Tag Archives: Human Rights Watch

‘Maximum Psychological’ Pressure: Iranian Rights Lawyer Tortured, Drugged During Detention

19/10/21

Iranian human rights lawyer Payam Derafshan is currently out on parole and receiving medical treatment.

Payam Derafshan was confined in a dark, windowless room inside a safe house run by the feared intelligence branch of Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

The human rights lawyer was then transferred to Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, where he was drugged with unknown substances that triggered violent convulsions. During one seizure, Derafshan bit part of his tongue off.

Derafshan was then subjected to electric shocks after he was forcibly transferred to a psychiatric hospital.

These are the allegations made by Saeid Dehghan, an Iranian human rights lawyer who represents Derafshan, who is currently out on parole and receiving medical treatment.

Derafshan, who has represented several high-profile political prisoners, is the latest victim of Iran’s crackdown on human rights lawyers, activists say. Prominent lawyers who have defended dissidents, women’s rights defenders, and political activists have been subject to state harassment, imprisonment, and forced into exile in recent years, they say.

In many cases, the lawyers have faced the same charges that the authorities have brought against their clients. “The goal is to scare others and warn them not to be the voice of the voiceless,” Dehghan, who is currently based in Canada, told RFE/RL’s Radio Farda in a telephone interview.

Derafshan was arrested in June 2020 and sentenced weeks later to 2 1/2 years in prison on charges of “propaganda against the state,” “spreading falsehoods,” and “unauthorized disclosure.” The sentence was upheld by an appeals court in July 2020.

[…]

https://www.rferl.org/a/iran-rights-lawyer-torture/31519416.html

https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/10/20/iran-account-horrific-abuse-prominent-lawyer

https://iranwire.com/en/features/10578

https://iran-hrm.com/2021/10/19/irans-crackdown-on-freedom-of-expression-aims-at-silencing-dissent/

https://www.radiofarda.com/a/payam-derafshan-iranian-human-rights-lawyer-was-tortured/31515270.html (FARSI)

Burundi: Lawyer’s Conviction a Travesty of Justice

08/10/21

Tony Germain Nkina

Appeals Court Upholds 5-Year Sentence for Tony Germain Nkina

The decision in the Court of Appeal of Ngozi to uphold the conviction and five-year prison sentence for a lawyer who had been affiliated to a human rights group in Burundi was a travesty of justice, Human Rights Watch and five other international human rights groups said today. The following is their statement:

Shocking Decision as Appeal Court Upholds Conviction of Lawyer Tony Germain Nkina

Six international human rights groups – Amnesty International, the Burundi Human Rights Initiative, DefendDefenders (East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project), Human Rights Watch, Protection International Africa and TRIAL International – condemned the decision of the Court of Appeal of Ngozi on 29 September to uphold the conviction and five-year prison sentence of Burundian lawyer Tony Germain Nkina following an unfair trial.

“Tony Germain Nkina’s trial was a travesty of justice,” said Lewis Mudge, Central Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The decision by the Court of Appeal to keep him in prison, despite all the evidence about the unfairness of the trial, makes a mockery of the Burundian justice system.”

The groups believe that Nkina, a lawyer in Kayanza province, was arrested and convicted because of his former affiliation with the Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Detained Persons (Association pour la protection des droits humains et des personnes détenues, APRODH), a leading human rights group in Burundi until 2015.

Nkina was APRODH’s representative in Kayanza until the government suspended the organization in 2015 as part of a crackdown on independent civil society. He has not worked for APRODH or any other Burundian civil society organization for the past six years.

Nkina was arrested on 13 October 2020 in Kabarore commune, where he was visiting a client for his professional work as a lawyer. In June 2021, a court in Kayanza found him guilty of collaboration with armed groups – a common accusation against perceived opponents and critics in Burundi – and sentenced him to five years in prison. His client, Apollinaire Hitimana, whom he had been advising on a land dispute, was found guilty of complicity in the same offence and sentenced to two and a half years in prison. The Court of Appeal also confirmed Hitimana’s conviction and sentence.

[…]

https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/10/08/burundi-lawyers-conviction-travesty-justice

https://burundihri.org/english/joint_statements.php

https://www.miragenews.com/lawyers-conviction-travesty-of-justice-in-648162/

https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/09/24/international-scrutiny-rights-situation-burundi-should-continue

https://www.hrw.org/fr/news/2021/10/08/burundi-la-condamnation-de-lavocat-tony-germain-nkina-est-une-parodie-de-justice (FRANCAIS)

https://www.burundidaily.net/post/appel-a-la-liberation-de-maitre-tony-germain-nkina-ecroue-pour-collaboration-avec-red-tabara

https://www.hrw.org/fr/news/2021/08/10/burundi-liberez-lavocat-tony-germain-nkina

CCBE Statement on the situation in Afghanistan and the need to guarantee the fundamental rights of all persons requesting international protection at EU borders

23/09/21

Welcome to CCBE - CCBE

The Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) represents the bars and law societies of 45 countries, and through them more than 1 million European lawyers.

The defence of the rule of law, the protection of the fundamental and human rights and freedoms, including the right of access to justice and protection of the client, and the protection of the democratic values inextricably associated with such rights are one of the main missions of the CCBE. Through the work of its Migration Committee, the CCBE monitors European and national developments on migration issues and focuses its work on the protection of migrants’ and asylum seekers’ fundamental rights, including the right to legal assistance.

With regard to the alarming situation in Afghanistan and the fate of all Afghans – particularly women, those working in the justice sector, and human rights defenders – the CCBE wishes to reaffirm its commitment to the right to asylum, as well as the right for Afghans to leave their country, and travel to another country safely which notably underpins the need to ensure fair proceedings at EU borders. The CCBE therefore calls on the EU authorities and its Member States to take all the necessary measures to enable the evacuation and reception of the people most at risk in Afghanistan, including lawyers. Furthermore, it urges the relevant authorities to guarantee refugees’ access to the right to asylum. In this regard, the CCBE recalls that the right to apply for international protection in the European Union and at its frontiers is a fundamental right guaranteed by Article 18 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and by European Union law through its asylum acquis.

In addition to this, the CCBE wishes to express its serious concern about the lack of respect for procedural safeguards and access to a lawyer in asylum and migration procedures at EU borders, notably with regard to the current situation at the Belarusian border with Latvia and Poland where it has been reported that a group of 32 migrants, including Afghans were being kept without any possibility to ask for asylum, in clear violation of their fundamental rights, including their right to legal assistance and their right to apply for asylum.

[…]

Click to access EN_MIG_20210923_CCBE-Statement-on-the-situation-in-Afghanistan-and-the-need-to-guarantee-the-fundamental-rights-of-all-persons-requesting-international-protection-at-EU-borders.pdf

https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/09/23/afghanistan-taliban-abuses-cause-widespread-fear

https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/2021/09/16/simple-measures-can-help-canada-bring-afghans-to-safety-sooner.html

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/sep/21/qc-baroness-helena-kennedy-calls-on-uk-to-support-female-judges-at-risk-in-afghanistan

https://www.hrw.org/fr/news/2021/09/23/afghanistan-les-exactions-des-talibans-suscitent-une-peur-croissante (FRANCAIS)

May be an image of 3 people and text that says "McGill McGill Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism Centre sur es droits personne eplurasme undiquee de McGill THE SITUATION OF HAZARAS IN AFGHANISTAN Discrimination, Persecution, Genocide Moderated by Frédéric Mégret Zoom link https:/mgilom.us/8902912009 Gregory Stanton Founder of Genocide Watch Derakhshan Qurban-Ali External Relations Manager Canadian Hazara HumanitarianServices Halima Bahman Survivor of the 1998 massacre Mazar -Sharif, cofounder of the Hazara Women Organization Stuart Russell Former Australian judge who oversaw many Hazara refugee hearings following the 1998 massacre SEPTEMBER 27 1:00PM-2:30PM ET ZOOM EVENT:"

Afghanistan’s women judges are in hiding, fearing reprisal attacks from men they jailed

20/09/21

Nabila is one of hundreds of women judges in Afghanistan who have been told they can no longer work.

Tugging at the folds of the traditional hijab dress, two young sisters jostle and laugh to try to get their mother’s attention as she fries onions on the stove.

Along with their 6-month-old sister, the girls are oblivious to the threat they now face from the Taliban, Afghanistan’s new rulers.

Their mother, Nabila, is one of 250 female judges ordered not to return to work by a regime that doesn’t condone women in senior positions. CNN is only using Nabila’s first name for her own protection.

Nabila said she feared reprisals, not only from fundamentalists, but also the men she once jailed. When they came to power, the Taliban opened the gates of prisons, releasing thousands of convicted criminals.

“Now we do not feel safe; the same criminals are going after my own life, the lives of my family,” Nabila said. “God forbid if they seek revenge.”

After the Taliban takeover in mid-August, a few dozen women judges fled Afghanistan, and those left behind are now in hiding, according to Judge Vanessa Ruiz from the US-based International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ).

All of the judges who worked under the former Afghan government — male and female — have been now replaced by Taliban appointees, two judges told CNN.

But Ruiz said women judges feared their gender made them particular targets for a regime that assigns greater value to men.

Many of the women judges presided over the worst cases of violence against women, including rape, murder and domestic abuse.”

They would be angry at any judge who sentenced them, but that a woman had official authority, and sat in judgment of a man, is rage of a completely different order,” said Ruiz.

The IAWJ and other organizations are racing to find a safe passage out for the women — but they say they need more help from the US and other Western nations, before it’s too late.

[…]

https://edition.cnn.com/2021/09/19/asia/afghanistan-women-judges-hnk-dst-intl/index.html

https://www.facebook.com/events/255446273141947

https://www.gofundme.com/f/AFGHANISTAN-CRISIS-RESPONSE-AND-EMERGENCY-RELIEF (URGENT, PLEASE CONTRIBUTE!)

https://www.reuters.com/legal/litigation/trial-lawyer-group-backs-effort-bring-afghan-attorneys-us-2021-09-16/

https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/09/16/joint-statement-eu-cannot-shirk-its-responsibilities-towards-afghans-need

https://www.iustitia.pl/en/4244-a-fundraiser-for-afghan-judges

https://hansard.parliament.uk/lords/2021-09-15/debates/C2E85768-9013-4DB9-8BA0-676F78964521/AfghanRelocationsAndAssistancePolicy

https://www.thejournal.ie/taliban-school-girls-afghanistan-5552314-Sep2021/

https://www.jss.fr/Afghanistan__les_acteurs_du_droit_mobilises-2587.awp (FRANCAIS)

Judges, lawyers, human rights defenders seen as under threat in Afghanistan

26/08/21

Judges, lawyers, human rights defenders seen as under threat in Afghanistan

Legal organizations around the world, including bar associations, condemn Taliban takeover

Legal organizations around the world, including bar and judicial associations, are condemning the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan and the reports of human rights violations that have already taken place there.

The Canadian Superior Courts Judges Association (CSCJA), which represents nearly all of the federally appointed judges in Canada, was one of many associations releasing statements in the past week expressing concern and support for the people of Afghanistan.

“We note with particular concern the media reports about the safety and security of Afghan judges, particularly female judges,” the CSCJA said in its statement. For the past 20 years, it noted, Afghan judges’ focus as an independent judiciary was to render judgments based on the law, respect for human rights, and free of political influence or favour.

“While all judges are now in danger, female judges are particularly at risk because the Taliban has traditionally considered it unacceptable for Afghan women to sit in judgment of men,” the statement read. “Additionally, Afghan women in general now appear more vulnerable because of their apparent inability to move freely within or between cities.”

[…]

https://www.canadianlawyermag.com/news/general/judges-lawyers-human-rights-defenders-seen-as-under-threat-in-afghanistan/359278

https://www.lrwc.org/afghanistan-statement-to-the-un-human-rights-council-seeks-fact-finding-mechanism-joint-statement/

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/afghan-judges-can-relocate-to-the-uk-buckland-confirms/5109608.article

https://www.lawcareers.net/Explore/News/The-Law-Society-comments-on-the-Afghanistan-crisis-26082021

https://www.republicworld.com/world-news/europe/european-union-urges-member-states-to-offer-safe-pathways-out-of-afghan-for-at-risk-people.html

https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/08/26/attack-kabul-airport-ends-civilian-evacuation

https://www.reuters.com/world/islamic-state-claims-responsibility-kabul-airport-attack-2021-08-26/

https://www.fnuja.com/Communique-sur-la-situation-en-Afghanistan_a2483.html (FRANCAIS)

https://www.liberation.fr/international/asie-pacifique/une-explosion-a-proximite-de-laeroport-de-kaboul-20210826_NUA3TP7MUFH7NJFMKWPEB4P7DQ/

No photo description available.

Afghanistan/Germany: Lawyers and rights activists at risk in Afghanistan

16/08/21

Germany may need to evacuate as many as 10,000 people from Afghanistan, Chancellor Angela Merkel told party colleagues on Monday, according to party sources.

That includes 2,500 Afghan support staff as well as human rights activists, lawyers and others whom the government sees being at risk if they remain in the country after the Taliban seized Kabul.

[…]

https://thepostman24.com/worldwide_Germany_Markel_afghanistan

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/126084845/amnesty-international-urges-government-to-do-all-it-can-to-help-those-caught-in-afghanistan

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/save-our-afghan-colleagues-urges-united-profession/5109538.article

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/fears-for-female-judges-in-afghanistan/5109533.article

https://www.fidh.org/en/issues/human-rights-defenders/afghanistan-foreign-affairs-ministers-must-protect-human-rights

https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/germany-must-evacuate-10000-people-afghanistan-merkel-tells-party-2021-08-16/

https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/08/13/afghanistan-risk-civilians-need-evacuation-protection

https://texasnewstoday.com/the-taliban-are-poised-to-impose-sharia-law-in-afghanistan-threatening-bidens-professed-fighters/415252/

https://www.foreignbrief.com/daily-news/taliban-to-declare-islamic-emirate-of-afghanistan/

https://www.abogacia.es/actualidad/noticias/la-abogacia-espanola-extremadamente-preocupada-por-la-situacion-en-afganistan/ (ESPANOL)

#saveafghanistan

#sosafghanistan

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Burundi: Release lawyer Tony Germain Nkina

10/08/21

Burundi - Wikipedia

Ex-Member of Civil Society Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison

Burundian authorities should immediately and unconditionally release lawyer, Tony Germain Nkina, who was sentenced to five years in prison in June 2021 in all likelihood because of his past human rights work, six international human rights groups said today.

The groups – Amnesty International, the Burundi Human Rights Initiative, DefendDefenders (East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project), Human Rights Watch, Protection International and TRIAL International – believe that the likely reason for Nkina’s arrest was his former affiliation with the Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Detained Persons (Association pour la protection des droits humains et des personnes détenues, APRODH), which was one of the leading human rights groups in Burundi until 2015.

The prosecution and imprisonment of Tony Germain Nkina is a worrying reminder that those who used to be part of Burundi’s once vibrant human rights movement are still at risk. The Burundian authorities should demonstrate their commitment to protecting human rights by immediately releasing Nkina and dropping all the charges against him. Burundi’s international partners should support the calls for his release.

Nkina, a lawyer in Kayanza province in northern Burundi, was arrested on October 13, 2020, in Kabarore commune, where he was visiting a client for his professional work. He was briefly detained by the intelligence service in Kayanza, then transferred to police detention, and finally to Ngozi prison, where he is currently detained.

October 2020 was a tense period in Kayanza following attacks by an armed group in the previous weeks, with several people killed or abducted. Nkina happened to visit Kabarore, one of the areas affected, soon after these attacks. The authorities accused him of collaborating with the armed opposition group RED-Tabara (Resistance for the Rule of Law in Burundi), which they hold responsible for the attacks, and charged him with endangering internal state security.

On June 15, 2021, the court of Kayanza convicted Nkina of “collaboration with rebels who attacked Burundi,” and sentenced him to five years in prison and a fine of one million Burundian francs (approximately US$ 500). His client, Apollinaire Hitimana, whom he had been advising on a land dispute and was arrested with him, was found guilty of complicity in the same offence and sentenced to two and a half years and a fine of 500,000 Burundian francs. An appeal hearing is scheduled for August 12, at the Ngozi court of appeal.

[…]

https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/08/10/burundi-release-lawyer-tony-germain-nkina

https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/afr16/4585/2021/en/

https://www.dailyadvent.com/news/b0d9f0cb24caa755cd28601919eaf667-BURUNDI-RELEASE-LAWYER-TONY-GERMAIN-NKINA

https://burundihri.org/english/joint_statements.php

https://www.hrw.org/fr/news/2021/08/10/burundi-liberez-lavocat-tony-germain-nkina (FRANCAIS)

https://www.amnesty.org/fr/documents/afr16/4585/2021/fr/

https://burundihri.org/french/joint_statements.php

Egypt: Renewed Judicial Harassment of Rights Defenders

31/07/21

Human rights activist Gamal Eid is seen at a court in Cairo, March 24, 2016.

 Egyptian authorities have summoned at least five prominent human rights defenders during July 2021 for questioning as part of a decade-old criminal investigation, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities have used Case 173 of 2011 to arbitrarily prosecute leading rights defenders and organizations over allegations of receiving foreign funds.

Since 2016, authorities have summoned for interrogation dozens of members of nongovernment groups, mostly human rights organizations, and placed over 30 of them on arbitrary travel ban lists, and frozen the assets of over a dozen organizations and individuals. Three of the five people summoned in July had not been questioned previously. The case has had a chilling impact on civic space in Egypt.

“Egyptian authorities should close Case 173 once and for all, and stop harassing independent rights organizations for doing their work,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The repeated summons, on top of travel bans and asset freezes, is clearly a tactic to stifle civic space in Egypt.”

Those summoned most recently include Mozn Hassan, a women’s rights defender and director of Nazra for Feminist Studies and Hossam Bahgat, director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, on July 29. On July 27, the authorities summoned Gamal Eid, director of the Arab Network for Human Rights Information, and Negad al-Borie, director of the law firm United Group. On July 15, the authorities summoned Azza Soliman, women’s rights defender and director of the Center for Egyptian Women Legal Awareness. The authorities had not previously summoned Bahgat, Eid, or al-Borie despite banning them several years ago from leaving the country.

Based on social media posts and statements by the activists following the latest prosecution sessions, the questions by the investigative judge, Ali Mokhtar, focused on the activists groups’ funding, in some cases as far back as 2005.

Judge Mokhtar allowed them to look at the prosecution file, which consisted mainly of National Security Agency allegations against them and their organizations, such as “tarnishing the image of the government” and in some cases referencing reports these organizations published about human rights abuses. The judge did not allow any of them to take copies of the prosecution files or inform them of the actual charges they are being investigated for.

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) said in a statement that Eid’s interrogation lasted about three hours and that the judge ordered him to return for another session on August 1. The statement said that the prosecution file, which Human Rights Watch has not seen, included National Security Agency allegations that Eid and ANHRI had played a role in the country’s 2011 nationwide uprising, and that ANHRI had received funding from Human Rights Watch and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). CPJ has denied those allegations. Human Rights Watch is typically not a grant-making organization, Human Rights Watch said.

[…]

https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/07/31/egypt-renewed-judicial-harassment-rights-defenders

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2021/07/egypt-crackdown-on-human-rights-defenders-continues-amid-ongoing-foreign-funding-investigation/

https://www.madamasr.com/en/2021/07/28/feature/politics/government-source-authorities-inclined-to-close-long-running-case-targeting-ngos-yet-travel-bans-may-remain/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azza_Soliman

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamal_Eid

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

https://www.giustiziainsieme.it/it/il-magistrato/1894-mahienour-el-masry-difendere-ad-ogni-costo-i-diritti-umani-in-egitto-prima-e-dopo-la-rivoluzione-del-nilo-di-federico-cappelletti (ITALIANO)

Russia: Ongoing pressure against human rights lawyer Ivan Pavlov and Team 29 led to suspension of organisation’s work

21/07/21

On 19 July 2021, the Moscow City Court rejected Ivan Pavlov’s lawyer’s appeal and left the restriction measures against the human rights lawyer unchanged. Ivan Pavlov has been under criminal investigation since April 2021, when he was accused of “disclosure of the data of a preliminary investigation” relating to one of his clients, former journalist Ivan Safronov. On 16 July 2021 Roskomnadzor blocked the website of the human rights lawyer’s organisation, Team 29, based on a request from the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation. According to the notification of the Prosecutor General’s Office, they identified Team 29 with an NGO called Společnost Svobody Informace registered in the Czech Republic, which is included in the list of undesirable organizations. Based on this, the Team 29 members were forced to suspend the work of the organisation in order to protect its team who may be targeted because of the connection with the  “undesirable” organization.

On 19 July 2021, the Moscow City Court rejected Ivan Pavlov’s lawyer’s appeals against the decision of the Basmanny District Court of Moscow and left the restriction measures against Ivan Pavlov unchanged, even though more than 40 lawyers filed complaints against the previous decision of the Court and 18 lawyers were in the Court hearings on 19 July. Pavlov’s lawyers provided the Court with more than 500 sureties/guarantees for Ivan Pavlov from Russian writers, professors, media workers, politicians and human rights defenders. More than 35 lawyers signed a petition demanding to stop the prosecution of Ivan Pavlov.

Ivan Pavlov is a prominent human rights lawyer and director of Team 29, an association of lawyers and journalists. His legal work focuses on defending those wrongly accused by the security services of disclosing state secrets, high treason, or espionage. He has also been working to ensure public access to government information, and with this aim founded the Institute for the Development of Freedom of Information which was designated as a “foreign agent” by the Russian authorities in 2014. In 2015, Team 29 was established to provide consultation and legal aid to individuals asserting their right to receive and distribute information, defend victims abused by law enforcement and security agencies, provide recommendations on how to respond to searches, interrogations, arrests, etc. Ivan Pavlov has also contributed to the development of Russian legislation on the right to freedom of information. He received the Moscow Helsinki Group Award for defending human rights in court in 2015 and the Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism in 2018, awarded by Human Rights Watch to activists who put themselves at great risk to protect the dignity and rights of others.

[…]

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/judicial-harassment-human-rights-lawyer-ivan-pavlov

https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/07/19/threat-prosecution-forces-closure-top-russian-rights-group

https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/russian-human-rights-association-suspends-work-after-claims-prosecutors-2021-07-18/

https://www.rferl.org/a/komanda-29-navalny-russia/31365085.html

https://meduza.io/en/feature/2021/07/19/we-re-like-a-bone-in-their-throat

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jul/19/russia-team-29-closes-navalny-links-media

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_Pavlov_(lawyer)

https://www.tvanouvelles.ca/2021/07/18/russie-un-groupe-davocats-sauto-dissout-pour-eviter-des-poursuites (FRANCAIS)

Sri Lanka: LAWYER DETAINED WITHOUT TRIAL FOR OVER A YEAR

14/07/21

Amnesty International South Asia on Twitter

URGENT ACTION

Hejaaz Hizbullah, a prominent Sri Lankan lawyer, was arrested on 14 April 2020 and has since been detained on trumped-up charges under the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). Hejaaz Hizbullah has been targeted for his work, and his advocacy for the rights of Muslim minorities in the country. He is a prisoner of conscience and must be immediately and unconditionally released and all charges against him dropped.


TAKE ACTION: WRITE AN APPEAL IN YOUR OWN WORDS OR USE THIS MODEL LETTER


Attorney General Sanjay Rajaratnam
Attorney General’s Department
Hulftsdorp Street,
Colombo 12
Sri Lanka
Fax: +94 112 436421
Email: administration@attorneygeneral.gov.lk
secretary@attorneygeneral.gov.lk


Dear Attorney General,


I am deeply concerned about the prolonged detention of Sri Lankan lawyer and minority and civic rights activist Hejaaz Hizbullah. Detained since 14 April 2020 on trumped-up charges under the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), no credible evidence of wrongdoing has yet been presented before a court.


It is distressing to learn that, since his arrest, Hejaaz Hizbullah has been repeatedly denied due process safeguards recognized by international law. He has been held in prolonged administrative detention without judicial oversight to monitor his wellbeing, without access to bail. While in police custody he was prevented from accessing his legal counsel in private until an order was made by the Court of Appeal. Even following his indictment in February 2021 and being moved to judicial remand, access to family and counsel has been restricted.

[…]

https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/asa37/4468/2021/en/

https://www.ft.lk/news/A-call-to-action-against-detention-of-Hejaaz-and-Ahnaf-anti-Muslim-violence-and-attacks-on-democracy/56-720382

https://www.ft.lk/news/Chevening-Alumni-Association-SL-condemns-arbitrary-arrest-and-detention-of-Hejaaz-Hizbullah/56-720256

https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/06/10/european-parliament-alarmed-over-sri-lankas-rights-situation

https://monitor.civicus.org/updates/2021/07/13/despite-un-concerns-sri-lanka-continues-detain-critics-arrest-protesters-and-entrench-impunity/