181116FILWWW00229-turquie-nouvelles-arrestations-d-universitaires-et-militants.php (FRANCAIS)

https://blogs.mediapart.fr/defne-gursoy/blog/161118/en-turquie-la-societe-civile-agonise-sous-les-pressions-d-erdogan (FRANCAIS)



Saudi Arabia/Right Livelihood Award: ‘Alternative Nobel’ urges freedom for 3 Saudi activists

November 14, 2018

2018 Right Livelihood Award Laureates Abdullah Al-Hamid, Waleed Abu Al-Khair and Mohammad Fahad Al-Qahtani. Photo Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0/Ahmed al-Osaimi (Blurred from Original)

The Right Livelihood Award — known as the “Alternative Nobel” — appealed Wednesday on Saudi Arabia to free three jailed human rights defenders and recipients of this year’s prize.

The foundation also urged that the kingdom stop “harassing and killing those who fight” for democracy. Ole von Uexkull, foundation head, said the three jailed Saudi men had “acted through peaceful means” in their activism.

Created in 1980, the annual Right Livelihood Award honors efforts that the prize founder, Swedish-German philanthropist Jakob von Uexkull, felt were being ignored by the Nobel prizes.

In September, the 1 million kronor ($110) cash award was given to three Saudi activists — Abdullah al-Hamid, Mohammad Fahad al-Qahtani and Waleed Abu al-Khair. The honorary award was given to two Latin American anti-corruption crusaders — Thelma Aldana of Guatemala and Colombia’s Ivan Velasquez.

The foundation said two family members and Yahya Assiri, another Saudi rights activist, will attend the award ceremony planned in Stockholm next week.

Al-Qahtani and al-Hamid are founding activists of the Saudi Association for Civil and Political Rights, known by its Arabic acronym HASEM. In 2013, they were sentenced to 10 and 11 years respectively. Soon after, other verdicts followed against nearly a dozen members. The sentences came in the wake of the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings in the Mideast.

The third Saudi recipient, activist and lawyer Al-Khair, defended a blogger sentenced to prison and lashings over his posts. Al-Khair was arrested in 2014 for signing a statement with dozens of others calling for reforms in the kingdom. He later received a 15-year sentence for “disobeying the ruler” and “harming the reputation of the state by communicating with international organizations,” likely over his work as an outspoken activist.










https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waleed_Abu_al-Khair (FRANCAIS)

http://www.ludovictrarieux.org/ (FRANCAIS)

http://pulsoslp.com.mx/2018/11/14/nobel-alternativo-pide-liberacion-de-sauditas-galardonados-este-ano/ (ESPANOL)

https://www.radiohelsinki.fi/podcastit/missa-sailytamme-elamaa/ (FINNISH)

South Sudan: Two SPLM-IO detainees are seen in South Sudan’s detention facility

November 14, 2018

The National Security facility in Juba, also known as the Blue House (Radio Eye photo)

The recently freed South African military expert William Endley said he saw one of prisoners members that the main opposition group at the National Security Service Headquarters (the Blue House) in 2017.

Endley and James Gatdet Dak SPLM-IO leader’s spokesperson were released on 3 November after a presidential pardon announced during the peace celebration day on 31 October 2018.

Speaking to Voice of America’s South Sudan in Focus programme on Wednesday Endley said he saw Aggrey Idri in the National Security Service Headquarters (the Blue House), adding he and his friend Dong Samuel Luak were moved from the prison to another location.

“Aggrey and Dong were in the security house. But I did not see Dong, as he was kept downstairs. I only saw Aggrey,” he said during a seven minutes interview aired on Wednesday.

“They were taken away on the 27th of January 2017 and up to date we did not hear anything about them,” he added.

Dong, a South Sudanese human rights lawyer and activist, and Aggrey Idri, a vocal government critic and member of the SPLM-IO, disappeared off the streets of Nairobi on January 23 and 24, 2017, respectively.

Kenyan authorities denied any involvement in or knowledge of the abduction. Also, South Sudanese officials denied having them in Juba prison.

In January 2018, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said they have credible reports that “the two men had been seen in custody at the National Security Services (NSS) headquarters in Juba on January 25 and 26 2017 and were then removed from this facility on January 27”.





The Philippines/HRW: Another Rights Lawyer Murdered in the Philippines

November 7, 2018


By most accounts, Benjamin Ramos died doing exactly what he had always done as a human rights lawyer: helping his clients free of charge. On the evening of November 6, Ramos was taking a break from assisting a client when gunmen on a motorcycle shot him three times. Ramos was 56 years old.

Ramos’s murder in the central Philippine province of Negros Occidental is shocking but, sadly, not surprising in a country where impunity for extrajudicial killings and other serious rights violations, including “drug war” murders, prevails.

Lawyers like Ramos who represent the most marginalized people in the Philippines have themselves also been victims of abuse. For his work, authorities vilified Ramos as a communist and harassed his colleagues. According to the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, which he helped establish, Ramos was the 34th lawyer to have been murdered since President Rodrigo Duterte took office.

Ramos’s murder also underscores the persistence of injustice in Negros, where landlessness has bred decades-old agrarian conflict. Ramos was representing families of victims of last month’s Sagay Massacre, when nine activists were gunned down after joining a protest on a sugarcane plantation. These protests, known as “bungkalan,” have often resulted in violence in Negros and elsewhere, as peasants and farmers occupy contested property and are met with resistance from landowners. Three decades since the Philippines’ “People Power” uprising spurred demands for change, agrarian reform remains an unfulfilled promise.





















And in the Philippines the killing of human rights defenders also continues with Benjamin Ramos








Posted by UP National Union of Peoples' Lawyers on Tuesday, November 6, 2018

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1z8CDNn_y831dbveu5mTfg6fNyoeyM4eyiCUjxbi7vCg/edit?fbclid=IwAR3X6EGXWdHo-SAmTNymdihKnUy6WgFXrVGAOg3qZ8BuvSVLaSSlKesB_uE (PLEASE SIGN URGENT APPEAL!)

https://www.cnnindonesia.com/internasional/20181109124501-106-345224/pengacara-pengkritik-duterte-tewas-ditembak (TAGALOG)

https://news.abs-cbn.com/video/news/11/08/18/pagpatay-kay-human-rights-lawyer-benjamin-ramos-kinondena?fbclid=IwAR1cXWj3lRCv2bRuk36uGj6lXj0SKQ0hXVkrBoTRmUf-lQoQxJ8yHbTaVsc (TAGALOG)

https://astm.lu/lastm-denonce-fermement-lassassinat-de-benjamin-ramos-directeur-de-son-organisation-partenaire-pdg-aux-philippines/ (FRANCAIS)

https://fr.vivasalud.be/news/ben-ramos%C2%A0-un-avocat-au-service-des-luttes-du-peuple-philippin?fbclid=IwAR33cxD-31wArhYpLG1ji-7Rl02IovRLvvQyGZwH3-5QYpNzJ5-SZHaX0t0 (FRANCAIS)

https://www.courrierinternational.com/article/philippines-un-34e-homme-de-loi-ete-assassine (FRANCAIS)

https://brasil.elpais.com/brasil/2018/11/07/internacional/1541600406_267466.html (ESPANOL)

https://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/de/newsroom/kofler-zum-mord-benjamin-ramos/2158370 (DEUTSCH)

https://www.nzz.ch/international/philippinen-menschenrechtsanwalt-ramos-erschossen-ld.1434491 (DEUTSCH)

https://www.deutschlandfunk.de/philippinen-bundesregierung-verurteilt-ermordung-von.1939.de.html?drn:news_id=943451 (DEUTSCH)

https://www.tpi.it/2018/11/09/ultime-notizie-oggi-ultima-ora/ (ITALIANO)

https://catracalivre.com.br/cidadania/advogado-defensor-dos-direitos-humanos-e-morto-nas-filipinas/ (PORTUGUES)

https://www.amnesty.nl/actueel/filipijnen-mensenrechtenadvocaat-benjamin-ramos-vermoord (NEDERLANDS)





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Iran: Protesters Sentenced in Unfair Trials – Human Rights Lawyer Arrested for Exposing Death in Detention

November 5, 2018

Saba Kordafshari,19, and Yasaman Ariyani, 23, have been sentenced to prison for peaceful protests. © 2018 Private

Iran’s judiciary convicted at least 24 protesters on vaguely defined national security charges, Human Rights Watch said today. Their prison sentences ranged from six months to six years.
They were among more than 50 people arrested on August 2 during a protest in Tehran about deteriorating economic conditions and corruption. On October 28, authorities also arrested a human rights lawyer who had been convicted to three years in prison for reporting a protester’s death in detention.
“Iranian government officials repeatedly advertise to the world that the repeated protests in the country signal that there are real freedoms in Iran, while these same protestors languish in prison for years,” said Michael Page, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Prosecuting peaceful protesters will only add fuel to Iranians’ boiling frustration and discontent with the situation.”


Three sources with close knowledge of the protesters’ cases told Human Rights Watch that prosecutors charged them with “assembly and collusion against national security” due to “participating in a protest without a permit that disrupted public order.” In the sentencing of at least two people, including Saba Kordafshari, 19, the evidence prosecutors presented was solely their social media posts reporting on the protest.

In reprisal for exposing Heidari’s death in custody and reporting that his body bore marks of torture and other ill-treatment, including cuts and bruises, the authorities arrested Mohammad Najafi, a lawyer. On July 26, Branch 2 of Arak’s criminal court sentenced Najafi to three years in prison for “disrupting public order through unconventional acts such as chanting slogans” and “publishing false information to disturb public opinion.” He began serving his sentence on October 28.





Image result for lawyer mohammad najafi

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Le #CCBE veille au respect des #droitsdelhomme et de l’#étatdedroit dans le #monde.
Aujourd’hui, le CCBE a exhorté le président iranienHassan Rouhani حسن روحانی à libérer immédiatement l’avocat Mohammad Najafi, condamné à trois ans de prison et à la peine #inhumaine de 74 coups de fouet.

(Ccbe Brussels Facebook, 14/11/18)

Poland/Tajikistan: Tajik dissidents attempt to challenge ruling class from Poland

October 26, 2018

Tajiks ‘banned’ at home form opposition alliance in Poland, where Islamophobia and anti-refugee sentiment is rising.

There are around 500 Tajiks in Poland [File: Kacper Pempel/Reuters]

To human rights campaigners, Alim Sherzamonov is a civil society activist.

But in his native Tajikistan, he is considered an “extremist”.

Sherzamonov is from Khorog in eastern Tajikistan’s Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region, which borders Afghanistan, and is a local opposition leader.

Tensions between the Tajik government in Dushanbe and the people of Gorno-Badakhshan run high. Demonstrations six years ago turned deadly as the army and local armed forces clashed.

Like other Tajik opposition dissidents, Sherzamonov fled Tajikistan for Poland.

“We hope that Polish authorities will help us endorse our plight,” said Sherzamonov, who reached the Eastern European country last year.

In early September, he was appointed as a deputy leader of the National Alliance of Tajikistan – an opposition coalition of four Tajik dissident parties and organisations: the Forum of Tajik Freethinkers, the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT), the Association of Central Asian Migrants, and the People’s Movement “Reforms and Development in Tajikistan”.

The Alliance represents a broad section of Tajik society, including secular and traditional figures, and is based in Poland.

Jamshed Yorov, a lawyer from Dushanbe, is also among the Tajiks living in Poland. He was detained several times in his homeland on various charges before he escaped to Poland. Meanwhile, his brother Buzurgmehr Yorov, a human rights lawyer, was sentenced to 28 years in prison for defending political dissidents from the banned IRPT.






UK/UAE: Lawyer tortured in Dubai tells Scots UAE judges to challenge human rights abuses or quit

October 14, 2018

David Haigh spoke out after it emerged a British university student had been held ‘without explanation’ for five months.

A lawyer tortured in Dubai has urged Scottish judges working in the United Arab Emirate to challenge human rights abuses or quit.

Former Leeds United chairman David Haigh spoke out after it emerged Durham University student Matthew Hedges had been held “without explanation” for five months.

Matthew’s wife has claimed that his rights are being “violated on a daily basis” after being accused of spying.

A Sunday Mail investigation last week revealed Scottish and other UK judges are on the payroll of the UAE despite its toxic human rights record.

Haigh was arrested in Dubai in 2014 after a dispute with his former employers and tortured while held in prison without trial for 14 months.

Haigh, of campaign group Detained in Dubai, said: “In light of yet another British citizen being held by the UAE and deprived of basic legal rights, these judges need to speak out and call for an urgent investigation.

“If that is not done properly then they need to resign. For Scottish and English judges to continue turning a blind eye to flagrant abuses of human rights and the rule of law is untenable.”









http://www.rfi.fr/europe/20181023-chercheur-britannique-juge-emirats-arabes-unis-accuse-espionnage-printemps-arabes (FRANCAIS)

https://www.lavanguardia.com/politica/20181021/452460228569/hrw-acusa-emiratos-de-negar-asistencia-legal-a-estudiante-britanico-detenido.html (ESPANOL)

https://www.punjabkesari.in/international/news/british-student-matthew-hedges-charged-with-spying-in-uae-891261 (HINDI)