Tag Archives: Lawyers for Lawyers

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.


Thailand/Lawyers for Lawyers: One year after receiving the L4L-Award 2017: Sirikan ‘June’ Charoensiri

June 18, 2018


Thai human rights lawyer Sirikan Charoensiri – known to friends as ‘June’- was the first woman to receive the Lawyers for Lawyers Award one year ago. She was rewarded for her ‘unwavering courage and commitment’ in defending human rights in Thailand. We asked her what has happened since receiving the Award and her return to Thailand. Read also the interview with June on our website: https://bit.ly/2yFmzET

Many thanks to Human Rights in the Picture (http://www.humanrightsinthepicture.org, @HumanRightsinthePicture) for creating this video.

http://www.advocatenvooradvocaten.nl/13355/video-sirikan-june-charoensiri-received-l4l-award-one-year-ago/ (VIDEO)



https://www.amnesty.nl/actueel/bedanktvideo-sirikan-charoensiri (NEDERLANDS)



Turkey: L4L and FTW in Istanbul for hearings

May 15, 2018

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On 10 May 2018, three hearings were held in Istanbul in cases against lawyers that are suspected of terrorism-related crimes: the KCK-case, the ŐHD-case, and a new case (Cizre-protest). Representatives of Lawyers for Lawyers (L4L) and Fair Trial Watch observed two of those hearings, together with observers from the United Kingdom, Norway, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Spain. They were accompanied by Nardy Desloover, ex-president of the Rotterdam Bar Association, who represented the Dutch Bar Associations.

Since the attempted coup in July 2016, 1.539 lawyers have been persecuted in Turkey. 580 Lawyers have been arrested and 103 lawyers have been sentenced to imprisonment, all for terrorism-related charges (Source: “Incarceration of Turkish lawyers | En masse arrests and convictions”, The Arrested Lawyers Initiative, April 2018, see www.arrestedlawyers.org). Many lawyers are defendants in more than one case.

From conversations with lawyers and organizations in Istanbul, the observers learned that the situation of lawyers in Turkey is still very difficult. All accused and detained lawyers are obviously severely hindered in defending their clients. The accusations and the arrests also have a chilling effect on other lawyers.


The first hearing was the 16thhearing in the KCK-case (ˈKCK Lawyers Trialˈ): the case that started with the arrest of 46 lawyers in November 2011 and is still pending in court. The accused lawyers all represented PKK-leader Abdullah Őcalan and are charged with membership of a terrorist organization and terrorism-related activities. Some of the lawyers had been in pre-trial detention for almost 2,5 years.




Morocco: Moroccan lawyer El Bouchtaoui convicted

March 30, 2018


Lawyers for Lawyers and The Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) have written a joint letter to the Prime Minister of Morocco regarding the recent conviction of Moroccan lawyer Abdessadeq El Bouchtaoui. On 8 February, he was sentenced to 20 months in prison by the Al Hoceima court in first instance.

His conviction is, among other things, based on charges of “insulting public officials,” “contempt of judicial decisions,” and “inviting people to participate in a prohibited demonstration.” It appears that Mr. El Bouchtaoui’s conviction is connected to his legal representation of the Al-Hoceima activists and his criticism on Facebook regarding the Al-Hoceima demonstrations. According to the information received, the public prosecution used Facebook posts as evidence, many of which were critical of the government due to police violently suppressing the demonstrations.

The CCBE and Lawyers for Lawyers have reason to believe that this conviction is connected to Mr. El Bouchtaoui’s professional activities as a lawyer. Therefore, we called on the Moroccan authorities to immediately release Mr. El Bouchatoui. In addition, CCBE and Lawyers for Lawyers asked the Prime Minister to take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of lawyers in Morocco as well as their ability to perform their professional duties without fear of reprisal, hindrance, intimidation or harassment.


https://www.bladi.net/abdessadek-el-bouchtaoui-avocat-prison,50809.html (FRANCAIS)

http://www.ccbe.eu/fileadmin/speciality_distribution/public/documents/HUMAN_RIGHTS_LETTERS/Morocco_-_Maroc/2018/FR_HRL_20180329_Morocco_Inquietudes-concernant-la-condamnation-de-l-avocat-marocain-Abdessadeq-El-Bouchtaoui.pdf (FRANCAIS)

Egypt: Arrest and harassment of lawyer Mohamed Azmy

December 22, 2017


Lawyers for Lawyers has grave concerns about the arrest, subsequent release and judicial harassment of human rights lawyer Mohamed Azmy. In a letter to the Egyptian authorities, we expressed our concerns about Mr. Azmy.

Mohamed Azmy is a human rights lawyer and the current President of the General Nubian Union in Aswan, is an organisation that advocates for the right to return of the indigenous Nubian community to their ancestral land. The marginalised Nubian people have been displaced as a result of various governmental projects, such as the construction of the Aswan High Dam in the 1960s.

On 3 September 2017, Mohamed Azmy was arrested together with other human rights defenders during peaceful demonstrations on the occasion of Eid al-Adha. Mr Azmy and other Nubian rights defenders held a peaceful demonstration, demanding the return of Nubians to their ancestral lands. On that same day, Mr Azmy, together with other Nubian activists, was assaulted by security forces, arrested and taken into custody at Shallal Central Security forces camp.

On 15 November 2017, the Aswan Misdemeanor State Security Emergency Court ordered the release of Mr Azmy and other Nubian rights activists pending their trial. They are being prosecuted on charges of “participating in unauthorized protests” and “repeating chants against the State for the purpose of harming public interest”. If convicted, they could face up to five years in prison. The hearing in their case is adjourned to 26 December 2017following an appeal from the defence team against the trial being held in the State Security Court, which lacks compliance with fair trial standards, and where sentences cannot be appealed.


Egypt: Immediately Release Lawyer Mahienour El-Massry | Joint Letter

December 5, 2017

L4L and LRWC are calling for the immediate release of prominent human rights lawyer Ms. Mahienour El-Massry, who was arrested on 18 November 2017 and has been transferred to a prison in Cairo far from her home base. Ms el-Massry faces illegitimate charges of participating in an unauthorized protest, insulting the President and thuggery for allegedly being at a protest. Ms el-Massry is known as an outstanding advocate for judicial independence and the rights of women, prisoners and workers. She has been the target of arbitrary detention and false prosecutions for a number of years.

Lawyers for Lawyers (L4L) is an independent and non-political Dutch foundation that seeks to promote the proper functioning of the rule of law by pursuing freedom and independence of the legal profession. L4L was granted Special Consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council in July 2013.

Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC) is a committee of lawyers and other human rights defenders who promote international 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.

We are extremely concerned about our Egyptian colleague and human rights lawyer Ms. Mahienour El-Massry.

According to our information, on 18 November 2017 Ms. El-Massry attended a session of the misdemeanour court in Alexandria in relation to her alleged participation in a protest against the government’s transfer of the Tiran and Sanafir islands to Saudi Arabia in June 2016. The court postponed the case until 30 December 2017, and also ordered the two defendants that were present, Ms. El-Massry and Mr. Moatasem Medhat, to remain in custody pending trial. The case also concerns human rights lawyer Asmaa Naeem, lawyer Waleed El Ammary and Zeyad Abou Fadl. The five of them are accused of “participating in an unauthorized protest”, “insulting the President” and thuggery.

Ms. El-Massry is a prominent human rights lawyer known for her activism in favour of judicial independence and the rights of prisoners, workers, and women.