Tag Archives: Observatoire international des avocats en danger

Russia: ICJ denounces harassment of lawyer Ivan Pavlov


The Ministry of Justice demanded that the former head of Team 29, Ivan Pavlov, be deprived of his lawyer status

Russian authorities must immediately withdraw their motion to disbar lawyer Ivan Pavlov and stop their harassment of the lawyer as a result of his professional duties, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) said.

“The multiple attempts to disbar Ivan Pavlov send a clear signal to lawyers in Russia that their independence is at serious risk” said Roisin Pillay, Director of the ICJ Europe and Central Asia Programme.

“The pattern of harassment by authorities is designed to deter lawyers from representing clients in certain high-profile cases. But international standards protect the independence of lawyers and stipulate that lawyers should never be identified with their clients’ causes”.

The ICJ calls on the authorities of the Russian Federation to withdraw the motion against Pavlov to ensure that he does not face adverse consequences for diligently carrying out his professional duties and that he continues to freely exercise his profession.

On 20 September, the St Petersburg Department of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation submitted a motion to initiate disciplinary proceedings against Ivan Pavlov seeking his disbarment. No alternative measures were suggested by the Ministry.

The ICJ is concerned that the grounds of disbarment threaten Ivan Pavlov’s freedom of expression and seek to penalise him for the representation of his client.  By way of example, one of the grounds for disbarment cited by the Ministry of Justice is that by giving interviews to the media he carried out “an attempt to put pressure on the investigation and the court by unilaterally submitting information to the media and presenting the public with distorted data on the investigation of a criminal case”.

Among the other grounds for the disbarment sought by the Ministry of Justice are failure to attend investigative actions, an alleged unwarranted transcription of state secret information from a case file, and presidency of an NGO recognised by the authorities as “undesirable”.

Pavlov rejects these allegations as unsubstantiated or factually incorrect.

Previously, in 2020, the Ministry of Justice sought disbarment of Ivan Pavlov and appealed the refusal of the St Petersburg Bar Association to disbar him. On 30 September, the Kuibyshev District Court terminated the proceedings, as the Ministry of Justice withdrew the suit. Yet, the key points from these proceedings were used in the new motion seeking Pavlov’s disbarment submitted on 20 September.






Nicaragua: Nicaraguan lawyer José Arnulfo López Cruz is forced into exile to avoid arrest for his legal defence of political prisoners


José Arnulfo López Cruz

The high-risk situation suffered by Nicaraguan lawyer José Arnulfo López Cruz has forced him to take refuge in Spain with his family, to avoid arrest for his work as a lawyer defending political prisoners in Nicaragua.

José Arnulfo López Cruz is a lawyer and human rights defender. He belongs to the organisation Unidad de Defensa Jurídica (UDJ), which specialises in the legal defence of political prisoners in the socio-political context of Nicaragua. José Arnulfo resigned from his position as a prosecutor in the Public Prosecutor’s Office and, from 2018 until today, has dedicated himself to the practice of law as a defender of political prisoners.

The Nicaraguan lawyer has worked for the Nicaraguan Permanent Commission on Human Rights (CPDH) and has defended high-profile cases during his career, which has [1]led to his continued harassment by police and vigilante groups.

These persistent attacks have included threats by paramilitaries during court appearances in the cases he has defended, as well as continuous police surveillance and monitoring of his workplace and home. The risk to the lawyer extends to his family members, who are also victims of this repression. In this regard, in May 2021, lawyer José Arnulfo was arbitrarily detained with his son by police officers who beat him and illegally stole their documents and money.

This harassment has become more frequent since the Nicaraguan lawyer took over the defence of pre-presidential candidate Félix Alejandro Maradiaga, who was arrested on 9 June 2021[2] . This has also affected the work of his wife, Arlen Cristina Muñoz, who was detained and questioned in defence of Félix Maradiaga by police officers on 18 June 2021.

The situation of José Arnulfo and his family became untenable after he received a call warning of his imminent arrest, which precipitated his departure from the country on 3 October 2021 and his exile to Spain, where he will seek political asylum.





Iran rights lawyer on hunger strike due to harassment in prison


سهیلا حجاب

“Soheila Hejab has continued from inside prison to denounce the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and unmistakably call for overthrow. The fierce courage in her voice is chilling”

The Iranian civil rights lawyer Soheila Hejab started a hunger strike in prison over two weeks ago to protest the Islamic Republic’s harassment of her and her family members.  Hejab suffers from severe health problems and Iranians on social media are urging the regime to release the attorney. The National Union for Democracy in Iran (NUFDI) tweeted “The Islamic Republic has kept #SoheilaHejab, an Iranian lawyer and activist, in jail without proper access to medical care for months. She has launched multiple hunger strikes and is in dire circumstances.”

The Iranian-American expert on human rights in Iran, Mariam Memarsadegh, said that “Despite suffering torture and threats to her life, Soheila Hejab has continued from inside prison to denounce the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and unmistakably call for overthrow. The fierce courage in her voice is chilling.

“Memarsadeghi, who advocates for democracy in Iran and is a fellow for Macdonald-Laurier Institute, added that” Like many who have dissented from the Islamist totalitarian regime, she is an advocate for democracy in the form of a constitutional monarchy and a supporter of Reza Pahlavi.”

The Center for Human Rights in Iran tweeted on Tuesday “Imprisoned rights lawyer Soheila Hejab was assaulted by prisoners convicted of ‘dangerous crimes’ in Iran’s Gharchak Prison, reports HRANA [Human Rights Activists News Agency]. The assault was instigated by a prison official. Hejab had ended a hunger strike on Oct. 3 after receiving pledges from the authorities.”



https://www.radiofarda.com/a/soheila-hejab-hunger-strike/31491785.html (FARSI)





Afghan Lawyer Latifa Sharifi Selected Recipient of the 2021 UIA/LexisNexis Rule of Law Award


Ms Latifa Sharifi, an Afghan lawyer of the Humanitarian Assistance for the Women and Children of Afghanistan (HAWCA), a historic Afghan women’s association, was designated recipient of the 2021 UIA Rule of Law Award in cooperation with LexisNexis by the UIA Governing Board.

Ms. Sharifi was among the three Finalists of the Award selected by the Nomination Committee, along with prominent human rights lawyers Mohamed El-Baqer (Egypt) and Saif Ul-Malook (Pakistan), both of whom have consistently demonstrated unrelenting dedication and commitment to upholding the Rule of Law and human rights, despite overwhelming personal and professional hardships, including great risk to their personal safety and that of their families.

As a lawyer, Ms Latifa Sharifi particularly assisted women victims of domestic violence in divorce proceedings and helped them find refuge. Because of her defense of women, Ms Sharifi has repeatedly been threatened and intimidated because of her professional activities, and she has been forced to work clandestinely.

With this Award, UIA and LexisNexis recognize Ms. Sharifi’s courageous commitment to ensuring effective access to justice to women, a commitment for which she is regrettably in imminent danger of retaliation.

Ms Sharifi was refouled at Kabul airport on Sunday, August 15, where she went with her husband and her three children, in an attempt to flee abroad. Her youngest child was injured in the process of trying to escape the airport. Ms Sharifi is currently hiding, and she and her family remain in grave danger. 



https://patrick-henry.avocats.be/?q=node/518 (FRANCAIS)





Tunisia: Lawyer Chawki Tabib placed under house arrest


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Mr Chawki Tabib, member of the Tunis Bar and former President of the Tunisian Bar Association, is an eminent lawyer, founder and President of the Tunisian League for Citizenship. He is a member of the Tunisian League of Human Rights and the Tunisian Association of Young Lawyers.

He is also the founding President of the Arab Organization of Young Lawyers, a member of the National Council of the National Bar Association of Tunisia since June 2004 and was appointed in 2016 as President of the Instance Nationale de la Lutte contre la corruption (INLUCC, an authority against corruption). He held this position until his ouster and placement under house arrest on 20 August 2021.

This decision follows the transmission to the Public Prosecutor’s Office by the INLUCC of a file concerning irregularities in the declaration of the head of government’s assets.

The continuation of Mr. Chawki TABIB under house arrest by virtue of a decree governing the state of emergency, without the slightest debate and without the intervention of the judicial judge, constitutes a serious infringement of his fundamental rights and prevents him, in fact, from exercising his profession as a lawyer.

The OIAD firmly condemns this measure.

The OIAD calls on the Tunisian authorities to guarantee the independent exercise of his profession to Mr. Chawki TABIB, in accordance with the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers (1990) which state:







Tunisie : L’ancien président de l’Inlucc Chawki Tabib, placé en résidence surveillée






Afghanistan: Tajik lawyer threatened, shot in the foot


Internally displaced people in a camp in Kabul after they fled fighting in other parts of Afghanistan. Many ethnic minorities are fearful of what the Taliban rule will mean for them. Photo: Sonia Sarkar
  • Many young Tajik and Hazara Afghans want to leave the country, after the minorities were targeted by the Taliban in the past
  • A Tajik lawyer said he received a written threat, and was attacked by criminals released from jails after the Taliban took over

Kabul-based freelance photojournalist SH, who asked to only use her initials, is one of 10 million ethnic minority Tajiks living in Afghanistan.

Since the Taliban takeover of the country, she said she has been threatened with dire consequences if she steps out of her home. She believes this is both because of her ethnic origin and for being a woman. As a result, she and her family have applied for asylum in both the US and Canada, hoping the video editing training she received from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) two years ago will be her ticket to escape Taliban rule.

“I received threats from the Taliban because I take photographs of women who are victims of war in Afghanistan,” said the 26-year-old single mother, who is the sole breadwinner for her family of seven, which includes her parents and three sisters.


Lawyer Jan Mohammad Nazari, 30, a Tajik living in Baghlan province, fought legal cases on behalf of the erstwhile Afghan government against criminals allegedly supported by the Taliban. Last week, he was attacked by five men who were recently released from jails after the Taliban took over, he said. Nazari is now recovering from a bullet injury after he was shot in his right foot.

In June, he received a written threat from the Taliban, sent by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s Military Commission High Council, which said he will “lose” his life if he does not stop working with the former government’s national directorate of security or national army. A copy of the threat was seen by This Week In Asia.

Nazari is seeking asylum in the US and Canada. In his application to the US, he wrote: “I have my wife, a seven-month-old infant and a five-year-old son and all our lives are in danger … Please save our lives.”

But like Ahmad, he does not have a passport – although his wife does, and he is hoping this will help them. He is also battling to find out which countries are offering asylum.

“There is no information on which country will take us, but it’s true that we cannot live here any more,” Nazari said, adding that travelling to Kabul is also difficult.






https://www.ledevoir.com/societe/627027/afghanistan-nolisez-tous-les-avions-sortez-les-de-la (FRANCAIS)


https://protect-lawyers.org/es/afghanistan-oiad-members-mobilise-to-assist-lawyers-and-civilians-at-risk/ (ESPANOL)

https://protect-lawyers.org/it/i-membri-dell-oiad-si-mobilitano-per-assistere-avvocati-e-civili-a-rischio-in-afghanistan/ (ITALIANO)

Afghanistan: Lawyer Latifa Sharifi from the Afghan women’s rights organisation Hawca rejected at Kabul airport



Afghan lawyer Latifa Sharifi, a member of the Hawca association, whose main aim is to protect women’s rights, has already received several open death threats in the past. On 15 August, she tried to leave Afghanistan but was turned away at Kabul airport.

Latifa Sharifi is an Afghan lawyer who has specialised in women’s rights since 2009. She is a lawyer for Hawca, a historic Afghan women’s association. In particular, she assists women victims of domestic violence in divorce proceedings and for this reason she has received many threats and intimidations.

The Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera published on 19 August 2021 the news of the lawyer’s refoulement at Kabul airport, where she had gone on Sunday 15 August, with her husband and children, in an attempt to flee abroad. The article also reveals the content of a letter she had written to her sister who lives in America, which is a real call for help. The lawyer was reportedly harassed while taking her children to school, stones were thrown at the windows of her house and in 2017 she received a blood-stained letter stating “the next one will be written in your son’s blood”. Latifa Sharifi then had to move and work in hiding. A few years ago, in an interview, she denounced the fact that after the fall of the Taliban, it was difficult for women to denounce the violence suffered by their husbands in a country where sons after the age of 7 and daughters from the age of 9 are legally entrusted to their father. Extreme forms of rebellion by women, such as immolation, were recorded in Afghanistan.

The International Observatory for Lawyers in Danger follows with great concern the evolution of the situation in Afghanistan, and calls for the guarantee of humanitarian corridors, in particular for women and minors and for those, including lawyers, who have fought for the respect of human rights. The IADO demands that the lawyer Latifa Sharifi be immediately allowed to leave Afghanistan with her family and seek political asylum.










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Egypt: Global Coalition Calls for Release of Detained Human Rights Lawyer Mohamed El-Baqer


Today, on the occasion of lawyer Mohamed El-Baqer’s 41st birthday, we, the undersigned organizations, urge the Egyptian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release him and strike his name from the ‘’terrorist list.’’

Mohamed El-Baqer is a human rights lawyer and the founder and director of the Adalah Center for Rights and Freedoms. He has been arbitrarily detained for more than 21 months without charge or trial, simply for his human rights work. El-Baqer has a long history of defending individuals whose rights have been violated, including civilians tried before military courts, protesters, and members of marginalized communities, including religious and ethnic minorities. The organization he founded focuses on criminal justice, the right to education, and minority rights. 

On 29 September 2019, El-Baqer was arrested while representing his client, imprisoned human rights activist and blogger Alaa Abdelfattah, who was detained and being interrogated by the Supreme State Security Prosecution (SSSP). During Abdelfattah’s questioning, a prosecutor informed El-Baqer that he too was under arrest pending investigations into unfounded accusations of “joining a terrorist group,” “funding a terrorist group,” “disseminating false news undermining national security,” and “us[ing] social media to commit a publishing offense” in Case No. 1356/2019.

Nearly one year later, on 30 August 2020, El-Baqer was brought in for questioning and added to Case No. 855/2020 on nearly identical charges, in a practice by Egyptian authorities commonly known as ‘’rotation.’’ This new case includes other arbitrarily detained human rights defenders and activists such as blogger Mohamed “Oxygen”, journalist Esraa Abdel Fattah, and activist Mahienour El-Masry

Then, on 23 November 2020, the Official Gazette published the decision of the Cairo Criminal Court to include El-Baqer on the “terrorists list” for five years as a part of an entirely different case, No. 1781/2019. As a result of this designation, El-Baqer is subject to a travel ban, his assets are frozen, and he is prohibited from engaging in political or civic work for five years. In all three cases, El-Baqer has been denied due process, including the right to present a defense and challenge the lawfulness of his detention, or in Case No. 1781/2019, even be informed that he was under investigation. 

The news about El-Baqer’s “terrorists list” designation coincided with the announcement by the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) that El-Baqer and six other imprisoned Egyptian lawyers had been awarded the 2020 Human Rights Award.

The fact that El-Baqer was arrested while representing his client and that he faces the same charges as his client, thus being identified with his client’s case, is contrary to Principle 18 of the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers and shows the severity of the crackdown on human rights lawyers in Egypt. Attacks against lawyers have escalated in recent years and have included instances of arbitrary detention, torture and other ill-treatment, enforced disappearances, and numerous forms of harassment and intimidation. 




Click to access EN_20210726_Global-Coalition-Calls-for-Release-of-Detained-Egyptian-Human-Rights-Lawyer-Mohamed-El.pdf



Colombia/Day of the Endangered Lawyer: Country File: The use of justice as a persecution mechanism (EN/ES/FR)


Country File / Colombia: The use of justice as a persecution mechanism

The Pilippines: Lawyer and husband shot dead in Davao City


A Davao City-based lawyer and her husband were shot by an unidentified suspect outside their home at Solariega Subdivision, Barangay Talomo, this city on Wednesday afternoon.

Capt. Rose Aguilar, spokesperson for Davao City Police Office (DCPO), said that the victims were identified as Atty. Hilda Mahinay and her husband, Muhaimen Mohammad Sapie, hosts of an online-based radio program “Justice Redeemer.”

According to its social media account, Justice Redeemer is an online free legal advice program, tackling “general legal issues” and an opinion-oriented political program, which is also aired over 94.7 Power Radio Davao (DXLL).

The two were gunned down at 5:10 p.m. when they came out of their residence shortly after their radio program, Aguilar said.

Responding authorities rushed the victims to Southern Philippines Medical Center but were declared dead on arrival.

Authorities are still investigating the incident.






https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/07/14/21/abogado-asawa-patay-matapos-pagbabarilin-sa-davao-city (TAGALOG)

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