Shahanur Islam, a prominent human rights lawyer and gay rights campaigner in Bangladesh received repeated death threats SMS over his mobile phone.
Shahanur told to Soja Kotha that recently on 25th August and 6th September 2022, he received separate two death threats messages along with his wife and kid over his mobile phone.
He added, on 25th October 2022 around at 10:17 pm BST, Mr. Islam received threats message in English language over his phone from an unidentified number. The message states that if you don’t stop fighting aims to establishment of homo sexual rights in BD, immediately you will be killed along with your family members brutally.
Later on 8th September 2022, he added that around at 1:07 pm BST that, he received another death threats SMS in Bengali over his mobile phone from an unidentified number. The threatening message states that do you have no fear of death? This county is only for Islam.
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.
One year since the Taliban captured power in Afghanistan, conditions for human rights defenders, especially women, have further deteriorated, the undersigned members of Protect Defenders.eu – said today. A year ago, when the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan, they promised to respect human rights – including the rights of women and girls and media freedom. However, over the past year, they have carried out serious human rights violations and abuses, and sought to suppress civil society, media freedom, and any form of dissent with complete impunity.
Since 15 August 2021, we have witnessed the steady erosion of human rights gains in Afghanistan and attacks, reprisals, and a failure of any effective protection for human rights defenders in the country. Women and girls, religious and ethnic minorities, those speaking out against violations and for the protection of the rights of the most vulnerable, have been deliberately targeted. This is a pattern of violence that has been met with insufficient action from the international community. Human rights defenders who continue to work for their communities have been effectively abandoned and left without adequate support, access to resources, protection, and pathways to safety.
Human rights defenders have faced near-daily attacks and violent reprisals including arrest, torture, threats and killings since the Taliban takeover. Escalating violence in the provinces has forced a large number of defenders to leave their homes and relocate and/or resettle. Human rights defenders, in particular women human rights defenders have been facing multiple risks and threats by the Taliban, including: kidnapping; arbitrary arrest and imprisonment; torture; physical and psychological harm; house searches; death and physical threats; intimidation and harassment; and violence against their family members. Women human rights defenders have also faced systematic oppression and segregation from public life. They have been stripped of their rights to work, freedom of movement, access to education, and to participate in public affairs. For those seeking to leave Afghanistan due to severe risk, safe and dignified pathways out of the country remain extremely difficult and challenging.
There has also been serious curtailment of freedom of expression and assembly. These freedoms are no longer legally and institutionally protected, and any form of dissent is met with arbitrary arrests and detention and enforced disappearance. Enforced disappearances of women, and arbitrary arrest of journalists and civil society activists are tactics adopted by the Taliban to silence voices that speak out.
A former Canadian military legal officer says a group of Afghan lawyers and other staff who helped his mission in Afghanistan have been “left in the dark,” and is urging Canada’s Immigration Ministry to act quickly to help them escape the Taliban.
It’s been one year since Canada began accepting fleeing Afghans through its one-year special immigration program for Afghans who helped the Canadian government, set up a few weeks before Kabul fell to the Taliban in August 2021.
“If [Canada] would not act upon my request and as soon as possible, I could lose my life,” said Popal, one of the Afghan military prosecutors who applied for this program, and whom CBC has agreed not to identify.
“When Popal called me for help, it was very heart-wrenching,” said retired major Cory Moore, a former military legal officer with the Canadian Armed Forces who was deployed three times to Afghanistan.
Moore is helping 12 applicants and their families apply for this program, and is still waiting for word from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on the fate of these 66 people. Their applications were filed between September and December 2021.
The group includes military prosecutors, criminal investigators, security staff, recruitment video participants, a doctor and a journalist.
All 12 Afghans were involved in various capacities during Moore’s mission to help bolster the Afghan National Army’s legal branch. He created a project to recruit Afghan law grads, making a recruitment video which aired nationally from 2012 to 2021.
As a result, eight female military lawyers were hired as prosecutors and criminal investigators with the military, in what Moore calls a “historical precedent.”
A retrospective of the destruction of a profession: 15 August 2021 – 15 August 2022
The precipitous fall of Kabul to the Taliban on 15 August 2021 and the re-establishment of the Taliban government put an end to 20 years of social development and rule of law building, thus leading to the flight of thousands of people from Afghanistan, including many lawyers, judges and prosecutors. On the first anniversary of the fall of Kabul, the International Observatory for Lawyers in Danger (OIAD for its French acronym) is launching a support and advocacy campaign to show its commitment to continue backing an independent bar association in Afghanistan and our Afghan colleagues whether they are in Afghanistan or in exile.
The Observatory invites you to consult its leaflet on the situation of lawyers in Afghanistan, available in English, French, Spanish, Italian, German and Dari. Do not miss the video testimonies of Afghan lawyers: Hakima Alizada, Rohullah Qarizada and other colleagues who do not wish to reveal their identity for security reasons.
The New York City Bar Association (“City Bar”) condemns in the strongest possible terms the recent brutal murder of Afghan professor and former prosecutor Mumtaz Sherzai.
Mumtaz Sherzai’s Murder
On July 15, 2022, Mumtaz Sherzai went missing from his home in the Matun district of the city of Khost, in Khost province in southeast Afghanistan. Sherzai was a former National Directorate of Security (“NDS”) prosecutor and a professor at Khost University. The following day, on July 16, Sherzai’s remains were found in the Tani district, near the Khost province airport. His bruised and bloodied body bore obvious signs of beatings and severe torture, which are presumed to be his cause of death. Sherzai is survived by his wife and their three-year-old daughter. He was the sole breadwinner for his extended family.
Sherzai’s Targeting as a Former Prosecutor and as a Professor
Regrettably, Sherzai’s murder is by no means an isolated instance. Both his service as a former prosecutor and his employment as a law professor at the time of his death rendered him highly vulnerable as a target of the Taliban. As a federal prosecutor with the NDS in the Afghan government before the mid-August 2021 Taliban takeover, Sherzai was responsible for investigating and prosecuting cases involving domestic and international terrorism, as well as other national security-related crimes. Like hundreds of other former prosecutors across the country, Sherzai feared Taliban retribution and was seeking to be evacuated to safety. Most of the former prosecutors who have not escaped Afghanistan are in hiding. Moreover, even before mid-August 2021, federal prosecutors regularly fell victim to the Taliban and other insurgent forces.
Sherzai’s post-August 2021 work as a law professor also made him a target. For example, in one of the most recent high-profile cases involving the persecution of an Afghan legal professional, the Taliban arrested Faizullah Jalal, a prominent professor of law and political science at Kabul University. When Jalal was snatched from his Kabul home on January 8, 2022, the international community was seized with fear for the professor’s life. His release by the Taliban, unharmed, mere days later has been attributed to the swift and vocal worldwide condemnation of the Taliban’s action. But for that global outcry, the professor likely may have met a very different fate.
Protections for Sherzai Under International Law
Sherzai’s murder highlights the Taliban’s grave violations of basic principles and precepts of international law in Afghanistan. These principles and precepts are designed to protect all members of the legal profession.
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.
Maria Alejandra Garzón Mora is a human rights lawyer and member of the Asociación Red de Defensores y Defensoras, DH Colombia. DH Colombia aims to promote, disseminate, protect and defend human and peoples’ rights. It is an interdisciplinary group that provides comprehensive defence for victims of human rights violations, both individually and collectively.
The Observatory has received information about numerous threats to the lawyer María Alejandra Garzón Mora from September 2020 to date, with a higher frequency in 2021. The lawyer is the victim of various attacks: cyber-attacks, constant surveillance, as well as verbal attacks. The threats received are directly aimed at her work as a legal representative of the victims of the protests that took place in Colombia as part of the national strike in April 2021.
The lawyer is subject to constant monitoring and surveillance, both by police officers and by strangers near her home and office. In addition, María Alejandra is subject to cyber-attacks, telecommunications breakdowns and interception of calls with clients, colleagues and family members. The incidents occur most often in the context of hearings or crucial dates in cases in which she represents interests as a lawyer. These attacks constitute a serious breach of professional secrecy and impede the free and independent exercise of the profession.
Due to her high level of risk and insecurity, Alejandra Garzón began to benefit from the protection regime granted by the Investigation and Indictment Unit (hereinafter, UIA), an entity belonging to the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), in March 2021. Faced with the UIA’s decision to reduce the protection measures in February 2022, the lawyer filed a guardianship application with the JEP. The guardianship ruling SRT-ST-088/2022 of 16 May recognised the extraordinary risk suffered by the lawyer and invited the UIA to reassess the lawyer’s status within two months. Until the new risk assessment is carried out, the protective measures initially adopted will be maintained.
Turkish police have detained 17 lawyers in İstanbul due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement, Turkish Minute reported.
The İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office recently ordered the detention of 20 lawyers, accusing them of ties to the movement based on payphone call records and affiliation with Bank Asya, which was closed by the government following a 2016 coup attempt due to its links to the Gülen movement and other associations connected to the group.
Seventeen of them were detained in operations simultaneously carried out in İstanbul, Ankara and Bursa provinces on Friday, Bold Medya said, adding that the police also seized their computers, mobile phones and books, claiming they were terrorism-related documents.
The Turkish government accuses the faith-based Gülen movement of masterminding the coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and labels it a “terrorist organization,” although the movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.
The so-called “payphone investigations” are based on call records. The prosecutors assume that a member of the Gülen movement used the same payphone to call all his contacts consecutively. Based on that assumption, when an alleged member of the movement is found in call records, it is assumed that other numbers called right before or after that call also belong to people with Gülen links.
Lawyers for Lawyers and the CCBE are concerned about the disbarment proceeding against Mr. Anon Nampha, a lawyer and human rights defender, that is taking place before the Investigative Committee that was established by the Committee on Professional Ethics of the Lawyers Council of Thailand during the Meeting No. 1/2564 on 13 January 2021.
We were informed that the proceeding against lawyer Anon Nampha is related to a complaint motion filed to the Lawyers Council of Thailand on 7 August 2020 by the Assistant Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, who alleged that lawyer Anon Nampha’s behaviour violated the Lawyers Council of Thailand’s disciplinary rules as his behaviour would “incite, intend to cause unrest, distort information and insult on the monarchy”. The alleged speech in question apparently called for reform of the constitution and the monarchy, during a peaceful protest at the Democracy Monument on Ratchadamnoen Avenue on 3 August 2020.
According to our information, a first pre-hearing was postponed twice on 24 November 2021 and 3 March 2022, due to the fact that Mr. Nampha was held in detention pending trial. Therefore, the first pre-hearing was scheduled for 7 April 2022 where both parties appeared before the Investigative Committee to schedule witness examination dates. The Committee scheduled the complainer witness examinations on 2 and 20 June and the complained witness examination on 18 July, 1 and 22 August, and 5 September 2022. However, on 2 June, the complainer failed to attend the first hearing taken place at the LCT. The proceeding therefore was adjourned until 20 June. After the witness examinations are completed, the Committee will schedule the date to deliver the order.