Tag Archives: The Netherlands

Afghanistan dispatch: ‘female lawyers are at risk and there is a possibility of losing them’

15/08/22

Afghan law students and young lawyers in Afghanistan have been reporting on the ground since the Taliban took Kabul in August 2021. Here, a women lawyer in Kabul speaks on the plight of female lawyers still in the country. For privacy and security reasons, we are withholding our correspondent’s name. The text (translated from the original Persian) has only been lightly edited to respect the author’s voice.

My name is [redacted], a female defense lawyer in Afghanistan, and I would like to give you a detailed explanation about the crisis of defense lawyers and the problems that have plagued women lawyers who are here. Since the Taliban took over the power of the government, all the work of female defense lawyers has become very difficult. They spend their days in their homes as alternatives to imprisonment or house arrest. My colleagues and I are facing thousands of threats. The Taliban destroy women as defenders of human rights and this is extremely horrible. Our voices are suffocated in our throats and no one in this world hears our voices. We are at home and we are changing our homes due to security threats. The life and limb of the defender is in danger. A couple of weeks ago I went to court twice and I gave free legal advice to women in harm’s ways and I helped them in the advancement of their files. I was threatened, but I still want to help.

The economy of female lawyers has collapsed. Poverty and deprivation are rampant.  Poverty has increased to the extreme for women lawyers. One day I had a toothache and I did not have money to go to the dentist, and my colleague’s child was sick and she did not have money to go to the doctor. Female lawyers want to study again and try to continue their education, but because that field is not favorable for them either under the Taliban they can’t even study.

The Taliban took over the independent bar association and that became a part of the Ministry of Justice, and now women lawyers are not allowed inside the Ministry. Only men are allowed. Women do not even have the right to retake the exams to be lawyers. They don’t test women, and they don’t allow them to work, so female lawyers are at risk and there is a possibility of losing them. Our mouths have been hit and our voices are suffocated in our throats and our mouths are closed and no one is willing to help us and no one hears our voices and there is the possibility of losing female lawyers in the future. If this occurs, a great deal will be lost and this loss will reach the whole world, because if these lawyers were refugees in other countries they could do a great service for those countries, but because they are in Afghanistan they will be lost. 

https://www.jurist.org/news/2022/08/afghanistan-dispatch-female-lawyers-are-at-risk-and-there-is-a-possibility-of-losing-them/

https://www.rte.ie/news/ireland/2022/0815/1315918-afghanistan-ireland/

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-62549605

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2143366/world

https://nltimes.nl/2022/08/15/afghans-arbitrarily-selected-evacuation-nl-480-still-waiting-1-year-later

https://www.cnb.avocat.fr/fr/actualites/chute-de-kaboul-un-apres-que-pouvons-nous-faire (FRANCAIS)

https://www.francetvinfo.fr/monde/moyen-orient/afghanistan-depuis-le-retour-des-talibans-le-calvaire-des-femmes_5309656.html

https://www.bfmtv.com/international/moyen-orient/afghanistan/afghanistan-un-an-apres-le-retour-des-talibans-il-n-y-a-plus-de-liberte-pour-les-femmes_AN-202208150009.html

Hong Kong police file complaints to lawyer groups over national security case

12/05/22

Hong Kong police said on Thursday they had filed complaints to the city’s main professional legal bodies over a national security case involving a fund that had assisted pro-democracy protesters to pay for legal services.

Five trustees of the now-disbanded 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund were arrested by police this week, including Cardinal Joseph Zen, 90, one of the most senior Catholic clerics in Asia; and leading senior barrister Margaret Ng, 74.

The five were arrested for suspected “conspiracy to collude with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security” under a China-imposed national security law, and released on bail.

The police said its investigations had “revealed that a number of solicitors and barristers were suspected of professional misconduct when providing legal services” without giving names or specifics.

Complaints were lodged to the Hong Kong Bar Association and the Hong Kong Law Society, police added.

Neither body replied to a Reuters request for comment.

The others arrested are pop singer Denise Ho, former academic Hui Po-keung and former lawmaker Cyd Ho. The national security law, enacted in June 2020, punishes crimes such as subversion, terrorism, secession and collusion with foreign forces, with up to life imprisonment. nL2N2X31EL]

Zen, Ng and the others have been forceful advocates of fundamental rights in Hong Kong. Critics of the security law say it erodes the freedoms promised by China under a “one country, two systems” arrangement when Hong Kong was returned from British to Chinese rule in 1997.

[…]

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/hong-kong-police-file-complaints-to-lawyer-groups-over-national-security-case/47588614

https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/hong-kong-police-file-complaints-lawyer-groups-over-national-security-case-2022-05-12/

https://www.lawsociety.ie/gazette/top-stories/2022/hong-kongs-cardinal-zen-90-arrested-with-three-others

https://www.hklawsoc.org.hk/

Turkey: Lawyers from around the world announce support for Progressive Lawyers Association

05/01/22

The three-day hearing of the ÇHD case began today at the Silivri Prison Complex in İstanbul.

Several lawyers’ groups from around the world, including France’s National Bar Council and bar associations of Berlin, Amsterdam, Brussels and Bologna have announced support for the Progressive Lawyers Association, whose members have been on trial for seven years.

“We wholeheartedly and without reservation support you in your request for acquittal and immediate release,” the groups said in the letter.

The ÇHD İstanbul Chair read out a letter sent by the organizations at today’s (January 5) hearing of the ÇHD case.

The hearing of 22 lawyers from the ÇHD and the People’s Law Bureau (HHB) will take place at the Silivri Prison Complex Courtroom between today and January 7.

Two of the defendants, ÇHD Chair Selçuk Kozağaçlı and lawyer Barkın Timtik, have been remanded in custody for five years.

The prosecutor who was on September 15 appointed to the case that has been continuing for seven years and submitted their opinion as to the accusations on November 17, demanding the punishment of Kozağaçlı for “managing an illegal organization” and the other defendants for “being a member of an illegal organization.”

Full text of the letter by the lawyers’ groups:

“With this letter, we would like to support you in the hearings of January 5, 6 and 7, 2021, which will take place before the 18th Chamber of the High Criminal Court of Istanbul.

“We have observed the hearings of this trial between 2013 and 2021 and have conducted fact-finding missions on several occasions. It is clear from our observations and investigations that the trial against you is essentially political, has not met the guarantees of a fair trial, and has directly undermined the independence of lawyers.

[…]

https://bianet.org/english/law/255800-lawyers-from-around-the-world-announce-support-for-progressive-lawyers-association

https://www.ludovictrarieux.org/uk-page3.callplt2020.htm

https://bianet.org/bianet/insan-haklari/255773-adil-yargilanma-hakki-icin-yaninizdayiz (TURKCE)

https://penceretv.com/guncel/chd-baskani-kozagacli-ve-timtike-yine-tahliye-cikmadi-159410h

https://www.karar.com/guncel-haberler/chd-davasinda-kozagacli-ve-timtikin-tutukluluguna-devam-karari-1646213

https://www.lefigaro.fr/flash-actu/droits-de-l-homme-les-deux-soeurs-timtik-distinguees-par-des-avocats-europeens-20200924 (FRANCAIS)

Canada to resettle female Afghan judges, families living in limbo

31/12/21

Canada will take in female Afghan judges and their families who have been living in limbo, primarily in Greece, since their evacuation from Afghanistan in the fall, a spokesperson for the immigration minister said Friday.

In addition to the judges and their families, a group totalling about 230 people, Canada will also resettle an unspecified number of Afghans from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities who had been referred by a third-party aid organization, the spokesperson said.

They are expected to come to Canada next year but there is no firm date.

Canada has promised to resettle 40,000 Afghan refugees but has no timeline for doing so. Since the Taliban took control of the country after the U.S. troop withdrawal in August, Canada has resettled 3,915 Afghans with connections to the Canadian government and another 2,535 on humanitarian grounds, according to government figures.

Afghan women made great strides in the two decades since the Taliban last ruled the country from 1996 to 2001, joining previously all-male bastions such as the judiciary, the media and politics.

“All the achievements of 20 years came back to zero within the blink of an eye,” said Freshta Masoni, a family court judge staying in Athens with her toddler daughters.

[…]

https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/canada-to-resettle-female-afghan-judges-families-living-in-limbo

https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/afghan-evacuation

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/12/28/afghan-women-call-for-rights-protest-alleged-taliban-killings

https://apnews.com/article/afghanistan-immigration-massachusetts-kabul-taliban-8ea41eef2c1e1735d748fcb796faccab

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/12/30/afghan-taliban-crackdown-aid/

https://www.jurist.org/news/2021/12/afghanistan-dispatches-taliban-restructures-government-axing-election-commission-and-renaming-human-rights-commission/

https://www.facebook.com/events/4752463944866078/ (FRANCAIS)

May be an image of ‎1 person, headscarf, outdoors and ‎text that says "‎-” جنيش زنان مقتذر افغانستان POWERFUL AFGHANISTAN MOVEMENT WOMEN زنان افغان به عقب بر نمی گردند افغان بخی شاته نه ستنبرِي BACK. GO NOT WILL WOMEN AFGHAN‎"‎‎

European lawyers demonstrate in solidarity with jailed Turkish attorneys

18/11/21

Lawyers in several European countries this week staged demonstrations in front of Turkish diplomatic missions to show solidarity with attorneys imprisoned in Turkey, according to Turkish media.

Lawyers in the Netherlands, Norway and Belgium demanded the immediate release of imprisoned lawyers affiliated with the now-closed Progressive Lawyers Association (ÇHD). During the demonstration Norwegian lawyers said they demanded the release of their colleagues who had been imprisoned for doing their job and exercising their right to freedom of expression.

Elsa Leona McClimans, chair of the Norwegian Bar Association, said lawyers did not normally wear their robes at demonstrations but that they had made an exception for such a significant case.

Lawyers Selçuk Kozağaçlı and Barkın Timtik from the ÇHD are currently under arrest. Both lawyers and 20 others from the association are charged with “membership in a terrorist organization” and “propagandizing for a terrorist organization.”

The ÇHD was closed by a government decree in November 2017.

The prosecutor is requesting prison sentences ranging from seven-and-a-half years to 53 years for the 22 lawyers.

The prosecutor dropped the charges against Ebru Timtik, a previously imprisoned lawyer who died during a hunger strike in September 2020.

Timtik and her colleague Aytaç Ünsal were arrested in September 2018 for alleged membership in the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Army/Front (DHKP/C), which is recognized as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU.

[…]

https://bianet.org/english/law/253506-no-lawyer-released-in-progressive-lawyers-association-case

https://bianet.org/english/law/253437-lawyers-arrest-for-over-5-years-is-now-beyond-execution

https://www.letelegramme.fr/bretagne/le-batonnier-de-lorient-pierre-guillon-ira-au-proces-de-deux-confreres-turcs-12-11-2021-12866283.php (FRANCAIS)

https://www.gazeteduvar.com.tr/chd-genel-baskani-selcuk-kozagacli-hakkinda-30-yila-kadar-hapis-istemi-haber-1542139 (TURKCE)

Azerbaijan/Armenia/The Netherlands: Three Azerbaijanis stab Armenian lawyer in Netherlands

08/05/21

Image

Armenian lawyer Anna Hakobyan was stabbed Friday in the Netherlands by three Azerbaijanis. Vahe Balbabyan wrote about this on Facebook.


“She is currently undergoing surgery at the hospital. Her condition is not clear yet. The dogs [i.e., the aforesaid Azerbaijanis] were arrested on the spot,” Balbabyan added.


Later he added: “One of our friends talked to Anna, the surgery was completed successfully, Anna is still weak, but I am sure everything will be fine. God be with you, dear Anna.”

https://news.am/eng/news/642744.html

https://armenpress.am/eng/news/1051711/

Azerbaijan: Disbarred, suspended, or criminally prosecuted: Azerbaijani human rights lawyers (updated)

January 2021

This list has been compiled by the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC) on the basis of publicly available reports from international human rights organisations and information from partner lawyers in Azerbaijan.

In the years following the 2014 crackdown on civil society in Azerbaijan and the criminal prosecution of NGO and human rights defenders, human rights lawyers who took up these and other ‘politically sensitive’ cases have been subjected to severe retaliation by the authorities, which has sometimes resulted in the suspension of their licences and even disbarment.

Disciplinary proceedings have been brought against human rights lawyers in response to their legitimate exercise of the right to freedom of expression: for publicising human rights violations perpetrated against their clients in detention, or for disclosing instances of the abusive administration of justice in their clients’ cases. As a result, over a dozen Azerbaijani lawyers have been deprived of the opportunity to practise their profession, and over two dozen have been targeted by the Azerbaijani authorities since 2005.

In January 2020, in its first case relating to the disbarment of a lawyer in Azerbaijan, the European Court of Human Rights (European Court) found a violation of the right to a private life (Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights) in the case of Elchin Namazov, who was disbarred in the absence of adequate procedural safeguards in disciplinary proceedings brought against him. The Court found that the domestic courts had failed to assess the proportionality of the sanction.[1]

Khalid Bagirov is another prominent human rights lawyer who was first suspended in 2011 after he made comments about the suspicious death of his client in police custody. He was later permanently disbarred in 2015 for criticising Azerbaijan’s judicial system during a trial which concerned a domestic court’s failure to implement the European Court’s judgment in the case of Ilgar Mammadov, an opposition politician whose arrest was found to be politically motivated.

In June 2020, the European Court ruled that Azerbaijan’s suspension and disbarment of Bagirov was in breach of his freedom of expression (Article 10 of ECHR) and right to a private life. The Court ordered the Azerbaijani Government to ensure the “maximum possible reparation” for Khalid Bagirov, “and [that] they should put the applicant, as far as possible, in the position in which he had been before his disbarment.”[2]

[…]

https://lso.ca/gazette/news/day-of-the-endangered-lawyer

(ITALIANO)

https://www.ansa.it/emiliaromagna/notizie/2021/01/24/giornata-dellavvocato-minacciato-webinar-a-bologna_174ad9d3-6dcb-4f3e-9f7a-a004313856d9.html

https://www.iurastudent.de/blogeintrag/elsa-deutschland-ev-zum-day-endangered-lawyers (DEUTSCH)

https://www.nporadio1.nl/fris/onderwerpen/71251-2021-01-24-dag-van-de-bedreigde-advocaat-ook-in-nederland-erg-actueel (NEDERLANDS)

Italy/Netherlands/Azerbaijan: Giornata Internazionale dell’Avvocato Minacciato 2021: Convegno del 22.01.2021

12/01/21

L’Unione delle Camere Penali Italiane, insieme al proprio Osservatorio Avvocati Minacciati e Osservatorio Europa, in occasione della XI° Giornata Internazionale dell’Avvocato Minacciato 2021, che si celebrerà il prossimo 24 gennaio ha organizzato un convegno con Foscus sull’Azerbaijan. L’evento si svolgerà sulla piattaforma telematica Zoom dalle ore 15.00 alle ore 17.00.

L’evento è accreditato aifini della formazione obbligatoria permanente degli Avvocati, con il riconoscimento di n. 2 crediti formativi in materia penale.

Per questioni organizzative, l’iscrizione è obbligatoria entro il 20 gennaio 2021. Agli iscritti verrà chiesto il giorno prima di registrarsi sulla piattaforma Zoom e ricevere così il link personale (non cedibile) per accedere al webinar

[…]

https://www.camerepenali.it/cat/10765/giornata_internazionale_dellavvocato_minacciato_2021_convegno_del_22012021_.html

Image may contain: 1 person

https://eldh.eu/2020/12/21/day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-2021-azerbaijan/ (ENGLISH)

China: Court upholds ruling on rights lawyer Yu Wensheng

27/12/20

Yu Wensheng's wife, Xu Yan, said her husband is innocent. Photo courtesy: Xu Yan

A court in Jiangsu province has refused to deal with the appeal application of prominent human rights lawyer Yu Wensheng, saying there was nothing wrong with an earlier court ruling.

Yu was sentenced to four years in jail and stripped of his political rights for three years after being convicted of subverting state power during a closed-door trial last June.

The 53-year-old was arrested by Beijing police in January 2018 after he wrote an open letter calling for constitutional reforms, including multi-candidate elections.

In a written decision, the Jiangsu Provincial Higher People’s Court said Yu had spread rumors and attempted to subvert state power by trying to overthrow the country’s socialist regime.

It upheld the ruling made in the original trial, saying the lower court had considered all the evidence in a comprehensive and accurate manner and handed down an appropriate sentence.

The court also denied that Yu’s sentencing had anything to do with his support for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement.

[…]

https://news.rthk.hk/rthk/en/component/k2/1567314-20201227.htm

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/campaigns/2020/07/wife-of-yu-wensheng-tells-on-fight-for-justice/

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/profile/yu-wensheng#:~:text=Yu%20Wensheng%20is%20a%20human,multiple%20sectors%20of%20Chinese%20society.

https://www.netherlandsworldwide.nl/latest/news/2020/06/22/sentencing-of-yu-wensheng

The Netherlands: Key witness lawyers on underworld hit list: report

04/12/20

Police forensics at Derk Wiersum shooting scene

The lawyers representing Nabil B., a key witness in the Marengo process, were informed by the national coordinator for counter terrorism and security NCTV that they were placed on a hit list in the underworld. Crime reporter Peter R. de Vries is also on the list of people to be murdered, De Telegraaf reported.

Lawyers Peter Schouten and Onno de Jong were told that there is a concrete threat against them and that it is related to their role as lawyers in the case against Ridouan Taghi and the drug-centered gang allegedly around him. Nabil B. linked them to multiple assassinations. De Vries is assisting B. as a confidential advisor.

The lawyers told the newspaper that they will not be dropping the case. “The key witness can continue to count on us,” De Jong said to De Telegraaf. Schouten added: “I made a conscious choice to defend Nabil B. This extremely unpleasant report will not change that.”

On September 18 last year, lawyer Derk Wiersum was shot dead at his Amsterdam home. He was representing Nabil B. at the time. A year earlier, on 29 March 2018, B.’s brother was also assassinated in Amsterdam.

[…]

https://nltimes.nl/2020/12/04/key-witness-lawyers-underworld-hit-list-report

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

https://www.omroepbrabant.nl/nieuws/3302044/advocaat-peter-schouten-staat-op-dodenlijst-bredanaar-staat-kroongetuige-nabil-b-bij (NEDERLANDS)

https://www.ad.nl/binnenland/advocaat-peter-schouten-op-dodenlijst-ik-laat-me-door-niemand-intimideren~af213c0e/

https://www.rtlnieuws.nl/nieuws/nederland/artikel/5201127/marengo-proces-kroongetuige-nabil-b-advocaten-dodenlijst-peter-r

https://www.bndestem.nl/columns/waarom-we-advocaten-als-peter-schouten-moeten-koesteren~a1137f84/?referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F

https://www.at5.nl/artikelen/205984/twee-advocaten-van-kroongetuige-nabil-b-op-dodenlijst