Side event: Lawyers Under Threat in OSCE Region. Tomorrow 25 September from 18.15-19.45 at the Warsaw National Stadium in the Plenary Hall.
(Lawyers for Lawyers Facebook, 24/09/19)
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August 13, 2019
The Prosecutor General’s Office of Tajikistan has appointed a re-examination of the allegation of torture against lawyer Abdulaziz Abdurahmonzoda: anti-corruption officers knocked out his tooth during his arrest.
🇹🇯 IBAHRI is deeply concerned by the recently published information that a Tajik lawyer Mr Abdulaziz Abdurahmonzoda has been illegally detained and tortured by the operative forces of Tajikistan. Attacks against the legal profession, including unlawful detentions, strongly undermine the lawyers’ ability or willingness to undertake certain cases or represent certain clients, and in turn jeopardize the rule of law and access to justice principles. Prohibition of torture is a jus cogens norm and an absolute prohibition under both Tajik and international law, that cannot be justified under any circumstances.
Given the seriousness of the matter, we therefore call on the Prosecutor General’s Office of Tajikistan to conduct a fair and impartial investigation into these disturbing allegations and ultimately hold responsible persons to account.
(International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute Facebook, 15/08/19)
July 4, 2019
The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) today announces the release of a report on a trial observation conducted in Myanmar into the proceedings taken against four accused charged with the murder of U Ko Ni, a prominent lawyer. The IBAHRI welcomes the concern evidenced by Government of Myanmar officials regarding the need to respond vigorously to the murder of the leading human rights lawyer. However, as the observers who attended the trial from 16 June 2017 to 15 February 2019 noted many instances where basic rights for those accused were not respected, the IBAHRI emphasises that it is vital to uphold essential human rights in the criminal process taken against those accused.
The report, The murder of U Ko Ni: IBAHRI trial observation highlights fair trial concerns in Myanmar, reveals the conduct of Myanmar’s authorities as having fallen significantly short of both international and domestic legal standards which safeguard the accused’s right to a fair trial. The report identifies a number of serious breaches of fundamental human rights, including: failure of police to follow legal procedures; continued detention of those accused of bailable offences; allegations of torture and ill-treatment during detention; intimidation of witnesses; denial of access to a lawyer during pre-trial detention; failure of the court to exclude evidence obtained unlawfully; obstruction of the defence’s access to evidence; failure to respond to threats against lawyers; inappropriate deference towards the testimonies of Buddhist monks; and imposition of the mandatory death penalty.
July 2, 2019
On 1 July 2019, Lawyers for Lawyers together with Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada and the Human Rights Institute of the International Bar Association delivered a joint oral statement to the Human Rights Council on the attacks on lawyers in China, Philippines, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. The statement was delivered during the 41st session of the Council.
The statement reads as follows:
In countries where lawyers are imprisoned and prosecuted for defending rights, there is no equal access to justice or protection of rights.
In China, numerous human rights lawyers have been disappeared, arbitrarily imprisoned, tortured, or disbarred. In Saudi Arabia, lawyer Waleed Abu al-Khair is one of hundreds of rights defenders arbitrarily convicted and detained. In Turkey, 311 lawyers have been arbitrarily convicted and detained since July 2016. In the Philippines, 40 jurists are among the “staggering number” of victims of extrajudicial killings since July 2016. Last month, eleven Special Procedures mandate holders called for an independent investigation of grave abuses in the Philippines.
We urge Council to:
INTERNATIONAL BAR ASSOCIATION’S HUMAN RIGHTS INSTITUTE (IBAHRI)
April 12, 2019
Following the announcement of the ousting of Sudan’s President Omar Al Bashir and the Defence Minister, Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf, assuming leadership of the country, the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) calls on the army and transitional government to ensure respect for human rights and the rule of law in Sudan.
IBAHRI Co-Chair, the Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG, stated: ‘While not wishing to comment on the legality or otherwise of this transition, it must be emphasised that it is imperative that human rights and the rule of law are respected. The overthrowal of a brutal tyranny must not be the occasion of new and gross violations of human rights. The military must ensure that the state of emergency called for the next two months is not used as an excuse to undermine fundamental human rights. The violations that have accompanied the protests cannot continue. In addition, individuals arbitrarily arrested and detained during the protests that preceded this transition must be immediately released.’
In December 2018, increased prices on fuel, bread and medicine, as well as limits on cash withdrawals, sparked ongoing protests across Sudan. These protests intensified on 6 April 2019 when thousands of protesters gathered outside the residence of then President Al Bashir to demand his resignation. On 11 April 2019, the Defence Minister, General Ibn Ouf, announced that President Al Bashir had been removed from power and that the army would oversee a two-year transition period until elections take place.
During the December protests, excessive force by the National Intelligence and Security Service, other security forces and police led to the deaths of at least 38 people. Persons connected to demonstrations were arrested and detained, with some reportedly tortured. Many of these detainees were denied access to lawyers, family members and possibly medical assistance. Many remain under detention either pending trial or having been convicted on tenuous charges for their actual or perceived participation in the protests.