Tag Archives: Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada

Turkey: International Law Obligations to Release ÇHD Lawyers | Letter

October 23, 2019

We write on behalf of Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), a committee of lawyers and human rights defenders who promote international human rights, the independence and security of human rights defenders, the integrity of legal systems and the rule of law through advocacy, education and legal research. LRWC has Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

LRWC has written in the past with respect to various Turkish lawyers and human rights defenders who have been detained, arrested, charged, and/or imprisoned in violation of Turkey’s international human rights law obligations and Turkey’s own Constitution. Communications to the Government of Turkey have been made by LRWC regarding the cases of: Nurullah Albayrak, Eren Keskin, Selçuk Kozağaçlı, Şebnem Korur Fincancı, Ramazan Demir, Mustafa Aydin, Can Tombul, Taner Kilic and numerous other Turkish lawyers. LRWC has also made oral and written statements to the UN Human Rights Council and submissions to the UN Human Rights Council and Special Procedures regarding widespread persecution of lawyers, journalists and other human rights defenders through prosecutions, convictions, arbitrary detentions and other grave human rights abuses in violation of international law.

LRWC has just been advised that on 16 October 2019 the İstanbul Regional Court of Justice 2nd Penal Chamber (Court of Appeals) has rejected the appeals and confirmed the sentences imposed in March 2019 by the Istanbul 37th Heavy Penal Court on lawyers who are members of the Contemporary Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD). The convictions and sentences are contrary to international human rights law, contrary to Turkey’s constitution, and contrary to basic principles of fairness and justice. The alleged crimes that underlie these convictions would not be considered crimes in any country governed by the rule of law.  We urge you to intervene to ensure the release of those sentenced and the vacation and nullification of the convictions and sentences imposed.

An international delegation of lawyers who observed the March 2019 court proceedings that imposed the convictions and sentences, concluded that the, “trial is completely null and void” and called for, “the immediate acquittal of all defendants, to be attained through all possible judicial and legal means.”[1]

Background of this Case

This case involves the sentencing of 20 ÇHD lawyers.  The six lawyers, sentenced to less than five years in prison do not have the right to any further appeal. ÇHD lawyers sentenced to more than five years in prison, have a right to appeal to Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeal.

Turkey: International Law Obligations to Release ÇHD Lawyers | Letter

http://bianet.org/english/law/214528-court-of-appeals-upholds-159-year-prison-term-for-contemporary-lawyers-association-members

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/selcuk-kozagacli-detained

https://www.lawtimesnews.com/news/general/lawyers-rights-watch-canada-calls-for-release-of-convicted-lawyers-in-turkey/321265

https://www.gercekgundem.com/guncel/126431/istinaf-mahkemesinden-selcuk-kozagacli-ve-chd-avukatlari-hakkinda-karar (TURKCE)

http://www.yeniyasamgazetesi1.com/chd-ve-hhbli-avukatlara-verilen-hapis-cezasi-onandi/ (TURKCE)

https://www.gazeteduvar.com.tr/gundem/2019/10/19/ege-insan-haklari-okulu-calistayinda-ikinci-gun-sona-erdi/ (TURKCE)

South Sudan/Kenya/Tanzania: South Sudan and Kenya sued over killing of two activists

August 2, 2019

Hope For Humanity Africa and the Pan African Lawyers Union have sued the governments of South Sudan and Kenya over the abduction and possible subsequent murder of human rights lawyer Dong Samuel and activist Aggrey Idri.

The case is before the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) in Tanzania.

Speaking to Radio Tamazuj on Wednesday, South Sudanese lawyer, Wani Santino Jada said the complainants want explanations on circumstances that led to the disappearance and killing of both men.

Last month, Wani said, South Sudan and Kenya received official invitations from the EACJ, in which Attorney Generals of both nations were summoned to appear before the Tanzania-based court.

He added that Juba confirmed receipt of the invitation on July 18, while Nairobi confirmed receipt of the same letter on July 22.

Wan said several lawyers in the region are demanding that Juba and Nairobi be held liable for the killing of both men.

He revealed that the court had given the Attorney-Generals of the two countries 45 days to appear before the tribunal in Tanzania.

Wani stressed that the deportation of Dong and Idri from Kenya was a blatant violation of East African laws because there were no bilateral agreements between Juba and Nairobi to deport the two activists.

In May, a report submitted to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), by a panel of experts tasked to probe the conflict situation in South Sudan, revealed that both Dong and Idri were kidnapped by the Internal Security Bureau of South Sudan in Nairobi.

It said the two men were then deported to Juba and executed three days later.

Dong, a renowned South Sudanese human rights lawyer and activist, and Aggrey Idri Ezbon, a member of the opposition SPLM-IO, disappeared from the Kenyan capital on 23 and 24 January 2017.

https://radiotamazuj.org/en/news/article/south-sudan-and-kenya-sued-over-killing-of-two-activists

https://www.dropbox.com/s/9bf6hqq6p58w5q8/1%20-%20%20Statement%20of%20Reference.pdf?dl=0

MEET Advocate

https://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/news/ea/South-Sudan-denies-execution-of-prominent-activists/4552908-5097446-uoxweo/index.html

https://www.voanews.com/africa/un-panel-south-sudan-killed-activists

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2019/04/south-sudan-investigate-apparent-2017-killing-of-activists/

https://sudantribune.com/spip.php?article66958

South Sudan: Detention and Disappearance of Dong Samuel Luak and Aggrey Idri | Letter

Welcome to the East African Court of Justice

PALU

South Sudanese lawyer Wani Santino Jada of Hope for Humanity Africa (H4HA)

Pakistan: 10th DAY OF THE ENDANGERED LAWYER 2020 (24-01-2020) WITH THE FOCUS ON PAKISTAN: A struggle to protect Pakistani lawyers, especially against Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism — BASIC REPORT

October 9, 2019

Background

Over the past several years lawyers in Pakistan have been subjected to acts of mass terrorism, murder, attempted murder, assaults, (death) threats, contempt proceedings, harassment and intimidation in the execution of their professional duties.  They have also been arrested, detained or tortured, and in some cases the family members of the murdered lawyer have also been murdered.  Some lawyers have been threatened with disbarment or had their homes raided by the police.  Sometimes Christian lawyers or members of minority sects have been assaulted or threatened with death.  The most notorious attack on Pakistani lawyers occurred on August 8, 2016 when terrorists attacked the Government Hospital of Quetta with a suicide bombing and shooting which resulted in the death of 56 lawyers.  Since there has been an alarming increase in the number of lawyers murdered, with nine reported over the past year.  More recently Saif-ul-Malook received serious death threats for representing Asia Bibi, who had been sentenced to death for blasphemy, as a result of which he was forced to flee temporarily to the Netherlands.

The perpetrators of these attacks have been terrorists, religious zealots, the police and unreported sources. There have also been reports that pro-government militias (which still exist today) have been behind some of the murders, and in some cases lawyers have been killed because they are Shia. In response to these repeated attacks, Pakistani lawyers frequently strike, demonstrate, protest and hold boycotts.

The life of an Advocate is at risk the moment he or she takes up a case. It does not matter if it is the opposing party or the very party that the lawyer is representing.

By its constitution of 1956, the official name of Pakistan is the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. More than 96% of Pakistan’s 197 million citizens (2017) are Muslims, and Islam is the state religion, the overwhelming majority of whom are Sunni Muslims.  Pakistan  has also an important minority of Shi’ite Muslims as well as a number of other minority religions, including Christianity, whose followers are subjected to discrimination, violence and death, especially the misuse of blasphemy laws.  Among countries with a Muslim majority, Pakistan has the strictest anti-blasphemy laws.  The Pakistan Penal Code punishes blasphemy (Urdu: قانون توہین رسالت‎) against any recognized religion, providing penalties ranging from a fine to death.  From 1967 to 2014, over 1,300 people were accused of blasphemy, with Muslims constituting most of those accused.  Between 1987 to 2017 at least 1,500 people were charged with blasphemy and at least 75 people involved in accusations of blasphemy were killed in Pakistan according to the Center for Social Justice.

Many people accused of blasphemy have been murdered before their trials were concluded, and prominent figures who opposed the blasphemy law have been assassinated.  In fact since 1990, 62 people have been murdered following blasphemy allegations.  According to one religious minority source, an accusation of blasphemy commonly exposes the accused, police, lawyers, and judges to harassment, threats, attacks and rioting.

Violence and the threat of violence are omnipresent in Pakistan, and according to the Ministry of Interior terrorism poses a significant threat to the people of Pakistan. The current wave of terrorism is believed to have started in 2000 and peaked during 2009.  According to a 2018 report by Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, 23,372 Pakistani civilians and 8,832 Pakistani security personnel had been killed in the war on terrorism.  Pakistan is said to be a safe haven for a number of terrorist groups, including Al-Qaeda, it has been accused of giving aid to the Taliban and hosting terrorist camps, and therefore it is responsible for state-sponsored or state-condoned terrorism.

Pakistani law is based upon the legal system of British India, thus ultimately on the Common Law of England and Wales.  There are six Bar Councils in Pakistan which came into being as a result of enactment of Legal Practitioners and Bar Councils Act 1973. These Bar Councils regulate legal professionals across provincial, territorial and national levels.  They include the Bar Councils of: Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, Islamabad, Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, as well as the Pakistan Bar Council, the national Bar association.

The cases mentioned in this report have been documented by Pakistani lawyers, the International Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL), Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), Zykyria Muiloo and the European Bar Human Rights Institute (IDHAE).

DOTEL2020Pakistan.BasicDocumentDraft.TS-SR.25.9.2019

https://defendlawyers.wordpress.com/2019/09/26/pakistan-day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-global-bodies-worry-over-pakistani-lawyers-safety/

https://concernedscientists.org/2019/10/pakistan-academic-still-incarcerated-for-blasphemy-for-the-past-five-years/

https://www.oneindia.com/india/no-escaping-pakistan-has-failed-to-curb-terror-funding-may-remain-in-greylist-2960748.html

DAY OF THE ENDANGERED LAWYER – 24 January 2020 – PAKISTAN

https://defendlawyers.wordpress.com/2019/06/22/pakistan-day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-january-24-2020-pakistan/

Homepage

http://www.asianews.it/notizie-it/Asia-Bibi-parla-per-la-prima-volta:-Giustizia-per-le-vittime-innocenti-di-blasfemia-47895.html (ITALIANO)

#DayoftheEndangeredLawyer

Day of the Endangered Lawyer

South Sudan/UN: Call to End the Repression and Persecution of Lawyers | Oral Statement to the 42nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council

September 27, 2019

Organizations: Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada
Item: Item 10: Interactive Dialogue with the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan
Date: 16 September 2019
Speaker: Paul Scambler

Oral Statement to the 42nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council from Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), NGO in special consultative status

Mr. President,

Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada thanks the Commission for its oral report. We share the Commission’s concern about the securitization of the state and the absence of accountability mechanisms in South Sudan.[1]

LRWC deplores the enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings of lawyer and human rights activist Dong Samuel Luak and political opposition member Aggrey Idri, who were abducted from the streets of Nairobi in January 2017.[2] Both men were vocal critics of the South Sudanese government. In April 2019, the UN Panel of Experts on South Sudan reported that it has corroborated evidence strongly suggesting that these men were kidnapped by the National Security Service (NSS), transported from Kenya to Juba, and executed at an NSS detention facility in Luri on January 30, 2017.[3]

We are alarmed by the apparent cooperation of Kenya in the enforced disappearances of Mr. Dong and Mr. Aggrey, and by the failure of Kenya and South Sudan to impartially and thoroughly investigate these cases. Those responsible have not been held accountable and the families of the victims continue to be denied access to adequate remedies for the losses they suffered.

We call upon the Council to urge the Governments of Kenya and South Sudan to:

Sudan: Call to End the Repression and Persecution of Lawyers | Oral Statement to the 42nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/human-rights-council-42-interactive-dialogue-on-south-sudan

https://www.miragenews.com/human-rights-council-42-interactive-dialogue-on-south-sudan/

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-southsudan-united-nations-rights/south-sudan-denies-kidnapping-executing-prominent-critics-idUSKCN1S742C

https://www.voanews.com/africa/un-panel-south-sudan-killed-activists

https://www.voanews.com/africa/demands-sanctions-global-links-south-sudan-war-exposed

https://sudantribune.com/spip.php?article66958

South Sudan: Arbitrary Detention, Repression, and Persecution of Lawyers | Oral Statement to the 42nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council

September 17, 2019

Mr. President,

Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada thanks the Commission for its oral report. We share the Commission’s concern about the securitization of the state and the absence of accountability mechanisms in South Sudan.[1]

LRWC deplores the enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings of lawyer and human rights activist Dong Samuel Luak and political opposition member Aggrey Idri, who were abducted from the streets of Nairobi in January 2017.[2] Both men were vocal critics of the South Sudanese government. In April 2019, the UN Panel of Experts on South Sudan reported that it has corroborated evidence strongly suggesting that these men were kidnapped by the National Security Service (NSS), transported from Kenya to Juba, and executed at an NSS detention facility in Luri on January 30, 2017.[3]

We are alarmed by the apparent cooperation of Kenya in the enforced disappearances of Mr. Dong and Mr. Aggrey, and by the failure of Kenya and South Sudan to impartially and thoroughly investigate these cases. Those responsible have not been held accountable and the families of the victims continue to be denied access to adequate remedies for the losses they suffered.

We call upon the Council to urge the Governments of Kenya and South Sudan to:

South Sudan: Arbitrary Detention, Repression, and Persecution of Lawyers | Oral Statement to the 42nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council

https://www.miragenews.com/human-rights-council-42-interactive-dialogue-on-south-sudan/

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2019/04/south-sudan-investigate-apparent-2017-killing-of-activists/

https://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/news/ea/South-Sudan-denies-execution-of-prominent-activists/4552908-5097446-uoxweo/index.html

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1556906/world

https://www.voanews.com/africa/demands-sanctions-global-links-south-sudan-war-exposed

The Philippines: Extrajudicial killing of jurists as part of a pattern of widespread and systematic violations of human rights | Joint Written Statement to the 42nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council

September 9, 2019

Image result for lawyers rights watch canada

Joint written statement* submitted by Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, Lawyers for Lawyers, and International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL),non-governmental organizations in special consultative status, and Asian Legal Resource Centre,  non-governmental organization in general consultative status.

The Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales, the International Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL), and the Philippines National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), NGO(s) without consultative status, also share the views expressed in this statement.

Philippines: Extrajudicial killing of jurists as part of a pattern of widespread and systematic violations of human rights 

1.     Introduction

Since 30 June 2016, the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (the Philippines) has engaged in a campaign of extrajudicial killing in violation of the Philippines’ international law obligations. Since President Rodrigo Duterte (President Duterte) took office on 30 June 2016, up to 27,000[1] persons have been extrajudicially killed with impunity, as part of a “war on drugs.” The Philippines’ official number is 5,526.[2] The victims include 45 lawyers, prosecutors and judges (jurists) assassinated between August 2016 and July 2019, and 134 human rights defenders (defenders).[3] This pattern of gross and systematic violations contravenes the Philippines’ obligation to prevent and remedy violations of the right to life. The widespread murders of jurists also cause violations of the rights to legal representation and fair trials.

In few cases are suspects in custody or charges pending against suspects. In the majority of cases there has been no effective investigation or minimal progress on investigations. In addition to 45 jurists murdered, eight lawyers have survived murderous attacks, and one has been abducted and disappeared. A court worker and two paralegals are also among the additional victims. The online Appendix to this report lists the jurists with dates of death and status of investigations.[4]

Philippines: Extrajudicial killing of jurists as part of a pattern of widespread and systematic violations of human rights  | Joint Written Statement to the 42nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council

https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G19/248/09/PDF/G1924809.pdf?OpenElement

Thousands of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines: “A pattern of gross and systematic violations of human rights,” say seven legal organisations to the UN | Press release

Colmenares: There’s proof that EJKs are state-sponsored

https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2019/09/09/1950349/trillanes-denies-lawyer-jude-sabios-allegations-his-ties-bikoy

Prosecutor in bulletproof vehicle shakes off gunmen

DOJ rejects 3 OSG witnesses in sedition raps vs Robredo, 32 others

Ex-Daraga mayor tagged in Batocabe slay freed after posting bail

https://www.philstar.com/nation/2019/09/10/1950467/ex-daraga-mayor-batocabe-murder-released-jail

Oro church leaders, journos, lawyers ready for march vs red-tagging

Filipino lawyers attacksed Sept 2019 (IAPL MONITORING COMMITTEE REPORT)

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, text

PHILIPPINES – 6 septembre 2019
Dix avocats abattus depuis le 1er janvier 2019 – 1 survivant

Le 6 septembre 2019, Datu Khadaffy Dilangalen Blao, 30 ans, a été tué par balles dans une mosquée de Barangay Olandang.

Le 5 septembre 2019, Irineo Cabugoy, 73 ans, a été abattu alors qu’il déjeunait avec sa famille dans un McDonald’s à Antipolo, dans l’État de Rizal.
Le 2 septembre 2019 : Inocencio dela Cerna a été touché par des tirs de deux hommes armés en tandem devant l’immeuble Quimonda, à Cebu.
Il a survécu parce qu’il a pu conduire son véhicule jusqu’à un poste de police situé à proximité. Il avait récemment défendu Niño Rey Boniel, membre du conseil d’administration de la province de Bohol, dans l’affaire d’enlèvement et de détention illégale de sa femme, ancien maire de la ville de Bien Unido.
Auparavant, 7 avocats avaient été assassinés aux Philippines au cours de l’année :
En 2018, 16 avocats ont été victimes d’attaques de tueurs à gages, aux Philippines. 4 ont miraculeusement survécu aux balles, 12 sont morts. Voir : Ces avocats en danger dans le monde, Edition 2019, pp. 52 à 57).
( Photos : Anthony Trinidad et Inocencio dela Cerna).

(L’Observatoire des Avocats 08/09/19)

Indonesia/Australia: Indonesia: Support Letter Ms. Veronica Koman | Joint Letter

September 13, 2019

LRWC and L4L sent a joint letter calling on Indonesian authorities to withdraw criminal charges against human rights lawyer Veronica Koman, charged for disseminating information about police violence against Papuan students peacefully protesting for Papuan self-determination. The letter was sent to the Ministers of Political, Legal and Security Affairs, of Law and Human Rights and of Immigration along with the President and the Police Chief for the East Java region.


The President of the Republic of Indonesia
His Excellency Mr. Ir. Joko Widodo
Jl. Veteran No. 16
Jakarta Pusat
INDONESIA

Amsterdam, 12 September 2019

Subject: Support Letter Ms. Veronica Koman

Your Excellency,

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. Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (“LRWC”) is a committee of lawyers and others who promote international human rights through advocacy, legal research and education.

L4L and LRWC write to express their concern about the police charges against Ms. Veronica Koman.

Veronica Koman is a prominent, independent human rights lawyer who previously worked as a public interest lawyer at the Legal Aid Institute (LBH) in Jakarta. LBH provides legal aid to the poor and marginalized people in Indonesia. Specifically, Veronica Koman has specialized in defending the rights of international refugees, women & LGBTIQs and West Papuans.

In previous years, Veronica Koman received multiple (death and rape) threats for defending the rights of accused persons in high-profile political cases, among which three legal cases involving Papuan indigenous people who were accused of separatism.

Indonesia: Support Letter Ms. Veronica Koman | Joint Letter

Letter on behalf of Veronica Koman

https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=24990&LangID=E

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/09/urges-indonesia-protect-rights-west-papua-activists-190916081502990.html

https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/492129

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/threats-against-and-judicial-harassment-human-rights-lawyer-veronica-koman

https://en.tempo.co/read/1246104/police-issue-second-summons-letter-for-veronica-koman

https://en.tempo.co/read/1247511/police-trace-suspicious-transactions-in-veronica-komans-accounts

https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/398897/increase-noted-in-intimidation-of-legal-advocates-for-papuans

https://regional.kompas.com/read/2019/09/15/13392941/fakta-baru-kasus-veronica-koman-polisi-temukan-6-rekening-hingga-bantah?page=all (INDONESIAN)

https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20190914105624-20-430447/lsm-asing-surati-jokowi-setop-kasus-veronica-koman (INDONESIAN)