Tag Archives: International Association of People’s Lawyers

Chinese lawyers banned from discussing cases in public in latest move to tighten control over legal sector


The Chinese legal sector has faced ever-tighter controls. Photo: Shutterstock
  • New guidelines from the official professional association say some lawyers have been ‘hyping up cases’ and trying to influence public opinion
  • Practising and former lawyers warn that the measures will prevent them from representing their clients properly and curb their freedom of speech

China’s official lawyers’ association has introduced new guidelines that ban lawyers from “hyping up cases” online or in the media in the latest move to tighten control over the legal profession.

The ethical guidelines issued by the All-China Lawyers Association this week came into force with immediate effect, initially on a provisional basis.

The Communist Party has been extending its reach into the legal system with tighter regulations and a string of disbarments since 2015’s “709 crackdown”, which saw about 300 rights lawyers, legal assistants and activists rounded up around the country.

A briefing issued by the association said a “small number of lawyers” had “commented inappropriately and disclosed details to hype up their cases”, adding that the guidelines were designed to strengthen professional ethics and enforce discipline by stopping lawyers from releasing details of their cases through the internet, the media or clients’ families.

“Some publicise their cases on the internet to enable ‘trial by public opinion’ while some breach clients’ privacy, insult and defame case handlers, vilify their opponents and mislead public opinion in an attempt to influence the case proceedings,” it continued.

Lawyers are also not allowed to organise petitions and press conferences, publish open letters or engage in public advocacy works with the purpose of fanning public opinion to influence court decisions.

The guidelines say they cannot release documents, video or photographs without court approval.

They will also apply to cases in the post-trial stage, including appeals and retrials.



May be an image of text that says ""Just like everyone else, lawyers are entitled to freedom of opinion, expression, association and peaceful assembly." Diego García García-Sayán UN expert on the ndependence of judges and magistrates UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS மροα Offico /UNHumanRightsAsia /ohchrasia www.bangkok.ohchr.org /onchrasiapacific"

The Philippines: Letter on the killings of Atty. Juan Macababad, Atty. Rex Fernandez and Atty. Sitti Gilda Mahinay-Sapie


Letter on the killings of Atty. Juan Macababad, Atty. Rex Fernandez and Atty. Sitti Gilda Mahinay-Sapie

In a letter to President Duterte, Lawyers for Lawyers expressed concern about the recent killings of Atty. Juan Macababad, Atty. Rex Fernandez and Atty. Sitti Gilda Mahinay-Sapie and the further deteriorating situation of lawyers in the Philippines. Lawyers for Lawyers called on the authorities  of the Philippines to respect their human rights obligations under international law.

On September 15, 2021, Atty. Juan Macababad, was shot dead by two unidentified gunmen in front of his home. According to our information, he had been receiving death threats prior to the attack. Atty. Macababad is the second lawyer killed in the last months, and the third lawyer killed in Cebu in less than a year. On August 26, Atty. Rex Fernandez was shot dead in an ambush while aboard his car in Cebu City on his way home and on July 14, 2021, Atty. Sitti Gilda Mahinay-Sapie and her husband were gunned down by an unidentified suspect outside their home.

Lawyers for Lawyers has been closely monitoring the situation of lawyers in the Philippines for many years and is deeply concerned about the oppressive working environment for lawyers in the country. In the letter, Lawyers for Lawyers urges the President of the Republic to adequately protect the safety and independence of lawyers.

Since the start of the administration, an unprecedented number of lawyers have been killed; very often after being threatened, harassed, and publicly labelled as ‘communist’, ‘terrorist’, or ‘enemies of the State’ by state agents and officials. This labelling takes place regardless of actual political beliefs or affiliations of the targeted individuals and is aimed at making lawyers legitimate targets.

The cases of Attys. Macababbad, Fernandez, and Mahinay-Sapie  are not isolated. At least 65 lawyers, prosecutors and (retired) judges, including 38 practicing lawyers, have been killed in the Philippines since the administration of Duterte took office on June 30, 2016.


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


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

Integrated Bar of the Philippines count of lawyers killed under Duterte inaccurate


Your editorial “Impunity gone berserk” (9/22/2021) contains much with which all would agree—the killing of lawyers with impunity is a threat to the rule of law and therefore to a democratic Philippines. However, it seems that the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) has also gone berserk.

The number of lawyers killed under President Duterte, now 69, is lamentable, but it is nowhere near the 500-percent increase that the IBP proclaims and which, willy nillly, the media continues to trumpet unquestioningly. Unfortunately, the IBP continues to use the inaccurate numbers first produced by the Free Legal Assistance Group.

Here are the numbers recorded by the Monitoring Committee on Attacks on Lawyers of the International Association of People’s Lawyers: According to numerous monitoring groups, there were 18 lawyers killed from the Marcos to Estrada presidencies, 83 under President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and 47 under President Benigno Aquino III. Thus, pre-Duterte there were at least 148 killings.

Your editorial cites the IBP claim that ”the number of lawyers killed since President Duterte came into power in 2016 has skyrocketed by 500 percent.” That is obviously a claim that cannot be justified. What is true is that at 1.1 lawyer killed per month, the rate under Mr. Duterte far exceeds the rates under his two predecessors: Arroyo at 0.74 and Aquino at 0.65.

The IBP would be well advised to seek ways in which the lawyers can protect themselves. Relying on the government, especially when state forces are involved in lawyer killings, is rather like waiting for snow in Manila. They might follow the example being set now in Nigeria where the national Bar has called a temporary boycott of the courts, in similar manner as in France, India, and Pakistan. Governments must be persuaded to act, and not only expected to do so.

Gill H. Boehringer

co-chair, Monitoring Committee on Attacks on Lawyers, International Association of People’s Lawyers






September 2021

Monitoring Committee on Attacks on Lawyers, International Association of People’s Lawyers


Prof. Gill H. Boehringer, Hon. Senior Research Fellow,                 

Macquarie University Law School, Sydney, Australia;

Co-Chair, Monitoring Committee on Attacks Against Lawyers,

International Association of People’s Lawyers


Our Report expands and develops the recent Submission we made to the Supreme Court on “Patterns in the killing of Lawyers: the Case of Attorney Rex Fernandez” (September 8, 2021).  Here we provide  results of our research on Judges and Prosecutors.

While I am the author of this Report  the research has been a joint exercise by the Committee, co-chaired by Prof. Stuart Russell, formerly a colleague at Macquarie University Law School and an Administrative Tribunal Judge in Sydney, Australia.

In Part A, we provide empirical details on the attacks on Attorneys, Judges and Prosecutors. and paralegals. We include survivors as well as those killed. This is the historical and contemporary material that can aid in constructing the Defence and Protection policies needed urgently.

The increasing onslaught against the legal system represented by the attacks on its sentinels must be seen as a constant threat to the rule of law and democracy in the Philippines over the last 20 years, now more than ever. These attacks on legal professionals and paralegals working to support their efforts to provide justice, is an historical legacy of the failure of governments under the Presidencies of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Benigno Aquino III and Rodrigo Duterte, to act with any seriousness to see that the defence and protection of those being targeted is given the attention required.

It is therefore gratifying that the Supreme Court is now providing leadership in recognizing those failures and taking action to rectify them.


We provide below material on all the attacks our Committee has recorded from 2001 to mid September, 2021. It illustrates the size and tenacity of the problem, as well as the increasing rate of attacks with impunity under the government of President Duterte.







The Philippines: FORSEA Dialogue on Attacks on Lawyers in the Philippines


With Prof. Gill Boehringer, Co-Chair of the Monitoring Committee on Attacks on Lawyers, IAPL






NUPL lawyer Juan Macababbad. Image from Karapatan
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The Philippines: Lawyer in South Cotabato shot dead outside house



Lawyer Juan Macababad was a public interest lawyer. Two unidentified gunmen shot him in the head seven times.

Public interest lawyer Juan Macababad was shot dead outside his home in Surallah town, South Cotabato, on Wednesday, September 15, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) confirmed to Rappler.

“Atty. Macababad was gunned down at around 5:30 in the afternoon earlier just outside of his house by two unidentified individuals. According to initial reports, he sustained seven gunshot wounds to the head,” IBP South Cotabato and General Santos chapter president Remigio Rojas told Rappler in a phone interview Wednesday night.

Macababad was declared dead on arrival, said Rojas.

Macababad is a member of the red-tagged National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), and the chairman of the Socsksargen chapter of the  Union of People’s Lawyers in Mindanao (UPLM).

“He’s active in peoples’ lawyering, he handled a wide array of cases from civil to criminal. Wala naman akong nabalitaan na controversial at high profile cases ang nahawakan. (I haven’t heard of any controversial or high profile case that he handled),” said Rojas.

“He was a silent, unassuming & amiable guy who had a ready smile behind his rather fatherly bespectacled profile. We are losing the good guys out there while the bad guys are frolicking and plundering all over,” said NUPL president Edre Olalia.








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Prof. Gill H. Boehringer, Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Macquarie University Law School, Sydney Australia;

Co-Chair, Monitoring Committee on Attacks on Lawyers, International Association of People’s Lawyers


Supreme Court Associate Justice Leonen has called for submissions on the killing of Atty. Rex Fernandez  in order to determine if there are patterns in the killing of Philippine lawyers into which his death fits. [See last page for links to media accounts of the circumstances of the killing.]

I will show that there are indeed such patterns. The sad case of this latest killing in Cebu City can be seen as representing many of the patterns discovered in research carried out on attacks on lawyers for the past two decades by the International Association of People’s Lawyers. The empirical research has been carried out by the Monitoring Committee on Attacks on Lawyers (MCAL), Co-chaired by myself and Professor Stuart Russell.

Numbers of violent attacks on lawyers

We have examined the circumstances in 219 violent attacks on lawyers under Presidents Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Benigno Aquino III and Rodrigo Duterte. In those attacks 197 lawyers were killed since 2001, while 22 survived the attack.

Here are the overall comparative numbers of violent attacks we have recorded, broken down by the role of the lawyers:



The Philippines: Human rights group renews call to end lawyers’ killing


A human rights group has renewed its call to end the killings and continued attacks against lawyers in the country.

“We join lawyers and fellow human rights defenders in calling to stop the attacks against lawyers in the country. Perpetrators of the killings, from the one who pulled the trigger to the masterminds, should be made accountable and be brought to justice,” Karapatan said in a statement.

It also said: “The rampant killings must end, together with a regime that has encouraged and enabled the culture of impunity in our country.” it stressed.

Karapatan’s statement was issued in reaction to the Aug. 26 killing of lawyer Rex Jose Mario Fernandez in Cebu City. Fernandez was Karapatan’s former legal counsel.

Karapatan said that Fernandez “handled cases of rights violations, and represented victims and their families in court for years and defended political prisoners charged with trumped-up cases.”

“A few years after the Writ of Amparo — a legal remedy to seek protection amidst threats to life, liberty and security — was made available by the Supreme Court in 2007, Atty. Fernandez served as legal counsel in petitions for Amparo on a number of cases of abductions and enforced disappearances,” it said.

“Among these were the petition for the Writs of Amparo for Romulo Robinos, Ryan Supan, and disappeared UP students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan,” it cited.

It also said that Fernandez “also lawyered for peasant activist Noriel Rodriguez and Filipino-American activist Melissa Roxas, both abducted, detained and tortured in Cagayan and Tarlac, consecutively, both in the y0ear 2009.”

“In 2010, he went back to Cebu to continue his law practice there, after his stint with Karapatan,” it recalled.

At the same time, Karapatan said that Fernandez “provided legal services to the eight protesters in Cebu who were arrested while protesting the Anti-Terror Law in June 2020, among other cases.”

Reports stated that Fernandez was onboard his car on R. Duterte Street when he was shot by a still unidentified gunman who later fled aboard a motorcycle. His driver was injured and was taken to a hospital. The same reports stated that a woman at the backseat of the car was unhurt.





According to research by the International Association of People’s Lawyers there have been 67 lawyers killed under Duterte, at the rate of 1.1 per month. this is he highest rate of any Presidential regime going back to World War II. From Marcos to Pinoy there were 158 killed. Thus the problem is not unique to the Duterte regime. See:


The Pilippines: Lawyer and husband shot dead in Davao City


A Davao City-based lawyer and her husband were shot by an unidentified suspect outside their home at Solariega Subdivision, Barangay Talomo, this city on Wednesday afternoon.

Capt. Rose Aguilar, spokesperson for Davao City Police Office (DCPO), said that the victims were identified as Atty. Hilda Mahinay and her husband, Muhaimen Mohammad Sapie, hosts of an online-based radio program “Justice Redeemer.”

According to its social media account, Justice Redeemer is an online free legal advice program, tackling “general legal issues” and an opinion-oriented political program, which is also aired over 94.7 Power Radio Davao (DXLL).

The two were gunned down at 5:10 p.m. when they came out of their residence shortly after their radio program, Aguilar said.

Responding authorities rushed the victims to Southern Philippines Medical Center but were declared dead on arrival.

Authorities are still investigating the incident.






https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/07/14/21/abogado-asawa-patay-matapos-pagbabarilin-sa-davao-city (TAGALOG)

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