Tag Archives: Iraq

Iraq/HRW: Officials Threatening, Arresting Lawyers

September 12, 2018

Mosul’s Civil Status Directorate. © 2018 Belkis Wille/Human Rights Watch

Iraqi security officers are threatening, and in some cases arresting, lawyers seen to be providing legal assistance to Islamic State (ISIS) suspects and families perceived to be related to ISIS members, effectively denying them legal services, Human Rights Watch said today.

Lawyers said that, fearing for their lives, they have stopped representing ISIS suspects or people perceived to be related to them. As a result, ISIS suspects are relying on state-appointed defense lawyers, who rarely provide an adequate defense, and families with perceived ties to ISIS suspects are generally left without access to legal services.

“The Iraqi government is attacking lawyers for doing their job and is effectively preventing people who need legal services from getting them,”  said Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “In addition to being illegal, these attacks have a corrosive effect on the rule of law by sending a message that only some Iraqis have the right to legal representation.”

In July and August 2018, Human Rights Watch interviewed 17 lawyers working in and around Mosul for international and local organizations that provide legal services to those affected by Iraq’s recent armed conflict. The services include defending people against terrorism charges and assisting families who lived under ISIS control to get the civil documentation they need to live in government-controlled areas, an well as for welfare benefits (known as Public Distribution System or PDS cards) that they lost during their time under ISIS.

The lawyers all said they had witnessed or experienced threats and other verbal harassment by National Security Service or Ministry of Interior Intelligence and Counter Terrorism officers for providing legal representation to those viewed by security forces as “ISIS” or “ISIS families.” One said an Interior Ministry intelligence officer detained him for his legal activities for two hours, while another said that intelligence officers detained two other legal aid workers for two months, finally releasing them without charge.

https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/09/12/iraq-officials-threatening-arresting-lawyers

http://www.kurdistan24.net/en/news/69c3896d-2a97-452d-bf45-a5dc18d7c007

http://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/130920182

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Iraq: Protect the right to peaceful demonstration, release all detained demonstrators and reopen access to the Internet / Assassination of human rights lawyer Jabbar Mohammed Al-Karm in Basra

July 24, 2018

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) has received reliable reports confirming that Iraqi authorities have used disproportionate force against peaceful demonstrators resulting in at least 13 deaths, 269 injuries and 757 detentions. In many cities across Iraq, the authorities used water cannons, tear gas and on several occasions live ammunition to disperse peaceful demonstrations. In Basra, the human rights lawyer Jabbar Mohammed Al-Karm (pictured above) was assassinated by gunmen after offering to defend the detainees.

Assassination of human rights lawyer Jabbar Mohammed Al-Karm.

On July 23, 2018, gunmen assassinated human rights lawyer Jabbar Mohammed Al-KarmThe killing took place near the Al Hadi police station, shortly after Al Karm had left the Palace of Justice. The armed men, who were driving a Toyota Land Cruiser, intercepted his car and shot him 15 times. Jabbar Al-Karm was known to be defending many of the demonstrators detained in Basra since the protests began on July 08, 2018.

The GCHR condemns, in the strongest terms, the killing of Jabbar Mohammed Al-Karm and expresses its deep concern for the situation of all human rights defenders in Iraq, including lawyers, journalists and bloggers who are bravely continuing their work in the face of extreme danger.

https://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/1912

http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-07/24/c_137343615.htm

https://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/1913 (ARABIC)

Turkey/Greece: [VIDEO] Medical professor, lawyer detained while fleeing Turkey to Greece

August 2, 2018

[VIDEO] Medical professor, lawyer detained while fleeing Turkey to Greece

At least three people were intercepted in Edirne while they were reportedly on their way to escape to Greece with illegal means, in the latest of such attempts aimed at avoiding Turkey’s post-coup crackdown.

A lawyer; a medical professor who was earlier removed from his post at the Inonu University over ties to the Gulen movement; and the latter’s wife were detained near Turkey’s Greek border in Edirne province, media said July 31.

Two others, believed to be the organizers of the trip, were also rounded up and put in pre-trial detention.

Turkish government accuses Gulen followers of masterminding the failed coup and calls them FETO, short for the alleged Fethullahist Terrorist Organization. The group denies terrorist activities.

Thousands of people have fled Turkey due to a massive witch-hunt launched by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government against sympathizers of the Gülen movement in the wake of a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016. The government accuses the movement of masterminding the coup while the latter denies involvement.

More than 150,000 people have been detained and some 90,000 including academics, judges, doctors, teachers, lawyers, students, policemen and many from different backgrounds have been put in pre-trial detention since last summer.

https://turkeypurge.com/video-medical-professor-lawyer-detained-while-fleeing-turkey-to-greece

https://arrestedlawyers.files.wordpress.com/2018/07/defence-for-defenders.pdf

Factsheet: Challenges to the Independence of the Legal Profession under the State of Emergency in Turkey

https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/07/20/turkey-normalizing-state-emergency

http://preview.mailerlite.com/r0z9q0/926730649786650821/v3h4/

https://stockholmcf.org/academic-from-scottish-university-arrested-in-turkey-for-criticizing-erdogan/

https://turkeypurge.com/turkish-govt-dismisses-18601-more-public-servants-with-new-state-of-emergency-decree

https://ahvalnews.com/united-nations/un-official-speaks-out-over-exclusion-turkish-judge

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/306290/World/Region/Erdogan-Oneman-rule-in-Turkey.aspx

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/iraqi-lawyer-tortured-in-istanbul-134260

https://stockholmcf.org/former-turkish-prosecutor-held-in-solitary-confinement-for-500-days/

https://stockholmcf.org/turkish-govt-issues-detention-warrants-for-56-people-over-alleged-links-to-gulen-movement/

https://www.amnestyusa.org/press-releases/turkey-lifting-of-state-of-emergency-must-pave-road-back-to-justice/

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/turkey-end-state-emergency-not-enough-reverse-suffocating-crackdown

https://www.newsweek.com/arrests-plague-turkey-two-years-after-coup-attempt-1024287

https://www.patreon.com/TheArrestedLawyers

#DayoftheEndangeredLawyer

UK/Iraq: NEWS Exclusive: SRA to appeal Leigh Day tribunal verdicts

November 14, 2017

The Solicitors Regulation Authority is to contest Leigh Day’s exoneration on misconduct charges brought in connection with claims brought over allegations over British forces’ behaviour in Iraq.

The regulator confirmed its intention to take proceedings to the High Court during a Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal hearing yesterday, the Gazette can reveal.

Leigh Day, which was cleared of misconduct along with three of its solicitors, has applied for the SRA to pay 60% of its final costs bill. Initial estimates suggest the firm has incurred £7.8m defending itself so far. The firm applied for an interim £1.5m payment on account during yesterday’s hearing, but the SRA contested this partly on the grounds it will appeal the overall decision.

Timothy Dutton QC of Fountain Court Chambers, representing the SRA, said the appeal will be based both on points of law and contesting the tribunal’s judgment.

He gave an indication that the SRA would rely on the fact that one tribunal member dissented on some of the charges and thought they should have been found proven. The SRA will also argue that separate, but in its opinion linked, charges relating to Public Interest Lawyers director Phil Shiner – who worked in conjunction with Leigh Day – were found proven at SDT.

Dutton added: ‘In these circumstances an appeal clearly has prospects of success, particularly in circumstances where a fellow tribunal has unanimously found matters proved against Mr Shiner.’

Addressing the two tribunal members who cleared Leigh Day, Dutton said: ‘The [High Court] is in the primary best position to deal with matters of law. There will be an appeal on matters of law as well as judgment, particularly in circumstances where four tribunal members have agreed with the SRA which puts you [the two tribunal members who cleared Leigh Day] in the minority.’

Dutton said the SRA’s costs – understood to be around £1.5m – were significantly lower than those incurred by Leigh Day, and the regulator had yet to see a breakdown of elements of the firm’s costs.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/exclusive-sra-to-appeal-leigh-day-tribunal-verdicts/5063687.article

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/practice/leigh-day-asks-for-468m-in-defence-costs/5063683.article

UK/Iraq: ‘Tank chasing’ lawyer defends decision to sue British army over Iraq

August 16, 2017

Image result for Martyn Day

Martyn Day thrives on a fight.

His critics accuse him of being a “tank chaser” for bringing hundreds of lawsuits against the British army over its actions in Iraq and Afghanistan. But others say Mr Day and Leigh Day, the law firm he co-founded in 1987, have pioneered class compensation lawsuits while other law firms have backed away.

Mr Day’s most notable successes include winning a £55m out-of-court settlement from oil group Royal Dutch Shell over two oil spills that affected thousands of Nigerian fishermen and a £19.9m compensation award from the UK government on behalf of Kenyans tortured by British troops in the 1950s.

“I’ve always liked those big fights, those big challenges,” he said in a recent interview with the Financial Times. “I started off doing personal injury cases but I really like a good fight.”

Earlier this year, Mr Day, 60, faced the fight of his career when he, two colleagues and Leigh Day were charged with professional misconduct for their handling of claims that British troops had tortured Iraqi civilians.

https://www.ft.com/content/aad664b6-791a-11e7-a3e8-60495fe6ca71

https://www.theguardian.com/law/2017/jun/22/martyn-day-no-need-apologise-british-soldiers-over-iraq-claims

Iraq: Lawyers Arrested for Work in ISIS Courts

August 10, 2017

A man walks across a street in al-Hamdaniya, Iraq November 25, 2016. Picture taken November 25, 2016. © 2016 Reuters

Iraqi authorities have issued arrest warrants for at least 15 private lawyers since July 24, 2017, on charges of Islamic State (also known as ISIS) affiliation for their past work in ISIS courts, Human Rights Watch said today. While lawyers are not immune from prosecution if they engage in criminal activity, they should not be prosecuted for doing their job as lawyers, nor should the authorities associate them with their clients’ cause simply because they represented them.

All were representing ISIS suspects facing trial in Iraqi courts at the time of their arrest, raising concerns among local lawyers that the warrants were issued to intimidate lawyers defending ISIS suspects. One senior judge told Human Rights Watch that since the warrants were issued, private lawyers had stopped taking cases of any defendants that they believed to be ISIS-affiliated, only taking cases of people they thought were innocent. As a result, only state-appointed lawyers are taking on the cases of those believed to be ISIS-affiliated. Based on interviews with four lawyers, there are serious concerns that the state-appointed lawyers are not providing a robust defense of these clients.

“The authorities should immediately explain why they are detaining and charging these lawyers,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “They need to make it clear that Iraqi lawyers should not be afraid to defend ISIS suspects.”

https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/08/10/iraq-lawyers-arrested-work-isis-courts

http://www.iraqinews.com/features/hrw-iraq-hunt-lawyers-suspected-links-islamic-state/

UK/Iraq: Law firm cleared of misconduct over wrongfully hounding troops could face second probe

July 9, 2017

Leigh Day solicitors Anna Crowther, left, Martyn Day, centre , and Sapna Malik, right, were cleared of any wrongdoing concerning their work on torture allegations against British troops in Iraq in June 

Campaigners are calling for solicitors to face a new hearing on charges of wrongfully hounding troops after it emerged that one of three panellists hearing their case thought they were guilty on 12 counts.

Law firm Leigh Day and three of its solicitors were cleared of a string of misconduct allegations following a disciplinary hearing.

They were charged by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) after the Ministry of Defence submitted a lengthy dossier of alleged wrongdoing, including claims they caused innocent troops years of torment.

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) found the firm and its solicitors not guilty of more than 20 charges last month.

But it has emerged that one of the three members of the panel, Richard Hegarty, a senior partner at a law firm, believed they were guilty in relation to 12 of the allegations.

A document published on the SDT’s website states on the record that Mr Hegarty ‘dissented with the majority’ in respect to the dozen charges.

A source close to the inquiry said: ‘This is believed to be the first time the SDT has ever made explicit that a panel member disagreed with the panel. This is unprecedented.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4680134/Law-firm-face-second-probe-troops-witch-hunt.html