Tag Archives: OMCT

Tunisia: Harcèlement judiciaire continu et actes d’intimidation à l’encontre de Me Najet Laabidi

le 8 juin, 2018


Nouvelles informations

TUN 001 / 0517 / OBS 052.1

Harcèlement judiciaire /

Actes d’intimidation

Description de la situation :

L’Observatoire a été informé par des sources fiables du harcèlement judiciaire continu et des actes d’intimidation à l’encontre de Me Najet Laabidi, avocate spécialisée dans la défense des droits humains et qui a notamment représenté plusieurs victimes de torture devant le Tribunal militaire de Tunis dans le cadre de l’affaire dite de Barraket Essahel[1].

Selon les informations reçues, le 7 mars 2018, Me Najet Laabidi a été victime d’actes d’intimidation et d’agressions verbales de la part des agents de la garde nationale au poste de police de Ben Arous. Elle s’était rendue à Ben Arous pour assister un témoin dans le cadre d’un dossier relatif à un cas de violence contre des enfants autistes dans un centre privé de prise en charge et d’éducation spécialisée à Tunis, dans lequel une des inculpés est une femme connue pour être proche du pouvoir politique tunisien. Les agents de la garde nationale ont alors encerclé Me Najet Laabidi et le témoin, ont fermé la porte du poste de police et les ont menacés verbalement alors qu’ils tenaient une arme à feu à la main.

À la suite de ces événements, Me Najet Laabidi a déposé plainte contre les agents de la garde nationale de Ben Arous, mais aucune action n’a été entreprise par les autorités à cet égard. Cependant, le 8 mars 2018, une plainte pour diffamation a été déposée à l’encontre de Me Najet Laabidi par les agents de la garde nationale de Ben Arous, à la suite de laquelle Me Najet Laabidi a été immédiatement convoquée par le procureur de la Cour d’appel de Tunis.

L’Observatoire pour la protection des défenseurs des droits humains, un partenariat de l’Organisationmondiale contre la torture (OMCT) et de la FIDH, a reçu de nouvelles informations et vous prie d’intervenir de toute urgence sur la situation suivante en Tunisie.




Cameroon/LRWC: Immediately End Judicial Harassment and Guarantee Protection of Jan Capelle, Elvis Brown and other OFFGO members | Letter

April 26, 2018

In Cameroon, Jan Cappelle, founder of OFFGO, an organization opposing land grabbing and promoting perservationi of farm land and gorilla habitat, and OFFGO’s lawyer Elvis Brown face death threats for pursuing a complaint with the National Commission On Human Rights and Freedoms. State authorities have subjected Jan Chapelle and other OFFGO members to detention, interrogation and threatened prosecution for their peaceful advocacy. LRWC calls on Cameroon to protect the lives of Chapelle and Brown, to prevent future and punish past death threats, and stop the harassment.

Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC) is a committee of lawyers and other human rights defenders who promote international human rights, the rule of law, and the integrity of legal systems 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.

LRWC is concerned by reports of death threats against Mr. Jan Cappelle, founder of OFFGO and lawyer Elvis Brown and persistent judicial harassment of OFFGO members. LRWC repeats calls by the Observatory for remedial action and also requests immediate action by the Government of Cameroon to protect the lives of Jan Cappelle and Elvis Brown and their families and to prevent and punish the death threats made against them.

Reports of death threats and judicial harassment

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and has also requested your urgent intervention in the following situation in Cameroon.

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the ongoing judicial harassment and death threats targeting several members of the OFFGO, a group of farmers founded in September 2015 to promote organic farming and environmental protection, and to oppose land grabbing and work for the protection of the cross-river gorilla in Mbengwi, in the North-West Region of Cameroon.

According to the information received, on April 13, 2018, a man who allegedly worked with billionaire businessman Mr. Baba Ahmadou Danpullo called and threatened to kill OFFGO’s lawyer Mr. Elvis Brown and his family if they did not “drop the file”, referring to OFFGO’s complaints before the National Commission on Human Rights and Freedoms (NCHRF). The caller knew details of the presence of Mr. Brown and his family in Bamenda, including related to their home and the children’s school. He also threatened to kill Mr. Jan Cappelle, founder of OFFGO.

A complaint was filed before the Police National Security Department in Mbengwi, who latter summoned the caller to present himself by April 18, 2018. The caller, who received the summons on April 16, 2018, did not present himself.

On April 18, 2018, the same person called Mr. Elvis Brown again and told him to “prepare very well”. On April 19, 2018, Mr. Elvis Brown received another text message reading “watch and see how I make your team suffer”, “you should be sorry for your friends back here. I am merciless”, “I am heartless I have no feelings” and “I will teach your team a bitter lesson. You will all suffer for destabilising Cameroon”.




Egypt: 32 Nubian human rights activists to appear before the Aswan Misdemeanour State Security Emergency Court

January 25, 2018

OMCT LogoOMCT logo


New information

EGY 005 / 1117 / OBS 114.1

Judicial harassment /

Restrictions to freedom of assembly


The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Egypt.

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the ongoing judicial harassment of 32 Nubian human rights defenders actively involved in the defence of minority and Nubian rights in the Aswan governorate, including Messrs. Mohamed Azmy, lawyer and President of the General Nubian Union[1]Maysara Abdoun, Training Coordinator at Border Center for Support & Consulting (BSC)[2], and Ms. Seham Osman[3].

According to the information, on January 30, 2018, Messrs. Mohamed Azmy, Maysara Abdoun, Ms. Seham Osman and 29 other Nubian rights activists will appear before the Aswan Misdemeanour State Security Emergency Court under charges of “participating in an unauthorised protest”, “inciting protests” and “disrupting public order” on the basis of the 107/2013 protest law. If convicted, they could face up to five years in prison and fines of EGP 100,000 (4,734 Euros approx.).

Messrs. Mohamed Azmy, Maysara Abdoun, Ms. Seham Osman and the 29 other Nubian rights activists were arrested and detained throughout September and November 2017, during peaceful demonstrations demanding the rights of the Nubian minority in Egypt to be upheld as well as solidarity demonstrations following the death while in custody of Mr. Gamal Sorour, French-Egyptian resident, prominent Nubian human rights defender (see background information).

The Observatory expresses its concerns over the reprisals against rights activists defending the constitutional Nubian right of return[4], as well as that the exercise of their right to peaceful protest is being prosecuted by a State Security Emergency Court.


Egypt: Arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Ms. Mahienour El Massry

December 22, 2017


EGY 006 / 1217 / OBS 120

Arbitrary detention /

Judicial harassment

December 22, 2017

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the FIDH, requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Egypt.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Ms. Mahienour El Massry, human rights lawyer known for her activism in favour of judicial independence and prisoners’ rights by organising peaceful protests, support activities for political prisoners and using social media to denounce human rights violations.

According to the information received, on November 18, 2017, the Misdemeanor Montaza Court in Alexandria ordered the detention of Ms. Mahienour El-Massry pending trial, in relation to the protests against the Tiran and Sanafeer land agreement in June 2017[1], which has resulted in the arrest of 60 activists throughout the country[2]. She is accused of “participating in an unauthorized protest”, “insulting the President” and thuggery. The next hearing is scheduled on December 30, 2017.

On December 16, 2017, Ms. Mahienour El-Massry’s family went to visit her in Qanater El Khayereya Women’s Prison in Cairo. There, they were told that she had been deported to Damanhour prison, which is closer to Alexandria.

Thus, on December 17, 2017, Ms. Mahienour El-Massry’s family went to Damanhour prison to visit her. They reported that Ms. Mahienour El-Massry had been in a put in a “waiting room” since her transfer. The waiting room was reportedly overcrowded and Ms. Mahienour El-Massry was prevented from eating, drinking or using the toilet. In addition, as the decision to transfer her to Damanhour prison was very sudden, Ms. Mahienour El-Massry was unable to pack all her needs when she left Qanater prison.

The Observatory recalls that Egyptian authorities have a long history of harassing and detaining Ms. Mahienour El-Massry. Already, in January 2014, she was sentenced to 2 years in jail for exercising her right to peacefully protest against police violence. Her sentence was reduced in appeal to six months[3].






Urgent latest update on Mahienour’s situation in prison as of 21 December
عن وضع ماهينور في سجن دمنهور بحسب زيارة عائلتها بالأمس 21 ديسمبر

Mahienour’s family has visited her again after she was moved to Damanhour prison. Her sister updated us on the situation, which is still alarming. Visitors have to walk for long distances inside the prison, carrying all the subsistence, which is usually huge because prisoners’ rely largely on this subsistence. Then, visitors and subsistence are searched, such that all food packages, and even fruits are opened/peeled and literally thrown on top of each other in one large pack.

As for Mahienour herself, she is in a very over crowded cell with 31 women, each of them gets a space of around 50 cm width to sleep in. They ended up dividing sleeping hours among them, so Mahienour manages to sleep for only two hours a day. Letters are allowed through the family after they are read by the officers.

Follow the solidarity campaign for 4 Egyptian activists facing trial by the end of 2017, including renowned award-winning human rights lawyer Mahienour El Massry, via the hashtag #30DecemberTrials

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الحرية لماهينور -Free Mahienour  Facebook)

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China: Ongoing arbitrary and incommunicado detention of Mr. Wang Quanzhang

OMCT LogoOMCT logo

CHN 003 / 0917 / OBS 101

Arbitrary detention /

Torture / Judicial harassment


September 19, 2017

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in China.

Brief description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the ongoing arbitrary and incommunicado detention of Mr. Wang Quanzhang, a human rights lawyer with Fengrui Law Firm in Beijing. Mr. Wang was detained in the context of the “709 crackdown”[1].

According to the information received, since Mr. Wang Quanzhang’s arrest by police in August 2015, Chinese authorities have repeatedly prevented his wife and his lawyers from having access to him.

After he was taken into custody on August 3, 2015, Mr. Wang was held under “residential surveillance at a designated location” (RSDL) for six months, until he was formally arrested on January 8, 2016 and transferred to Tianjin No. 2 Detention Center. His family assumes he is still detained at Tianjin No. 2 Detention Center but neither his wife nor his lawyer has been able to meet him since his transfer to Tianjin. On some occasions, Tianjin police claimed they did not know where Mr. Wang was.

On February 14, 2017, Mr. Wang was indicted on charges of “inciting subversion of State power” (Article 105 of the Chinese Criminal Law), punishable with prison terms ranging from 10 years to life imprisonment.

Moreover, it is strongly believed that Mr. Wang was subjected to various forms of ­torture, including electric shocks, while in custody. Since his arrest, his relatives have also been subjected to harassment. In particular, his wife, Ms. Li Wenzu, has been constantly monitored, and was arbitrarily detained on several occasions. Their son has also been forcibly removed from kindergarten by police order.

Mr. Wang has been practicing law since 2003, and has represented a wide array of clients in human rights cases, including Falun Gong practitioners, members of the New Citizens’ Movement, housing rights activist Ni Yulan, and journalist Qi Chonghuai. He also wrote or co-authored many articles on the legal profession and human rights, and led many human rights and legal training sessions for less experienced human rights defenders around China. He has faced constant harassment and suffered retaliation for his work.

The Observatory strongly condemns the arbitrary detention of Mr. Wang Quanzhang, and urges the Chinese authorities to immediately and unconditionally release him, ensure his right to access to his relatives and a lawyer of his own or his family’s choosing, and respect his rights including those stipulated in the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.






China/Turkey/Azerbaijan/Russia etc: Joint Civil Society Petition to the International Association of Prosecutors

September 5, 2017

OMCT LogoOMCT logo

Dear members of the IAP Executive Committee and the Senate,

dear members of the IAP,

In the run-up to the annual conference and general meeting of the International Association of Prosecutors (IAP) in Beijing, China, the undersigned civil society organisations urge the IAP to live up to its vision and bolster its efforts to preserve the integrity of the profession.

Increasingly, in many regions of the world, in clear breach of professional integrity and fair trial standards, public prosecutors use their powers to suppress critical voices.

In China, over the last two years, dozens of prominent lawyers, labour rights advocates and activists have been targeted by the prosecution service[1]. Many remain behind bars, convicted or in prolonged detention for legal and peaceful activities protected by international human rights standards, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Azerbaijan is in the midst of a major crackdown on civil rights defenders, bloggers and journalists, imposing hefty sentences on fabricated charges in trials that make a mockery of justice[2]. In Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkey many prosecutors play an active role in the repression of human rights defenders, and in committing, covering up or condoning other grave human rights abuses[3].

Patterns of abusive practices by prosecutors in these and other countries ought to be of grave concern to the professional associations they belong to, such as the IAP. Upholding the rule of law and human rights is a key aspect of the profession of a prosecutor, as is certified by the IAP’s Standards of Professional Responsibility and Statement of the Essential Duties and Rights of Prosecutors, that explicitly refer to the importance of observing and protecting the right to a fair trial and other human rights at all stages of work[4].







Turkey: OBS Calls Turkey To Release Jailed Human Rights Defenders Immediately, Unconditionally

August 12, 2017

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme between the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) has urged Turkey to release jailed human rights defenders in the country. The Observatory urges Turkish authorities to immediately and unconditionally release these people and put an end to all forms of harassment against them, read a statement released by the Observatory on Saturday.

Acting on an anonymous tip Turkish police raided a hotel on Büyükada, one of the Princes’ Islands off İstanbul on July 5,  2017, and detained İdil Eser from Amnesty International, İlknur Üstün from the Women’s Coalition, lawyer Günal Kurşun from the Human Rights Agenda Association, lawyer Nalan Erkem from the Citizens Assembly, Nejat Taştan from the Equal Rights Watch Association, Özlem Dalkıran from the Citizens’ Assembly, lawyer Şeyhmus Özbekli, Veli Acu from the Human Rights Agenda Association and two foreign trainers, Ali Garawi and Peter Steudtner.

After interrogation at the anti-terror branch of the İstanbul Police Department, on July 17, the 12th day of their detention, the 10 human rights defenders, who are accused of membership in a terrorist organization, were referred to the İstanbul Courthouse. Six of the activists were subsequently arrested, while the court decided to release four of them on judicial probation. On July 21 İstanbul’s Adalar Public Prosecutor’s Office issued detention warrants for the four human rights defenders, including Taştan and Özbekli, who were released by the court.




The Post Coup Purge Evolved to The Humanitarian Crisis