Tag Archives: Lawyers for Lawyers

Imprisoned Iranian lawyer distinguished by European Bars

23/09/22

Amirsalar Davoudi, an imprisoned Iranian lawyer, is the winner this year of the Ludovic-Trarieux International Human Rights Prize, awarded this Friday, September 23 in Bordeaux, we learned from the organization.

The Warsaw Bar is named for its part “bar of the year» by this jury made up of representatives of around ten European bar associations and lawyers’ associations.

Amirsalar Davoudi, who has acted as a lawyer for many human rights defenders before Iranian courts, and hosted a Telegram group for Iranian lawyers, was arrested at the end of 2018 for, in particular, insulting the Supreme Leader and propaganda against the ‘State. He was sentenced to a total of thirty years in prison and 111 lashes.

Released last June for irregularities, he was reincarcerated thirteen days later to serve a ten-year sentence in Evin prison in Tehran, where he is still. In 2018, the Ludovic-Trarieux prize had already gone to an Iranian lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh.

“Judicial Harassment”

By once again awarding the prize to an Iranian lawyer, hit by real judicial harassment and imprisoned for several years, the jury wanted to underline that the forces of democracy and human rights defenders were falling asleep in the face of the ever-renewed threat from Iran, and the fate reserved for its lawyers“, told AFP Me Bertrand Favreau, creator of the prize and president of the jury.

Amirsalar Davoudi is singled out as at least 17 people have been killed in recent days in Iran in protests sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, arrested on September 13 in Tehran for “wearing inappropriate clothingby the morality police, responsible for enforcing the dress code of the Islamic Republic. The jury also awarded the prize for the bar of the year to that of Warsaw “for his defense of the independence of magistrates while the Polish government puts them under the yoke“.

[…]

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/fr/profile/amirsalar-davoudi

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amirsalar_Davoudi

http://www.ludovictrarieux.org/uk-index.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludovic_Trarieux_International_Human_Rights_Prize

https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1312507/un-avocat-iranien-emprisonne-distingue-par-les-barreaux-europeens.html (FRANCAIS)

https://www.lefigaro.fr/flash-actu/droits-humains-un-avocat-iranien-emprisonne-distingue-par-les-barreaux-europeens-20220923

https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/fil-dactualites/230922/droits-humains-un-avocat-iranien-emprisonne-prime-par-ses-pairs-europeens

https://www.sudouest.fr/societe/iran-un-avocat-emprisonne-distingue-par-un-prix-international-pour-les-droits-de-l-homme-12372697.php

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prix_Ludovic-Trarieux

http://www.ludovictrarieux.org/fr-index.htm

https://www.hra-news.org/2022/hranews/a-36088/ (FARSI)

Verdict delayed as ailing Chinese rights lawyer refuses to ‘confess’, plead guilty

08/09/22

Li Yuhan is thought to have been targeted for defending prominent rights lawyer Wang Yu during a 2015 crackdown.

Since Chinese human rights lawyer Li Yuhan stood trial in the northeastern Chinese province of Liaoning in October 2021 for “fraud” and “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble,” a charge often used to target peaceful critics of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP), there has been scant news of her fate.

There were concerns over Li’s worsening health at the time of Li’s trial at the Heping District People’s Court in Shenyang, provincial capital of Liaoning, while diplomats were denied permission to attend the trial.

But since the trial concluded, nearly a year has passed with no verdict or sentence being made public, her lawyer told RFA in a recent interview.

“They haven’t issued a verdict,” the lawyer said. “Her family and I have contacted the presiding judge many times, and the response we got is ‘we have to wait for the higher-ups [to decide]’.”

“They didn’t give a clear opinion, so they clearly didn’t dare to convict, so they have just kept on dragging their feet,” he said, adding that he has no reason to disbelieve this explanation.

“I don’t think the judge lied … because they will always want to close a case as soon as possible,” he said.

Li is widely believed to have been targeted for her defense of prominent rights lawyer Wang Yu, who was among the first people to be detained in a nationwide operation targeting rights lawyers and activists in July 2015.

Wang said the delay is likely because the authorities are trying to elicit a “confession” from Li.

“The reason why she can’t be sentenced is that the public prosecutor is still trying to force her to confess, and plead guilty,” Wang told RFA.

[…]

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/li-yuhan-09082022102635.html

https://ipkmedia.com/159748/

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/woman-human-rights-defender-and-lawyer-li-yuhans-health-deteriorates-under-prolonged-detention

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/lawyer-trial-10202021132238.html

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/world/article-house-arrest-xi-jingping-china/

Joint statement on Civil society call to end enforced disappearances in China

30/08/22

On the International Day of the Disappeared, Lawyers for Lawyers co-signed a statement, with a large coalition of organisations, which expresses concerns about enforced disappearances in the People’s Republic of China. Amongst the disappeared are several lawyers from China.

Just over five years ago, on 13 August 2017, human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng vanished for the third time. Gao, praised as the ‘Conscience of China’, had long fought for the rights of those who dared to speak out, who belonged to religious minorities, who were evicted from their homes when their land was seized, or who protested against exploitation. For that, he was in and out of prison and separated from his family for nearly a decade. For more than five years, his wife and children have had no idea of his whereabouts, nor even if he is alive.

Gao Zhisheng’s case is severe, and yet represents only the tip of the iceberg: many other activists and lawyers face a similar fate, such as Tang Jitian, disappeared in 2021, tortured, and detained in a secret location. UN experts, including the Working Group on enforced disappearance, have sounded the alarm from as early as 2011 about the use of enforced disappearances against those taking part in China’s human rights movement. It is used to silence those promoting rights and freedoms, to enable acts of torture and ill-treatment without any oversight, and to send a chilling message to any person who may dare to criticize the government.

[…]

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/statement-report/civil-society-call-end-enforced-disappearances-china

https://www.ntd.com/wife-supporters-call-for-lawyers-release_825380.html

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/family-appointed-lawyer-huang-xueqin-dismissed

La VII Caravana Internacional de Juristas recorre Colombia para abogar por la protección de los abogados

26/08/22

La VII Caravana Internacional de Juristas recorre esta semana del 20 al 28 de agosto diferentes zonas de Colombia para conocer de primera mano los riesgos  que enfrentan en este país abogados y defensores de los derechos humanos.

El equipo de la Caravana está conformado por 18 juristas internacionales y expertos en Derechos Humanos de 11 países, incluidos miembros de la Fundación Abogacía, como integrante del Observatorio Internacional de la Abogacía en Riesgo (OIAD).

Esta iniciativa, organizada por ‘Colombian Caravana’, se celebra desde el año 2008 de manera bianual. En esta edición se visitarán las regiones de Bolívar, Norte de Santander, Santander y Valle del Cauca.

La Defensoría del Pueblo, órgano del Estado colombiano, ha informado de que 122 defensores de derechos humanos han sido asesinados entre enero y julio de 2022. Por ello, la misión de este viaje es analizar las amenazas sufridas por este sector y abogar por su protección.

Esta visita de la Caravana se produce en medio de una coyuntura complicada, debido al incumplimiento del Acuerdo Final de Paz firmado en 2016. Desde entonces se ha dado una agudización de las masacres, del desplazamiento forzado en territorios indígenas, afrocolombianos y rurales, así como una criminalización del derecho a la protesta tras el estallido social de 2021.

La delegación se reunirá con autoridades regionales y nacionales del nuevo gobierno presidido por Gustavo Petro con el fin de abordar los desafíos e inquietudes respecto a la seguridad de los abogados y abogadas.

[…]

https://www.cali.gov.co/gobierno/publicaciones/171038/juristas-internacionales-recogieron-informacion-sobre-la-protesta-social-en-cali/

https://www.abogacia.es/actualidad/noticias/la-vii-caravana-internacional-de-juristas-recorre-colombia-para-abogar-por-la-proteccion-de-los-abogados/

https://lawyersforlawyers.org/en/seventh-caravana-internacional-de-juristas/ (ENGLISH)

Mexico: Letter concerning the continued judicial harassment of Juan Carlos Flores Solís and Ana Elizabeth Cabral Pacheco

01/08/22

In a letter, Lawyers for Lawyers expresses concern about the judicial harassment of Mexican lawyers Juan Carlos Flores Solís and Ana Elizabeth Cabral Pacheco.

Juan Carlos Flores Solís and Ana Elizabeth Cabral Pacheco are working as lawyers of the Comité en Defensa del Bosque el Nixticuil – Committee in Defence of the Nixticuil Forest. In this capacity, they have collaborated in the filing of, different judicial amparos, like judicial reviews, against the construction of a planned subdivision in the Nixticuil forest, in a zone adjacent to a protected natural area, located northwest of the metropolitan area of Guadalajara, in the municipality of Zapopán, Jalisco.

Members of the Committee in Defense of the Nixticuil Forest were informed of the existence of investigations against them by personnel from the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic. They did not receive any additional information regarding the persons included in the investigations and the reasons for the complaint.

An official letter, which was later issued by the Attorney General’s Office, made apparent that information was requested from the District Court in relation to the opening of the two investigation folders in relation to the amparo claim (FED/JAL/GDL0003860/ 2021 and FED/JAL/GDL/0001742/2022) against Mr. Flores Solís and Ms. Cabral Pacheco. The complaints were filed by a real estate company called JARHA, S.A. de C.V., one of the developers of the Miralto Residencial real estate project in the municipality of Zapopán, Jalisco. According to the information received, Mr. Floris Solis and Ms. Cabral Pacheco, were being accused of including false information regarding the address of the plaintiffs in the appeal.

It is concerning that both lawyers were not informed by the Mexican authorities about the complaint filed by the real estate company. They only became aware of the accusation against them by luck, after meeting one of their client’s members. Only through monitoring the judicial reviews both lawyers were able to learn more details.

[…]

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/break-and-death-threat-against-environmental-human-rights-defenders-juan-carlos-flores-solis-0

https://www.fidh.org/es/temas/defensores-de-derechos-humanos/mexico-allanamiento-ilegal-del-domicilio-de-juan-carlos-flores-solis (ESPANOL)

https://www.zonadocs.mx/2022/07/06/comite-en-defensa-del-bosque-el-nixticuil/

https://www.informador.mx/ideas/Criminalizacion-vs-defensores-en-Jalisco–20220712-0178.html

Egypt: arrest, detention & short-term disappearance of Youssef Mansour

26/07/22

[…]

BACKGROUND

Topic: arrest, enforced disappearance and arbitrary detention of human rights lawyer, Mr. Youssef Mansour.

Mr. Youssef Mansour is a lawyer, formerly with the Arab Network for Human Rights Information, a non-governmental organisation that shut down in January 2022. He was the defence lawyer of another human rights defender, who was sentenced in December 2021 to four years in prison.

ALLEGATIONS

On 24 March 2022, around 30 security personnel, who arrived in police and civilian cars, arrested Mr. Youssef. Some were armed, some were in civilian clothing, and they produced no arrest warrant but told Mr. Youssef “we are affiliated with the government,” and gave him three minutes to get ready.

It is reported that Mr. Mansour was forcibly disappeared for two days, during which his family had no information about his whereabouts. In addition, his official arrest document was dated 25 March 2022, one day later than his actual arrest. He later told his lawyers that he had been held at the Interior Ministry’s National Security Agency in Cairo, and was questioned about his social media postings.

On Friday 25 March 2022, he was moved to al-Basatin police station, also without the knowledge of his family or lawyer.

On 26 March 2022, Mr. Mansour appeared before the Supreme State Security Prosecutor (SSSP) in Case No. 330/2022 on accusations of spreading false news inside Egypt and outside. Mr. Mansour was questioned about Facebook postings he had made regarding the prison conditions of on of his clients. Mr. Mansour had mentioned in his posts that the prison service sector had refused to implement official family and lawyer visiting permits to his client, held in the maximum security facility within the Tora Prison complex south of Cairo, known as Scorpion 2. He was ordered to be held in pre-trial detention pending investigations.

Mr. Mansour was accompanied by two lawyers during the interrogation, and was allowed to meet privately with them for a few minutes after the interrogation and before he was returned to his place of detention. His lawyers were reportedly not permitted to view the charge sheet or the evidence held against him.

Mr. Mansour has since been held in al-Basatin Police Station, and his pre-trial detention has been renewed twice for 15 days each time.

According to Mr. Mansour’s lawyers, the accusations in Case 330/2022 under which he is held are based on anti-terrorist Law No. 94 of 2015, and on Penal Code No. 95 of 1937 (updated) and they include the crimes of joining a terrorist group, which carries the death penalty, or long-term detention; incitement to commit a terrorist crime, punishable by up to one year in prison; and the dissemination of false news and statements harmful to the national interest, punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to LE 500 (€ 25).

[…]

https://spcommreports.ohchr.org/TMResultsBase/DownLoadPublicCommunicationFile?gId=27301

https://practicesource.com/egypt-arbitrary-arrest-and-detention-of-rights-lawyer-youssef-mansour/

https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO2207/S00209/letter-demanding-free-speech-and-human-rights-reforms-ahead-of-the-2022-un-cop27-climate-conference-in-egypt.htm

Egypt: Rights lawyer Mohamed Ramadan released after 4 years pretrial detention

25/07/22

(ARABIC)

https://english.alaraby.co.uk/news/egypt-frees-human-rights-lawyer-after-4-years-jail (ENGLISH)

https://www.egypttoday.com/Article/1/117876/Egyptian-activist-Mohamed-Ramadan-released-from-prison

https://www.fidh.org/en/issues/human-rights-defenders/egypt-human-rights-lawyer-mohamed-ramadan-detained-for-a-yellow-vest

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/profile/mohamed-ramadan#:~:text=Mohamed%20Ramadan%20is%20a%20human,rights%20defenders%20and%20political%20prisoners.

https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1306721/un-avocat-libere-apres-4-ans-en-preventive-pour-un-post-sur-les-gilets-jaunes.html (FRANCAIS)

UPR submission Sri Lanka

18/07/22

On 14 July 2022, Lawyers for Lawyers submitted a  report for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Sri Lanka. The next UPR of Sri Lanka will take place in January 2023.

The report highlights concerns regarding Sri Lanka’s compliance with its international human rights obligations to guarantee the proper functioning of lawyers, without harassment and hindrance, as set out in the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers (Basic Principles) and other instruments.

The first issue that is highlighted concerns the harassment of lawyers in Sri Lanka. As lawyers have defended anti-government protesters, they have become subject to hostile rhetoric. Also, lawyers belonging to minority groups have indicated to be subject to more frequent harassment and intimidation.

Another concern that is mentioned in the submission is the criminal prosecution of lawyers in relation to their work on politically sensitive cases under anti-terrorism laws.

Lastly, the submission highlights problems with access to clients and lawyer-client confidentiality. Sri Lankan lawyers report difficulty in locating their clients after their arrest and not being able to have confidential conversations with their clients in detention.

In light of these serious concerns regarding the situation of lawyers in Sri Lanka, Lawyers for Lawyers has made multiple recommendations to the Sri Lankan government.

https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/a-voice-of-reason-during-sri-lankas-crisis/article65658282.ece

http://www.slguardian.org/2022/07/sri-lanka-little-lady-lawyer-with-big.html

http://www.lankaenews.com/news/3513/en

https://reliefweb.int/report/sri-lanka/sri-lankas-uprising-forces-out-president-leaves-system-crisis

https://www.arabnews.fr/node/267441/international (FRANCAIS)

Turkmenistan: Joint letter on the continued detention of lawyer Pygamberdy Allaberdyev

18/07/22

In a joint letter, the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute and Lawyers for Lawyers express concern about the continued detention of lawyer Pygamberdy Allaberdyev.

Prior to his arrest in 2020, Mr Allaberdyev worked for oil and gas production office of the Government of Turkmenistan in the city of Balkanabad. He had become an increasingly vocal critic of plans to introduce various amendments to Turkmenistan’s Constitution. His arrest occurred nine days before a pro-democracy rally that he was organising, planned for 14 September 2020. At the Balkanabad police station, officers of the Ministry of National Security from Ashgabat reportedly questioned Mr Allaberdyev on his alleged connections with activists involved in the Turkmen protest movement abroad. There are also reports that Mr Allaberdyev was under surveillance the week before his arrest. The circumstances, charges against and trial of Mr Allaberdyev indicate that the case against him is political.

On 19 August 2020, the Constitutional Commission for the development and consolidation of proposals in connection with the introduction of amendments and additions to the Constitution of Turkmenistan completed work on draft amendments to the Constitution. This included an amendment that former Presidents of Turkmenistan would acquire lifelong membership in the Khalk Maslakhaty (People’s Council), which was to form the higher chamber of a new bicameral parliament, the National Council.

On 5 September 2020, Mr Allaberdyev was arrested without warrant on hooliganism charges following an altercation as he left a grocery store with a friend. Allegedly, an unidentified individual physically attacked Mr Allaberdyev then told police that Mr Allaberdyev had started the altercation.

On 8 September 2020, the Prosecutor’s Office issued an arrest warrant against Mr Allaberdyev, who was charged with intentional harm to health of moderate severity and hooliganism (Articles 108 and 279 of the Criminal Code of Turkmenistan respectively). He was placed in incommunicado pre-trial detention at the authorisation of the prosecutor. His lawyer was not permitted to see him until the day of the trial and their request for relevant case materials were repeatedly rejected by the authorities.

[…]

https://www.rferl.org/a/allaberdyev-turkmenistan-arrest-arbitrary-detention/31852330.html

Submission by Human Rights Watch to the United Nations Human Rights Committee in Advance of its review of China (Hong Kong)

29/06/22

This memorandum provides an overview of Human Rights Watch’s central concerns with respect to the Chinese government’s human rights practices, submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Committee (the “Committee”) in advance of its review of China (Hong Kong) at its 135th session in June/July 2022. This submission, which draws on years of research and documentation by Human Rights Watch, covers the authorities’ misuse of national security legislation, severe restrictions on freedom of the media, and pressure on a once-independent judiciary, among other issues. We hope it will inform the Committee’s assessment of the Chinese government’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

[…]

Access to justice, independence of the judiciary and the right to a fair trial (arts. 2 and 14)

The Chinese government has stepped up pressure on Hong Kong’s independent judiciary, expressing anger at judges’ performance, especially in handling cases related to the 2019 protests. Beijing-controlled newspapers Wen Wei Po and Ta Kung Pao have run articles and opinion pieces that repeatedly named and attacked judges whom they accused of being biased towards the pro-democracy movement, criticizing them when they question police or prosecution evidence, or when they hand down sentences Beijing considers too lenient. These media outlets have called for such judges to be punished for “encouraging chaos on the streets.”

In November 2020, the Hong Kong Bar Association wrote to Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng, calling on her to “defend the judiciary and individual judges against these pernicious accusations,” which it says, “hover on the margins of a contempt of court.” Cheng is not known to have taken any actions to protect judges.

Beijing’s newspapers and pro-Beijing politicians have also attacked the bar association’s then chairperson, Paul Harris, who had called on the government to revise the NSL so that it is consistent with the Basic Law. The papers called Harris “an anti-China politician,” and baselessly linked the organization he co-founded, Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor, with US intelligence agencies. Beijing’s representative office directly called for Harris’ resignation in April 2021??. They have also threatened to take away the bar association’s statutory powers, including those to certify barristers, which would have serious consequences for lawyers’ independence. Harris did not seek re-election, and after the NSL police summoned him, he left Hong Kong abruptly in March 2022.

In April 2022, another prominent human rights lawyer, Michael Vidler, also closed his law firm of 19 years and left Hong Kong, though without giving an explanation.

[…]

https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/06/29/submission-human-rights-watch-united-nations-human-rights-committee-advance-its

https://www.fidh.org/en/issues/human-rights-defenders/china-torture-and-ill-treatment-while-in-detention-of-xu-zhiyong-and

https://www.rfi.fr/fr/asie-pacifique/20220622-xu-zhiyong-et-ding-jiaxi-avocats-du-mouvement-des-nouveaux-citoyens-jug%C3%A9s-en-chine (FRANCAIS)

https://www.zonebourse.com/actualite-bourse/Deux-avocats-chinois-specialises-dans-la-defense-des-droits-sont-juges-pour-subversion-de-l-Etat–40783407/