Tag Archives: UK

Pakistan/UK/Day of the Endangered Lawyer: Why won’t the government condemn the existence of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws?

July 18, 2019

Repeal blasphemy laws

Ministers keep condemning the “misuse” of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws in response to parliamentary questions. But the ‘misuse’ of indefensible laws isn’t the issue – the existence of them is, says Chris Sloggett.

On Monday foreign office minister Tariq Ahmad addressed a question about the case of Shaghufta Kausar in a written answer to a question from a fellow peer.

Keen human rights defenders may recognise this case. The National Secular Society’s Secularist of the Year for 2019, Saif ul Malook, is defending Shaghufta as she faces a possible death sentence in Pakistan over an allegation that she sent a text message insulting Muhammad. This is very risky work: lawyers who defend those accused of blasphemy in Pakistan face routine threats and some, such as Rashid Rehman, have been killed.

https://www.secularism.org.uk/opinion/2019/07/why-wont-the-government-condemn-the-existence-of-pakistans-blasphemy-laws

https://newint.org/features/2019/06/12/pakistani-lawyer-putting-his-life-line

https://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2019/05/lawyer-who-defended-asia-bibi-named-secularist-of-the-year

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-27319433

https://defendlawyers.wordpress.com/2019/06/22/pakistan-day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-january-24-2020-pakistan/

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Day of the Endangered Lawyer

Turkey/UK: Society joins plea to UN over Turkey’s ‘chilling roll call of injustice’

July 18, 2019

Image result for law society of england and wales

Turkish citizens are resorting in vain to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in ever greater numbers, as trust in their domestic courts erodes, the Law Society of England and Wales said today in a joint submission to the UN Human Rights Council’s universal periodic review of Turkey on behalf of an international coalition of legal organisations.

’Judges’ and prosecutors’ independence has been systematically undermined in Turkey since the failed coup in 2016,’ Law Society president Simon Davis said. ’Hundreds of judges, prosecutors and lawyers have been arrested, detained and convicted on charges of terrorism without credible evidence.

’Lawyers have been identified with and punished for their clients’ causes. More than 1,500 lawyers have been prosecuted, hundreds of them in mass trials,’ he said. Lawyers who can still practise report intimidation and threats.’

Davis said that this menacing environment undermines the right of every citizen to legal representation and a fair trial, which may explain why Turkish citizens submitted more than 57,000 petitions to the European Court of Human Rights in 2017.

According to the submission, Turkey’s chilling roll call of injustice includes:

  • 57,039 petitions to the ECtHR in 2017 from Turkish citizens, 25,000 of which rejected for failure to exhaust domestic remedies
  • 4,260 judges and prosecutors dismissed
  • 634 judges and prosecutors convicted on terrorism charges
  • 1,546 lawyers prosecuted, 311 sentenced to a total of 1,967 years in prison
  • 599 lawyers arrested and detained

’Turkey must protect the independence of lawyers, judges and prosecutors – in legislation and in practice – so that they can perform their professional duties without intimidation and improper interference,’ Davis said. ’The rule of law and the independence of the legal profession are essential foundations for political, social and economic stability.’

He said that the Law Society and the international legal profession will continue to support colleagues working in difficult conditions and do whatever it can to help restore meaningful access to justice in Turkey.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/international/society-joins-plea-to-un-over-turkeys-chilling-roll-call-of-injustice/5071046.article

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/18/un-urged-to-act-over-purge-of-turkeys-lawyers-by-erdogan

https://www.australasianlawyer.com.au/news/legal-coalition-urges-un-to-act-on-persecution-of-lawyers-and-judges-in-turkey-264636.aspx

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/european-court-cannot-help-thousands-of-persecuted-lawyers-in-turkey-5fm5hw2wp

Joint UPR submission Turkey

http://www.barhumanrights.org.uk/bhrc-joins-international-coalition-of-legal-organisations-raising-concern-for-turkeys-lawyers-and-judges/

Int’l lawyers say Turkey’s justice system being undermined by post-coup purge

https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/

UPR Turkey Combined

http://bianet.org/english/human-rights/210569-33-years-of-the-ihd-15-directors-and-members-of-which-killed-from-vedat-aydin-to-tahir-elci

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2019/07/turkey-outlandish-charges-against-osman-kavala-and-15-others-must-be-dropped/

https://www.lawsociety.ie/gazette/top-stories/ten-year-backlog-of-10000-cases-dogs-european-court-of-human-rights/

https://tr.euronews.com/2019/07/18/avrupa-hukuk-orgutleri-bm-ye-turkiye-raporu-insan-haklari-aihm-15-temmuz-mahkum-cezaevi (TURKCE)

Singapore/Malaysia: Withdraw ‘unacceptable threat’ to Surendran, S’pore told

July 16, 2019

Lawyers For Liberty has reacted sharply to what it calls “threats made by the Singapore authorities against lawyer N Surendran.”

This comes after the Singapore Attorney-General’s Chambers sent a letter to its High Court saying that Surendran had made “scandalous allegations against Singapore and its legal system, including accusing Singapore of acting in total disregard of international legal norms and decent world opinion.”

“Coming from the attorney-general’s office in a formal note to the High Court, this amounts to a serious threat against Surendran,” LFL director Melissa Sasidaran said in a statement.

“Singapore is notorious for bringing contempt of court or criminal defamation charges against its critics. British author Alan Shadrake was similarly prosecuted and jailed in 2011 for making remarks on the death penalty in Singapore.”

https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/483934

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2019/07/16/lfl-alleges-singapore-threat-against-lawyer-for-malaysians-on-death-row/1771776

Group accuses Singapore AG of meddling ahead of clemency plea for Malaysian on death row

https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/168595

Singapore denies targeting Malaysians for capital punishment

Lawyers For Liberty push for moratorium on Malaysian death row prisoners in Singapore, urge for “thorough” review on clemency rejections

https://www.officeparrots.com/single-post/2016/07/08/7-Malaysian-Human-Rights-Lawyers-You-Should-Know

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N._Surendran

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https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/bahasa/2019/07/16/peguam-dakwa-ag-singapura-campur-tangan-usaha-tahanan-hukuman-mati-mohon-rayuan/ (MALAY)

https://www.sinarharian.com.my/article/38024/BERITA/Nasional/Singapura-digesa-tarik-balik-tuduhan-terhadap-Surendran (MALAY)

Zimbabwe: MDC’s Job Sikhala Appears in Court Facing Subversion Charges

July 11, 2019

Job Sikhala and his lawyers in court ...

Vice chairperson of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Job Sikhala, has appeared before a Masvingo district magistrate facing charges of subversion.

Sikhala, who was arrested Tuesday following allegations of contravening Section 22 (2) (a) of the Criminal law (Codification and Reform) Act (Chapter 9:23), was remanded in custody to July 24th.

Lead counsel Aleck Mucadahama and his team, which includes Harrison Nkomo, Douglas Mwonzora, Jeremiah Bamu and Tinomuda Shoko of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, filed a bail application at the High Court in Masvingo seeking bail for the MDC lawmaker.

A message posted on the Facebook page of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights read in part, “At Masvingo High Court, ZLHR lawyers Jeremiah Bamu and Tinomuda Shoko have filed an application seeking the release of Zengeza West MP Hon. Job Sikhala on bail after he was remanded in custody at Bikita Magistrates Court by Magistrate Marewanazvo Gofa.”.

Sikhala told the court that he was blindfolded, handcuffed and bungled into a motor vehicle on Thursday and driven from Harare to Bikita.

He claimed that he was denied food and high blood pressure medicine for two days before he appeared in court Thursday.

Magistrate Marewanazvo Gofa remanded SIkhala in custody and advised him to apply for bail at the High Court.

The state claims that Sikhala told people in Bikita recently that his party will overthrow President Emmerson Mnangagwa before the 2023 general elections.

https://www.voazimbabwe.com/a/job-sikhala-faces-subversion-charges/4995775.html

https://www.voazimbabwe.com/a/job-sikhala-court-appearance-harare-masvingo/4995004.html

https://www.voazimbabwe.com/a/zimbabwe-ostallos-siziba-arrested-job-sikhala/4994561.html

https://ewn.co.za/2019/07/11/outrage-over-treatment-of-zim-mp-charged-with-treason

Job Sikhala fails to appear in court, lawyers slam ZRP ‘hide and seek game’

https://www.news24.com/Africa/News/zimbabwean-opposition-mp-charged-with-treason-20190709

https://allafrica.com/stories/201907120150.html

https://afroinsider.com/they-covered-my-eyes-with-a-hood-job-sikhala-narrates-torture-he-suffered-at-the-hands-of-police/

https://pindula.co.zw/Job_Sikhala

https://afrique.lalibre.be/38851/zimbabwe-un-depute-de-lopposition-en-detention-provisoire/ (FRANCAIS)

http://jornaldeangola.sapo.ao/mundo/prisao-preventiva-para-opositor-zimbabweano (PORTUGUES)

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people standing and outdoor

Zimbabweans in the UK demonstrated at Chatham House during Zimbabwe’s Foreign Affairs minister’s visit calling for among other things the release of Job Sikhala. Job Sikhala is a prominent opposition politician, lawyer and human rights activist and is facing treason charges.

(Centre for Human Rights Defenders of Zimbabwe – CHRDZ Facebook, 12/07/19)

No photo description available.

(Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights Facebook, 11/07/19)

UK/Turkey: British barrister faces extradition to Turkey over ‘propaganda’ charges

July 3, 2019

Turkish authorities accuse Ozcan Keles of spreading propaganda online

A non-practising barrister accused of spreading propaganda online is facing possible extradition to Turkey on terrorism charges.

Ozcan Keles, a UK citizen of Turkish descent, is accused of “spreading propaganda” on Twitter as well as giving £100,000 to “fund terrorist activities”, CourtNewsUKreports.

The 40-year-old, who is currently studying for a PhD in human rights law at the University of Sussex, was arrested in May after Turkish authorities issued a warrant for his extradition.

The extradition request alleges, among other things, that Keles used his social media accounts to share videos of exiled Turkish scholar Fethullah Gülen as propaganda. It also alleges that he is is a member of Fetö, a group with links to Gülen and the failed Turkish coup in 2016. Keles denies all the allegations.

British barrister faces extradition to Turkey over ‘propaganda’ charges

Landmark ruling by Romanian appeals court confirms problems in the rule of law in Turkey

Barrister faces extradition on terror charges

https://www.ozcankeles.org/how-to-support-me/

https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/support-ozcan-against

Özcan Keleş

https://www.ozcankeles.org/

Özcan Keleş

http://www.tr724.com/ozcan-keles-icin-yardim-kampanyasi-devam-ediyor-rakam-10-bin-sterline-ulasti/ (TURKCE)

https://dekanttekening.nl/nieuws/britse-advocaat-begint-crowdfund-actie-om-niet-aan-turkije-te-worden-uitgeleverd/ (NEDERLANDS)

Turkey/UK: Scholar arrested by police just months before returning to Aberdeen to start prestigious fellowship

June 10, 2019

Hanifi Baris.

Hanifi Baris was previously arrested in Turkey for posting critical commentary online about the country’s leader President Recep Erdogan.

He avoided jail after facing trial this Spring.

But the human rights lawyer, who graduated from Aberdeen University’s Centre of Citizenship, Civil Society and Rule of Law with a PhD two years ago, was again arrested last Thursday by police in Istanbul for “posting items with criminal content on Facebook and Twitter accounts”.

He was notified that a new case had been opened against him on May 31, related to the charge of “insulting the Turkish President” through his social media posts.

The first hearing is due to be held on October 8 this year, at the Bakırköy court in Istanbul.

Since Mr Baris has not received the indictment yet, it remains unclear which of his social media posts form the basis of the case.

The academic is due to return to the Granite City this September, after he was awarded a prestigious three-year Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at Aberdeen University.

Scholar arrested by police just months before returning to Aberdeen to start prestigious fellowship

http://www.thegaudie.com/articles/aberdeen-academic-charged-with-insulting-the-turkish-president-may-face-years-in-prison

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/hanifi-bar%C4%B1s-charged-insulting-turkish-president

Hanifi Bariş awarded Leverhulme Fellowship at CISRUL

https://www.facebook.com/groups/433508947128873/

Colombia: Award for human rights defenders by PBI UK to Kenyan and Colombian defenders

June 23, 2019

Kenyan social justice activist Naomi Barasa and Colombian human rights lawyer Daniel Prado have won the first annual Henry Brooke Awards for Human Rights Defenders, created in 2018 by PBI UK and pro bono legal network the Alliance for Lawyers at Risk.

These awards are in honour of the life and legacy of Sir Henry Brooke – barrister at Fountain Court Chambers, founder of the Alliance for Lawyers at Risk and patron of PBI UK – who passed away in January 2018. They are presented annually to defenders who encapsulate the qualities Sir Henry most admired and reflected in his own life: selflessness, courage, and commitment to seeking justice for the oppressed and the marginalised. The award winners were selected by a panel of leading figures from the UK legal and human rights communities.

Daniel Prado was selected as an example of a lawyer who has defied huge personal risk in order to pursue justice for the victims of human rights violations, oppose impunity and defend the rights of marginalised communities against powerful interests. He began his career by providing legal support to the family members of victims of enforced disappearance in the early 1990s and currently works with the Colombian NGO the Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission (CIJP). Among other emblematic cases, Daniel represents victims of paramilitarism in the case of Los Doce Apóstoles (The Twelve Apostles), in which Santiago Uribe, brother of former President and Senator Alvaro Uribe Velez, stands accused of creating paramilitary groups responsible for more than 500 murders. Daniel’s involvement in this and other high-profile cases has seen him exposed to death threats, harassment and a public campaign of defamation and slander. Speaking of his work, he has said: “The risks in Colombia are unstoppable. I have taken many cases that have had consequences for a lot of people… we live in a constant state of anxiety about what can happen to us.

Award for human rights defenders by PBI UK to Kenyan and Colombian defenders

http://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/henry-brooke-awards-for-human-rights-defenders

2018 Sir Henry Brooke Award winner calls for civilian rule in Sudan

https://peacebrigades.org.uk/

https://www.elespectador.com/colombia2020/justicia/jep/el-mayor-meneses-debe-contar-en-la-jep-la-alianza-entre-estado-y-paras-daniel-prado-articulo-857889 (ESPANOL)

https://www.elsaltodiario.com/colombia/daniel-prado-paramilitares-llegaron-tener-presidente-colombia-uribe-12-apostoles (ESPANOL)