Tag Archives: UIA

Egypt: Fair trial violations and threat of long term detention for Mohammad El-Baqer (joint communication)


The following is based on a communication written by the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders and other UN experts to the Government of Egypt on 17 March 2022. The communication remained confidential for 60 days before being made public. The Government did not respond within this period. Replies, if received, will be published on the UN Special Procedures’ database

This is a shorter version of the original communication.


Mr. Mohamed El-Baqer is a lawyer and human rights defender who has actively used social and other media outlets to publish and write about human rights issues, including on cases of enforced disappearances and torture allegedly involving the National Security Agency. Following his arrest in September 2019, he was detained arbitrarily for an extended period. He was also placed on Egypt’s domestic terrorist entities and terrorist list (hereinafter “terrorism watch list”) under Case No. 1781/2019.

We previously raised our human rights concerns with the Egyptian Government about the arrest and detention of Mr. El-Baqer and the inclusion of his name on Egypt’s terrorism watch list in communications EGY 11/2019EGY 10/2020 and EGY 8/2021.. We regret that no reply has been received to any of these communications.

The case of Mr. El-Baqer was also included in the 2020 report of the Secretary-general (A/HRC/45/36, Annex I paras. 45-46) on cooperation with the UN on allegations that he had been targeted in relation to his engagement with the Universal Periodic Review of Egypt.


On 16 October 2021, Mr. El-Baqer was referred to the Emergency State Security Court (ESSC) by the Supreme State Security Prosecution under a new case without the knowledge of his lawyers who were prevented from presenting their defence, and who were not allowed to access his case file.

Mr. El-Baqer was accused under case No. 1228/2021 of “spreading false news undermining national security” and “using social media to commit publishing offenses.” These charges were among four accusations brought against him under an earlier case in 2019, case No. 1356/2019, which included accusations of “belonging to a terrorist group”, and “funding a terrorist group”, both of which remain in place and for which Mr. El-Baqer is held in pre-trial detention.

Although the state of emergency in Egypt was lifted on 26 October 2021, the ESSC remains in place for cases referred to it beforehand. Emergency Court verdicts are not subject to appeal and can only be commuted or overturned by the President of the republic.

On 11 November 2021, the ESSC rescheduled Mr. El-Baqer’s trial to 20 December 2021. His lawyers were not allowed to meet him or to have access to his case file, in violation of due process.

On 23 November 2021, the Court of Cassa tion rejected Mr. El-Baqer’s appeal to remove his name from the terrorism watch list issued a year earlier under Case No. 1781/2019, despite a lack of evidence or verdict justifying its decision.

On 20 December 2021, the ESSC Misdemeanor Court in New Cairo sentenced Mr. El-Baqer to four years in prison in case 1228/2021. In addition to his four-year sentence, Mr. El-Baqer continues to be held in pre- trial detention under Case No. 1356/2019 and, if tried and convicted by a Supreme State Security Court, he could face long-term imprisonment.


Without prejudging the accuracy of the information received, we express serious concern regarding the allegations that Mr. El-Baqer was denied the right to due process and fair trial throughout his arbitrary detention and trial, his continued arbitrary detention, and the continued inclusion of his name on the terrorism watch list without apparent evidence, in what appears to be a misuse of this listing procedure against human rights defenders. We express further concerns regarding the reported lack of adequate sanitary conditions and adequate medical care to Mr. El-Baqer, as well as the alleged lack of regular access to and contact with his family and legal representatives.




https://www.amnesty.fr/personnes/mohamed-el-baqer (FRANCAIS)

Human rights lawyers in China say spaces for activism are shrinking as they mark the sixth anniversary of the 709 crackdown


Friday marks the sixth anniversary of the “709 crackdown,” but some of the human rights lawyers that were arrested back then were still serving jail sentences. Additionally, while many of them have been released, the government has revoked their licenses, which makes it hard for some of them to raise their families.

While many human rights lawyers arrested during the “709 crackdown” have been released six years after the mass arrest, Yu Wen-sheng, who was the defense lawyer for several of them in 2015, is still serving his jail sentence at the Nanjing prison.

According to his wife Xu Yan, he has multiple health problems, including trembling and powerlessness in his right arm, which causes him to lose the ability to write, brush his teeth or pick dishes with chopsticks with his right arm. Additionally, he also suffers from high blood pressure, spine issues and kidney stones.

“In fact, his health condition isn’t really good and usually, he would already qualify for compassionate release, but the prison hasn’t approved my application for almost a year,” she said.

Xu said even though she continues to demand the prison to take Yu Wen-sheng to doctors for treatment, authorities at the prison have only taken him to the doctor twice in more than three years.

“He’s only been to the doctors twice in more than three years and the authorities still haven’t allowed him to get dental implant surgeries for the four teeth that he has lost,” she said. “If he fails to get dental implants for too long, it will start affecting his ability to eat food and other teeth nearby might start to get looses too.”

When the Chinese government initiated the “709 crackdown” six years ago, they arrested and detained hundreds of human rights lawyers, activists and their family members across 23 provinces in China. Yu Wen-sheng became the first lawyer to openly sue the government for the mass arrest on July 30.









https://www.dw.com/zh/709%E5%A4%A7%E6%8A%93%E6%8D%95%E5%85%AD%E5%91%A8%E5%B9%B4-%E7%BB%B4%E6%9D%83%E5%BE%8B%E5%B8%88%E7%94%9F%E5%AD%98%E4%B9%8B%E8%B7%AF%E8%A2%AB%E5%A0%B5%E6%AD%BB/a-58212501 (CHINESE)

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Azerbaijan: Day of the Endangered Lawyer WEBINAR January 25th



The International Observatory of Lawyers in Danger (IOLD) together with the UIA-Irol and the AEDH convene you to its webinar for the International Day of Lawyers in Danger 2021.

Please register at the link below : https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Gz3kqPrwRAibF_Hcddp_kg

The webinar will be translated in English, French, Italian and Spanish.

This year’s International Day of Lawyers in danger focuses on Azerbaijan, where multiple cases of harassment of lawyers in violation of international law and international standards on the independence of the profession have been documented.

About the International Day of Lawyers in Danger:

Since 2009, the European Democratic Lawyers’ Association has been organizing, in collaboration with the “Day of the Endangered Lawyer” Foundation and other lawyers’ and bar associations, each year, the Day of the Endangered Lawyer in as many cities, countries and continents as possible.

The purpose of this international day is to focus the attention of civil society and public authorities on the situation of lawyers in a particular country in order to raise awareness of the threats faced by lawyers in the exercise of their profession. After the situation of lawyers in Iran, Turkey, the Philippines, the Basque Country, Honduras, China and Egypt, the Day of the Endangered Lawyer 2021 will be dedicated to the situation of lawyers in Azerbaijan.

Observatoire international des avocats en danger – OIAD Facebook, 18/01/21

http://www.defendre.eu/azerbaidjan2021.htm (FRANCAIS)

China: Father of detained Chinese human rights lawyer speaks out about ‘inhumane’ treatment


Chang Weiping was taken away by police on October 22 after alleging in a video that he had been tortured when he was detained in January. Photo: Handout

The father of a human rights lawyer detained in northwest China has spoken out about his son’s “inhumane” treatment after he was allowed to see him for the first time in five weeks.

Chang Shuanming was granted a 10-minute meeting with his 36-year-old son, Chang Weiping, at a police station in Baoji, Shaanxi province on November 25.

The retired farmer said he was distressed when he saw his son, who is being held under “residential surveillance” at an unknown location, a form of detention.

“I am worried that my son is being held in isolation and he is helpless. After I left the room he shouted out, telling me and his mother to stay alive,” said Chang Shuanming, 70. “I was terrified because it felt like my son was using his last breath to say goodbye.”

Chang Shuanming made the remarks after he raised concern in a social media post on Monday, saying his son had looked fragile and weak when he saw him.

“He has lost a lot of weight, his eyes were red and he looked tired,” Chang Shuanming wrote on Weibo, China’s Twitter. “He is an eloquent speaker but he spoke intermittently [when they met].”







https://www.amnesty.nl/forms/urgentaction-china-chang-weiping (NEDERLANDS)

Turkey: Int’l law associations urge UN to pressure on Turkish gov’t over persecution of legal professionals

September 18, 2018

Three international law associations have urged United Nations (UN), enter into urgent dialogue with the Turkish government with a view to ending the persecution and prosecution of legal professionals in the country.

The Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC), the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) and the Law Society of England and Wales have written a 34-page report in relation to breaches of the rights and protections of the legal profession in Turkey and submitted Diego García-Sayán, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers on Tuesday in Geneva.

The report entitled “International Law Breaches Concerning the Independence of Legal Profession in Turkey” which was submitted to the UN related to human rights violations which have occurred and are occurring since the controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, and examines the position post the ending of the State of Emergency in Turkey.

“Primarily, new laws place in a statutory framework the pre-existing threats to the independence of the legal profession, including arbitrary arrest and detention, dismissals, and breaches of the right to a fair trial and due process,” said the international law associations in their joint letter in which they presented the report to UN’s García-Sayán.


International Law Breaches Concerning the Independence of Legal Profession in Turkey



Iran/UIA: The UIA Urges an End to All Forms of Harassment against Prominent Iranian Lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, and her Family

September 10, 2018


The UIA expresses its grave concerns about the ongoing detention of Ms Nasrin Sotoudeh, a prominent Iranian human rights lawyer and the 2012 recipient of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize.


Ms Sotoudeh has been detained in Tehran’s Evin Prison since June 13, 2018. At the time of her arrest, she was reportedly informed that her detention related to her conviction in absentia to a five-year prison term. She has since been informed of several additional charges, including “assembly and collusion against national security,” and “spreading propaganda against the state”.
Ms Sotoudeh has long been committed to the defence of human rights and has represented several political prisoners, including women who have been arrested and prosecuted for peacefully protesting against the compulsory veiling in Iran. Shortly before her arrest, Ms Sotoudeh had also expressed criticism about the recent implementation of the Note to Article 48 of Iran’s 2015 Code of Criminal Procedure, which requires individuals accused of certain offenses, including those national security related, to choose their legal representative from a list of lawyers approved by the Head of the Judiciary, clearly undermining their right to a lawyer of their own choosing.

On August 25, 2018, Ms Sotoudeh had reportedly started a hunger strike protesting her detention and the harassment of her family and friends by Iranian authorities following her arrest. A few days later, on September 4, 2018, Mr. Reza Khandan, Ms Sotoudeh’s husband, who has been informing about his wife’s situation and publicly campaigning for her release, was arrested. According to the information received, Mr. Khandan has been charged with “spreading propaganda against the system” and “colluding to commit crimes against national security.”






https://www.change.org/p/nasrin-sotoudeh-nasrin-sotoudeh-please-end-your-hunger-strike-iranians-need-you-alive?signed=true (PLEASE SIGN URGENT PETITION!)


https://diariojudio.com/noticias/iran-la-detencion-de-abogados-y-activistas-de-los-derechos-de-las-mujeres-indica-una-intensificacion-de-medidas-represivas-contra-la-sociedad-civil/277878/ (ESPANOL)

https://www.ilfattoquotidiano.it/2018/09/10/iran-e-caccia-agli-avvocati-cosi-le-autorita-zittiscono-il-dissenso/4607416/ (ITALIANO)

UAE: Droits de l’homme : Campagne de l’UIA pour la libération de Mohammed al-Roken

le 12 octobre, 2017

Campagne internationale pour la libération de Mohammed al-Roken

L’Union internationale des avocats (UIA) lance une campagne pour exiger des autorités émiraties la libération de l’avocat défenseur des droits de l’homme Mohammed al-Roken.

Au travers d’une campagne d’affichage et de plaidoyer, l’UIA encourage ses membres, en particulier et la communauté juridique internationale, en géénral, à faire « pression » sur le gouvernement émirati par l’envoi de courriers dénonçant l’injustice de la détention de Mohammed al-Roken. Un modèle de lettre est disponible sur son site.

« Aucun défenseur ne doit être détenu ou emprisonné du fait de l’exercice pacifique de ses droits à la liberté d’expression et d’association », affirme la présidente de l’UIA Laurence Bory qui estime que « la détention de Me Mohammed al-Roken est incompatible avec les responsabilités et les engagements des Émirats Arabes Unis en tant que membre du Conseil des droits de l’homme. »

Pour rappel, l’avocat émirati a été arrêté le 17 juillet 2012 dans le cadre d’arrestations de masse à l’égard de défenseurs des droits de l’homme, de juges, d’intellectuels et de leaders de la communauté étudiante. Ces arrestations faisaient suite à une pétition réclamant des réformes pour une plus grande démocratisation de l’État. À l’issue du procès des 94 Émiratis également connu sous l’acronyme “UAE94”, l’avocat été condamné, le 2 juillet 2013, à 10 ans de prison, dont trois de probation et une interdiction d’exercer pour avoir créé une organisation ayant soi-disant pour objectif de renverser le gouvernement.

L’avocat émirati a été soumis à des actes de torture, privé d’un droit à la défense effective et les observateurs indépendants n’ont pu accéder aux audiences. Reconnu pour son engagement en faveur des droits de l’homme, Mohammed al-Roken s’est vu décerné le Prix international des droits de l’homme Ludovic Trarieux en mai 2017.



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10 novembre 2017: l’Avvocatura internazionale a Venezia in occasione della consegna del Premio Ludovic Trarieux 2017, assegnato all’avv. Mohammed al-Roken degli Emirati Arabi Uniti e per tutti i difensori dei diritti umani minacciati, incarcerati, uccisi a causa della loro attività http://bit.ly/2yfjhV1

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UIA: Union internationale des avocats – Rapport annuel 2016

le 12 septembre, 2017

Union internationale des avocats - Rapport annuel 2016

Dans son rapport annuel 2016, l’Union internationale des avocats (UIA) présente les réalisations de l’institution au cours de l’année 2016 : principaux faits marquants, formations et séminaires, actions de l’UIA-IROL (Institute for the Rule of Law) en matière de défense de la défense, actions menées en faveur de l’indépendance des avocats et pour la promotion de l’État de droit dans le monde, etc. Un focus spécial a été donné à la crise migratoire et aux actions proposées par l’association pour informer les avocats sur leur rôle dans la défense des droits des réfugiés.

« Ce rapport annuel vous présente les réalisations de l’UIA pendant l’année 2016, pendant laquelle j’ai eu le grand honneur et la responsabilité de la présider (…) Lors de ma prise de fonction, en 2015, au congrès de Valence, j’avais exprimé mon souhait, partagé par les présidents, de poursuivre nos travaux dans trois domaines : l’État de droit, la formation des avocats et le service aux organisations d’avocats dans le monde » déclare Jean-Jacques Uettwiller, président de l’UIA pour la mandature 2015-2016, dans l’avant-propos du rapport. C’est donc autour de ces thèmes chers à l’ancien président que s’est organisée la rédaction de ce document.

Comme l’a rappelé Jean-Jacques Uettwiller, en préambule de ce rapport « sur l’État de droit, le chemin est encore long et le maintien en détention de nombreux avocats (plus de 400 en Turquie) pour des motifs liés à leur exercice professionnel et quels que soient les efforts de l’UIAIROL, est bien loin de nos objectifs ». Les exemples sont en effet nombreux concernant les avocats emprisonnés et arrêtés sans véritables raisons. À chaque fois, l’association a riposté ou montré sa désapprobation.

Ainsi, le 25 avril 2016, l’ancien bâtonnier du Burkina Faso, Mamadou Traoré a été interpellé à Ouagadougou. À la suite de son audition, il a été incarcéré à la maison d’arrêt et de correction des armées (MACA). L’UIA a alors fait part de son inquiétude au barreau burkinabé. En France, le 7 mars 2016, les avocats Julien Brel et Benjamin Franco du barreau de Toulouse ont été convoqués par l’Inspection générale de la police nationale (IGPN) en raison d’une plainte déposée par des policiers pour « rébellion et dénonciation calomnieuse ». L’UIA a alors écrit au bâtonnier du barreau de Toulouse pour lui faire part de son soutien. Autre illustration de violences commises sur la profession : le 5 février 2016, les avocats Zeinab Dahboul, Zeinab El Hajj, Raed Hamdan et Zaher Azoury, membres du conseil de l’Ordre, ont été agressés par un groupe d’individus armés. Dans un communiqué de presse, l’UIA a condamné les agressions et a exprimé sa solidarité avec les avocats libanais.


Day of the Endangered Lawyer/China: 7° Día del Abogado Amenazado: ¿por qué actuar el 24 de enero en favor de los abogados de derechos humanos en China?


Li Chunfu fue detenido por la policía el 1° de agosto de 2015 en el marco de la campaña de represión sin precedentes contra abogados de derechos humanos en China, conocida como el “709 crackdown”. Fue liberado bajo fianza el 5 de enero de 2017. Su familia lo encontró profundamente traumatizado emocionalmente, habiendo perdido mucho peso y sufriendo de paranoia y de un fuerte sentimiento de inseguridad. Li Chunfu es el hermano menor del abogado Li Heping (cuyo juicio está aún pendiente por cargos de supuesta subversión contra el Estado). 

La historia de Li Chunfu es una fuente de inspiración. Su hermano mayor cursaba el primer año en la Universidad cuando Li Chunfu comenzaba el tercer año de la secundaria. Su familia no podía costear las matrículas de los dos hermanos. A pesar de sus excelentes notas, Li Chunfu fue quien tuvo que sacrificar sus estudios. Si bien le fue difícil aceptar la situación, empezó a trabajar en una fábrica. Motivado por el deseo de ayudar a las personas vulnerables y alentado por su hermano Li Heping, Li Chunfu pudo finalmente ganar suficiente dinero para comenzar cursos de autoprendizaje para obtener un diploma en derecho. Tras seis años de perseverancia y pese a muchos contratiempos, tanto económicos como académicos, Li Chunfu se convirtió oficialmente en abogado en 2005.

Antes de ser arrestado, Li Chunfu era un abogado especialista en derechos humanos que mantenía un perfil discreto. Li Heping fue detenido el 10 de julio de 2015 en régimen de incomunicación. Li Chunfu buscó por todas partes a su hermano mayor antes de ser detenido él mismo el 1 de agosto de 2015. El 8 de enero de 2016, Li Chunfu fue formalmente acusado de “subversión contra el Estado. Durante los 17 meses en los que estuvo detenido, se impidió a su abogado reunirse con él y se le negó el acceso a su expediente.


http://www.uianet.org/fr/content/7%C2%B0journ%C3%A9e-de-lavocat-en-danger-pourquoi-agir-le-24 (FRANCAIS)

China: Appel à mobilisation pour la journée de l’avocat en danger

le 4 janvier, 2017

L’Observatoire international des avocats en danger (OIAD), l’AED, l’IDHAE, le SAF et l’AFAJA appellent les barreaux les barreaux et les avocats à se mobiliser le 24 janvier 2017, Journée de l’Avocat en Danger, pour manifester leur solidarité avec leurs confrères chinois.

La Journée de l’avocat en Danger (http://dayoftheendangeredlawyer.eu/) est une initiative internationale mise en place depuis plus de 7 ans par plusieurs organisations d’avocats qui permet, chaque 24 janvier, de mobiliser l’opinion publique autour de la situation de confrères menacés dans un pays particulier.

Après la situation des avocats en Iran, en Turquie, aux Philippines, au Pays Basque et au Honduras, la Journée de l’avocat en danger 2017 sera dédiée à la situation des avocats en Chine, victimes depuis des années de nombreuses mesures de représailles et de harcèlement de la part des autorités chinoises en raison de leur engagement pour la défense des libertés civiles, politiques, sociales et économiques de leurs concitoyens.

Ce 24 janvier 2017, l’OIAD, AED, l’IDHAE, le SAF et l’AFAJA notamment organisent à Paris une manifestation d’avocats en robe devant l’Ambassade de Chine, puis une conférence dédiée à la situation des avocats en Chine qui aura lieu à la Maison du Barreau (2, rue de Harlay), à partir de 15h30.

Les barreaux de France et du monde entier sont invités à organiser des conférences de presse ou tout autre évènement pour mettre en lumière la situation des avocats chinois et faire connaitre la Journée de l’avocat en danger.

Lire le programme du 24 janvier 2017 à Paris :