Tag Archives: Lawyers for Lawyers

Vietnam: UPR of Vietnam: Advocacy Charter Lawyers for Lawyers and Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada

December 22, 2018

Stakeholders’ submission

(1) In the last years, the crackdown on freedom of expression has intensified. Reports indicate that in 2017, Viet Nam authorities have detained or exiled many peaceful activists and bloggers. Human rights lawyers who work on sensitive cases frequently face reprisals either in relation to their own human rights advocacy or their legal representation of people seen as critical of the Government. They are subjected to, amongst other things, threats, harassment and intimidation. Some lawyers have been the victim of physical attacks in connection to their legitimate advocacy. See Joint submission (JI) L4L & LRWC, par.10

A number of lawyers in Viet Nam have even been subjected to arrests and prosecution in connection to their professional activities or in relation to their human rights advocacy. See JI L4L & LRWC, par.11

(2) Governments must protect lawyers from unfair or arbitrary disciplinary proceedings. Disciplinary action against lawyers must be based solely on a code of professional conduct consistent with recognized ethical and professional standards including the Basic Principles and determined by an independent tribunal after a fair hearing conducted in accordance with international due process requirements. Before the UPR review of Viet Nam in 2014, several leading human rights lawyers had been disbarred, including lawyers Le Cong Dinh, Nguyen Van Dai, and Le Quoc Quan. More recently, other lawyers have been disbarred or are facing disbarment or other disciplinary actions on improper grounds. See JI L4L & LRWC, par.12











Turkey/Day of the Endangered Lawyer: Trial against lawyer Can Tombul

December 13, 2018

On 12 December, Lawyers for Lawyers, Fair Trial Watch, Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, the European Democratic Lawyers and the Human Rights Committee of the Norwegian Bar Association called on the authorities of Turkey to immediately release lawyer Can Tombul. 


Can Tombul works as a lawyer of the Law Bureau of the Oppressed (EHB). Together with his colleagues Mr. Tombul represents victims and family members of victims of the bombings / massacres in Ankara and Suruç in 2015. He has also been involved in documenting human rights violations in South-East Turkey.

Can Tombul was arrested on 31 July 2018 in Istanbul on charges of ‘membership of a terrorist organization’, and has been held in pre-trail detention ever since. The first hearing in his case was on 13 December 2018. We were informed that his case file contains information that directly relates to his work as a lawyer: regarding meetings with clients, telephone calls, twitter messages about cases and about human rights violations, demonstrations etc. Two funerals he attended in 2013 and 2015 are also cited as evidence of the charges against him.








https://www.advokatforeningen.no/aktuelt/Nyheter/2018/desember/menneskerettighetsutvalget-stotter-tyrkiske-advokater/ (NORWEGIAN)


Image may contain: 1 person, standing, ocean, sky, text, outdoor and water

Büromuz avukatlarından Can Tombul’un tutuklu yargılandığı davanın ilk duruşması 13 Aralık Perşembe günü saat 10:30 da İstanbul(Çağlayan) 35. Ağır Ceza Mahkemesi’nde görülecek. Meslektaşlarımızı ve tüm dostlarımızı dayanışmaya çağırıyoruz.

(Ezilenlerin Hukuk Bürosu Facebook, 10/12/18)


Colombia: Joint Letter issued to the Colombian President concering threats made to the lawyer Daniel Prado

December 4, 2018

Daniel Prado: “Unfortunately in our country receiving threats goes hand in hand with a commitment to life and dignity”

The Law Society of England & Wales, Lawyers Rights Watch Canada, Lawyers for Lawyers, the Bar Council of England & Wales, and the Bar Human Rights Committee express their concern about serious threats made against the lawyer Daniel Prado in Colombia


Mr. Prado represents victims of atrocities committed by a paramilitary group. See on the right side of this page the letter in English and Spanish.






Turkey: L4L and FTW observe hearing lawyers Ezilenlerin Hukuk Bürosu

December 4, 2018

L4L and FTW observe hearing lawyers Ezilenlerin Hukuk Bürosu

On 29 November 2018 representatives of Lawyers for Lawyers (L4L), Fair Trial Watch (FTW) and lawyers from Switzerland and the Netherlands observed the second hearing in the trial against lawyers Sezin Uçar, Őzlem Gümüstas and Gülhan Kaya of Ezilenlerin Hukuk Bürosu (“Law firm of the Oppressed”). Also observing the hearing were Evert-Jan Henrichs, president of the Amsterdam Bar Association, and Nardy Desloover, ex-president of the Rotterdam Bar Association, who represented the joint Dutch Bar Associations.


This case is one of many cases against lawyers who are accused of involvement in terrorism for activities performed in their professional capacity. Since July 2016 (the month of the attempted coup) more than 1500 lawyers have been prosecuted, 593 lawyers have been arrested, and 208 lawyers have been sentenced – 15 of them in November 2018 alone – to long imprisonments by first instance courts under article 314 of the Turkish penal code. Article 314 criminalizes membership and leadership of an armed organization. Lawyers have particularly been targeted due to the identity or the affinity of their clients.

In this case, the lawyers are prosecuted because they represented family members of people who died in Syria while fighting ISIS, offered legal aid to repatriate the bodies of the deceased, attended autopsies, gathered facts about their deaths and attended their funerals. They also attended protests, presented press statements and posted social media posts about human rights violations. The evidence of the case is partly based on statements of anonymous witnesses which are, according to the defense, largely copy-pasted from similar statements that are used in other cases. The defense maintained that the file contains no evidence for any criminal acts.

Sezin Uçar and Őzlem Gümüstas have been in pre-trial detention for almost a year; they were released on 5 October 2018. Gülhan Kaya was under judicial control since the beginning of the case (duty to notify weekly); at the hearing of 29 November 2018 the court decided to lift that judicial control. However, a travel ban is still intact for all three lawyers, and the case goes on.





https://www.gazeteduvar.com.tr/gundem/2018/12/05/cagdas-hukukcular-dernegi-davasinda-bir-tahliye/ (TURKCE)

https://www.evrensel.net/haber/367167/13-aydir-tutuklu-yargilanan-gazeteci-temel-yine-tahliye-edilmedi (TURKCE)

https://www.facebook.com/EzilenlerinHB/ (TURKCE)


Lawyers for Lawyers: Lawyers Under Attack: Stories of Solidarity Among Legal Professionals

October 14, 2018

The connection between human rights and the independence of judges and lawyers is undeniable. As early as 1994, the Human Rights Commission (replaced by the Human Rights Council in 2006) noted with concern the growing attacks to the independence of lawyers and judges and decided to appoint a Special Rapporteur on this matter. As this problematic issue continued over the years and worsened in many countries, its mandate has been extended and continues nowadays. During the past year, Mr. Garcia-Sayan, current Special Rapporteur, has called for global attention regarding worrisome attacks against lawyers in China, Turkey and the Maldives and efforts by Governments to undermine judicial independence in Poland and the Philippines.

In order to learn more about this important topic we talked to “Lawyers for Lawyers” (L4L), an independent Dutch lawyers organization, which promotes and protects the independence of the legal profession through the support and empowerment of lawyers all over the world who face reprisals, improper interferences and restrictions because of their work, very often because they stood up for the human rights of their clients. Judith Lichtenberg and Sophie de Graaf (Executive Director and Policy &Programme Officer respectively at L4L) told us about the mission of L4L, problems faced by lawyers in the exercise of the legal profession nowadays and the work of L4L standing up for and supporting lawyers at risk.

Let us start from the beginning: where did the idea to found Lawyers 4 Lawyers come from?

Sophie de Graaf (SG): L4L is an independent non-profit organisation made up of lawyers, who promote common values of lawyers and their contribution to the justice system and the rule of law and stand up for colleagues who are hindered or threatened because of their work. The organisation has its roots in a solidarity campaign with Argentinean lawyers who disappeared or were detained without trial by the Military Junta during the years 1976 to 1983.




http://iravaban.net/203215.html (ARMENIAN)

https://lawyersforlawyers.org/ (NEDERLANDS)

Turkey: Int’l bar associations urge Turkish gov’t to release all legal professionals and journalists

September 14, 2018

Several international bar associations have urged the Turkish government led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to unconditionally release and drop charges against all legal professionals, defenders and journalists who have been arbitrarily arrested, charged or sentenced without credible evidence and in violation of fair trial guarantees.

The Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), Lawyers for Lawyers (L4L), The Law Society (TLS) and nongovernmental organizations in special consultative status said in a statement to the 39th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council that the situation of judges, lawyers, journalists and human rights defenders in Turkey deteriorated dramatically after a coup attempt by a section of Turkey’s military on July 15, 2016,

“On 20 July 2016, President Erdogan imposed a State of Emergency decree that resulted in widespread, systematic violations of non-derogable rights, including arbitrary deprivation of liberty, torture, and enforced disappearances,” the international lawyers’ associations said, adding, “While the State of Emergency was lifted on 18 July 2018, Turkey passed legislation on 25 July 2018, codifying emergency decree laws for a further three years, that facilitates the arbitrary dismissal of judges and officials, detention without charge for up to 12 days without adequate court oversight, and imposes restrictions on assembly.”

The statement continues as follows:




Vietnam: Failure to Comply with International Human Rights Obligations | Joint Submission

July 30, 2018

  1. Lawyers for Lawyers (“L4L”) and Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (“LRWC”) jointly submit this report on the state of human rights in Viet Nam, especially in respect of the legal profession, with recommendations for the 32nd session of the UPR Working Group in the UN Human Rights Council in January-February 2019. This report was co-signed by Viet Tan.
  2. L4L is an independent and non-political Netherlands foundation, which was established in 1986 and is funded by lawyers’ donations. L4L promotes the proper functioning of the rule of law through the free and independent exercise of the legal profession around the world. L4L has special consultative status with ECOSOC since 2013.
  3. LRWC is a committee of Canadian lawyers and other human rights defenders who promote human rights and the rule of law through advocacy, education, and legal research. LRWC is a volunteer-run NGO in special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
  4. This submission highlights key concerns regarding Viet Nam’s compliance with its international human rights obligations to guarantee the right to independent counsel as set out in the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers [1] (“Basic Principles”) and other international human rights instruments, focusing the lack of effective guarantees for the functioning of lawyers, including the lack of freedom of expression and association of lawyers. Non-compliance with the Basic Principles undermines the proper functioning of the judicial system, in particular the right to fair trial and effective access to justice.