Tag Archives: UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers

Iran/UN: UN Experts: Iran Must Protect Women’s Rights Advocates

November 29, 2018

Farhad Meysami (left), Nasrin Sotoudeh (middle) and Reza Khandan were all arrested in 2018 for peacefully advocating for human rights, including the right of women to choose whether to wear a hijab.

UN human rights experts* have called on Iran to guarantee the rights of human rights defenders and lawyers who have been jailed for publicly supporting protests against the mandatory wearing of the hijab in Iran.

“We urge the Government to immediately release all those who have been imprisoned for promoting and protecting the rights of women,” the experts said.

In particular, the experts expressed alarm at the critical health of Farhad Meysami, a medical doctor, who was arrested in July after his advocacy in support of women protesting against the hijab law. Mr. Meysami began a hunger strike in August in protest at the charges and the lack of access to a lawyer of his choosing. Reports indicate that he has been moved to the medical centre in the prison, where he has been restrained in a bed and given intravenous injections. He is being held in isolation.

The experts said they were deeply disturbed by the reported lack of due process guarantees and said authorities had an obligation to respect the wishes of those who use hunger strikes as a form of protest.

The experts also reiterated their concern at the in-absentia conviction and subsequent imprisonment of Nasrin Sotoudeh, legal counsel for a number of the women protesters. She was convicted on security-related charges which appear to stem from her work representing the protesters. In September, her husband, Reza Khandan was arrested for “spreading propaganda against the system”, amongst other charges, and was accused of “promoting the practice of appearing in public without a veil”.

The experts called on Iran to urgently address Mr. Meysami’s grievances, and to guarantee the rights of Mr. Meysami, Ms. Sotoudeh, and of Mr. Khandan to not be deprived arbitrarily of their liberty. They also urged authorities to guarantee their right to fair proceedings before an independent and impartial tribunal.

The UN experts have notified the Government of Iran about their concerns.

https://www.iranhumanrights.org/2018/11/un-experts-iran-must-protect-womens-rights-advocates/

https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=23947&LangID=E

http://radioallen.cl/2018/iran-27/

https://www.rferl.org/a/un-rights-experts-call-on-iran-to-protect-women-s-rights-advocates/29630800.html

https://women.ncr-iran.org/iran-women-news/5604-nasrin-sotoudeh-begins-hunger-strike-in-evin-prison

https://www.queensjournal.ca/story/2018-11-29/news/iranian-political-prisoner-suggested-for-honorary-degree/

https://www.iranhumanrights.org/2018/11/prominent-imprisoned-lawyer-nasrin-sotoudeh-hunger-strikes-for-fellow-prisoner-farhad-meysami/

https://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/2004

https://sensday.wordpress.com/2018/11/30/amir-saalaar-daavudi-human-rights-lawyer-arrested/

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

http://www.ludovictrarieux.org/uk-index.htm

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

https://persian.iranhumanrights.org/1397/09/new-charge-for-receiving-sakharov-prize-for-nasrin-sotoudeh/?fbclid=IwAR1JZjJlTs-ehPpXxuJJIQ7jEL-rWD4m1u1EUA85mw6pvuZNiRkmCQKyhkA (FARSI)

https://www.courrierinternational.com/article/en-iran-les-combats-de-lavocate-nasrin-sotoudeh (FRANCAIS)

 

https://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/2005 (ARABIC)

#FreeNasrin

Image may contain: Reza Khandan, textImage may contain: Reza Khandan, textImage may contain: Reza Khandan, text

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Turkey/China/Germany etc: On the Independence of Lawyers, Judges, and Bar Associations – by Roger Juan Maldonado

November 26, 2018

Roger Juan Maldonado

President’s Column, November 2018

Imagine we woke up one day to find that our esteemed bar association, founded in 1870, had suddenly been terminated by decree. All the assets of our association, including operating accounts, long-term capital investments, and real estate, had been confiscated. The members of our Executive Committee, the chairs of our various committees, and our leadership staff had been arrested and were facing severe criminal prosecution.

The recent report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers reveals that the above scenario is happening around the world.

In Turkey, 34 lawyers’ associations, in fact, were shut down by decree and had their assets confiscated without compensation following Turkey’s declaration of a state of emergency in June 2016. The chairs, board members, and many regular members of those associations were prosecuted and imprisoned. In China, more than 300 detentions, summonses, travel bans, and other restrictions have been imposed on lawyers and law firm staff since July 2015.

It’s not a new phenomenon. Where liberal democracy is on the retreat, lawyers are often among the first casualties, and history is replete with examples. In Cambodia in the 1970s, the Khmer Rouge systematically murdered anyone who wore glasses, believing this an effective method for targeting members of the educated elite, including attorneys. In 2014, the City Bar hosted an exhibit co-sponsored by the German Federal Bar and the ABA called “Lawyers Without Rights: Jewish Lawyers in Germany Under the Third Reich.” The project that inspired the exhibit uncovered the fates behind a list of lawyers whose licenses had been revoked by the Nazi regime. “Some were able to leave the country after the Nazis came into power, but very many of them were incarcerated or murdered,” said Axel Filges, president of the German Federal Bar. “The non-Jewish German lawyers of those days remained silent. They failed miserably, and so did the lawyers’ organizations. We do not know why.”

Obviously these are history’s extreme cases, but the City Bar is determined to learn from and not to repeat the failures of the past. We, therefore, must stand up for the rule of law wherever it is threatened.  It’s why several of our committees – including those on International Human Rights, Asian Affairs, and African Affairs, and our Council on International Affairs – have consistently spoken out on behalf of lawyers and judges around the world. Further, it’s why the City Bar recently established a standing Task Force for the Independence of Lawyers and Judges.

Since its creation, the Task Force has put on panels and Great Hall events highlighting crackdowns on lawyers, judges, and bar associations around the world, advocated on their behalf, and taken part in the global “Day of the Endangered Lawyer,” on January 24.

https://www.nycbar.org/media-listing/media/detail/on-the-independence-of-lawyers-judges-and-bar-associations-by-roger-juan-maldonado

https://www.nycbar.org/

https://www.ohchr.org/en/issues/judiciary/pages/idpindex.aspx

#DayoftheEndangeredLawyer

https://www.ohchr.org/FR/Issues/Judiciary/Pages/IDPIndex.aspx (FRANCAIS)

https://arrestedlawyers.org/

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India: Bhima Koregaon case: Do not criminalise human rights defenders, UN experts urge India

October 5, 2018

They said they were concerned the terrorism charges were being used to silence people who work to protect the rights of Dalit, tribal and indigenous groups.

Bhima Koregaon case: Do not criminalise human rights defenders, UN experts urge India

Human rights experts from the United Nations on Friday expressed concern about the arrests of activists in the Bhima Koregaon case, and urged India to ensure that their cases are “promptly heard in line with international law”.

Ten activists have been arrested since June under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. Five of them are in prison, four under house arrest, and one has been released since.

The human rights experts said the vague definition of “unlawful activities” and “membership of terrorist organisations” in the law “confers discretionary powers upon state agencies, which weakens judicial oversight and diminishes civil liberties in the process”.

The Pune Police had arrested activists Shoma Sen, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Rona Wilson and Sudhir Dhawale on June 6 as part of their investigation into violence during an event in Bhima Koregaon near Pune on January 1. On August 28, they arrested Sudha Bharadwaj, Gautam Navlakha, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira and Varavara Rao.

On October 1, the Delhi High Court said Navlakha’s detention was untenable by law and ended his house arrest, but the Maharashtra government has now challenged it in the Supreme Court.

“We are concerned that terrorism charges brought in connection with the commemoration of Bhima-Koregaon are being used to silence human rights defenders who promote and protect the rights of India’s Dalit, indigenous, and tribal communities,” a statement by the UN experts said.

https://scroll.in/latest/897152/bhima-koregaon-case-do-not-criminalise-human-rights-defenders-un-experts-urge-india

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO1810/S00037/india-terrorism-charges-are-pretext-to-silence-human-rights.htm

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/arun-ferreira-vernon-gonsalves-file-bail-pleas-in-pune-court/articleshow/66093187.cms

https://www.oneindia.com/india/bhima-koregaon-case-bail-application-filed-activist-arun-ferreira-in-pune-2788522.html

http://zeenews.india.com/india/bhima-koregaon-case-bail-application-filed-for-activist-arun-ferreira-in-pune-sessions-court-2146151.html

https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/activists-welcome-sc-verdict-say-arrests-diversionary-tactic/article25100171.ece

https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/bhima-koregaon-case-sc-not-interfere-arrest-5-activists-declines-sit-probe-89139

http://zeenews.india.com/india/bhima-koregaon-case-bail-applications-for-surendra-gadling-shoma-sen-to-be-heard-on-oct-10-2146366.html

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

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Chief_Minister_Release_activists_arrested_in_connection_with_Elgaar_Parishad_NOW/edit (SIGN THE PETITION!)

https://www.newsstate.com/india-news/bhima-koregaon-case-surendra-gadling-and-shoma-sen-bail-applications-adjourned-by-pune-court-article-64655.html (HINDI)

https://teles-relay.com/inde-le-gouvernement-du-maharashtra-engage-le-sc-contre-lordonnance-du-hc-mettant-fin-a-la-detention-a-domicile-du-militant-navlakha-inde-nouvelles/ (FRANCAIS)

https://www.lahaine.org/mm_ss_mundo.php/y-idonde-esta-la-izquierda (ESPANOL)

https://www.agenzianova.com/a/0/2111584/2018-10-03/india-operazione-anti-naxaliti-liberato-uno-dei-cinque-attivisti-arrestati-2 (ITALIANO)

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.

https://stockholmcf.org/intl-law-associations-urge-un-to-pressure-on-turkish-govt-over-persecution-of-legal-professionals/

International Law Breaches Concerning the Independence of Legal Profession in Turkey

https://arrestedlawyers.org/

#DayoftheEndangeredLawyer

Maldives: UN rights expert dismayed by failure to review convictions of Supreme Court justices

June 28, 2018

Image result for office of high commissioner for human rights

The UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Diego García-Sayán, expressed dismay at the Supreme Court’s decision not to accept the application made by two convicted Supreme Court justices to have their case reviewed, saying he was concerned by reports of interference and serious irregularities in the judicial procedures that led to the convictions.

The two justices were arrested on charges related to influencing official conduct of judges in the wake of the 1 February 2018 Supreme Court decision which ordered the reinstatement of 12 suspended Members of the Parliament and release and retrial of nine political leaders. Following the arrest of the two justices, the remaining three justices issued a new order, allegedly at the request of the President of the Maldives, overturning its previous unanimous ruling to free the nine leaders.

Both justices were convicted by the Criminal Court in May, and affirmed with a reduced sentence by the High Court in early June. The cases were filed for appeal in the Supreme Court on 13 June, but rejected.

“I am dismayed by the Judges Council’s decision not to accept the application made by Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and Justice Ali Hameed, despite the reported procedural irregularities in the lower courts,” said Garcia-Sayan. “Due process issues included the use of closed hearings without valid justification; use of protected witnesses without due explanation;  and insufficient time given to the defence to prepare and submit a witness list, further hampered by the difficulties faced by the defendants in accessing their lawyers in Maafushi Prison.”

https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=23285&LangID=E

https://maldivesindependent.com/politics/maldives-under-fire-from-un-rights-expert-139049

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO1806/S00160/failure-to-review-convictions-of-maldives-judges.htm

https://raajje.mv/en/news/35608

https://raajje.mv/en/news/35621

http://www.euronews.com/2018/06/28/maldives-appoints-new-chief-justice-after-predecessor-jailed

https://maldivesindependent.com/politics/maldives-under-fire-from-un-rights-expert-139049

https://scroll.in/latest/884678/former-maldivian-president-mohamed-nasheed-renounces-presidential-bid-citing-illegal-curbs-on-him

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

The Philippines: Philippines Duterte tells U.N. human rights expert: ‘Go to hell’

June 3, 2018

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has told a U.N human rights expert who said the country’s judicial independence was under threat to ‘go to hell’, warning against interference in domestic affairs.

The Philippine Supreme Court voted last month to remove Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, whom Duterte had called an “enemy” for voting against controversial government proposals, citing violations in the way she was appointed.

Her dismissal is sending a chilling message to other supreme court judges and members of the judiciary, Diego García-Sayán, special U.N rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, said on Friday.

“Tell him not to interfere with the affairs of my country. He can go to hell,” Duterte told a news conference late Saturday night, prior to leaving for an official visit to South Korea.

The outspoken Philippine leader is known for defying international pressure and his diatribes against critics.

In particular, he has railed against former U.S. President Barack Obama and U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, Agnes Callamard, for criticizing the bloody war on drugs, his signature public safety project.

Sereno, the first chief justice to be removed by her peers, had voted against several of the Duterte’s proposals including the extension of martial rule in the volatile southern Philippines.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-philippines-duterte-un/philippines-duterte-tells-un-human-rights-expert-go-to-hell-idUSKCN1IZ063

http://www.scmp.com/news/asia/southeast-asia/article/2149020/philippine-president-rodrigo-duterte-tells-un-expert-go

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/regional/2018/06/03/philippines-duterte-tells-un-expert-to-go-to-hell/

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/996939/duterte-to-un-rapporteur-go-to-hell

https://www.rappler.com/nation/203903-un-diego-garcia-sayan-judicial-independence-philippines-under-attack

http://www.ryt9.com/es/prg/212694

https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/06/03/1821183/sc-quo-warranto-ruling-full-errors-sereno

http://manilastandard.net/opinion/columns/eagle-eyes-by-tony-la-vina/267285/sereno-decision-as-teaching-moment.html

https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/06/04/1821564/hrw-dutertes-latest-tirade-vs-un-expert-same-old-rhetoric

http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/nation/655732/sereno-allies-rally-as-sc-resumes-full-court-sessions/story/

http://www.manilatimes.net/serenos-p17-m-piatco-fees-illegal/405267/

https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/06/07/1822319/quo-warranto-case-filed-vs-duterte

https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/06/07/1822534/duterte-sereno-lost-cause-full-gimmicks

https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/03/23/1799441/gadon-faces-disbarment-disgraceful-conduct

http://manilastandard.net/opinion/columns/eagle-eyes-by-tony-la-vina/267631/dissents-in-republic-vs-sereno.html

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

https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1118878/philippines-duterte-dit-a-un-expert-de-lonu-daller-au-diable.html (FRANCAIS)

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rodrigo_Duterte (FRANCAIS)

http://www.tgcom24.mediaset.it/mondo/filippine-presidente-duterte-insulta-esperto-onu-vai-all-inferno_3143802-201802a.shtml (ITALIANO)

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The Philippines: Judicial independence in Philippines is under threat, says UN human rights expert

June 1, 2018

A UN human rights expert has expressed grave concerns about public threats issued against the Philippines’ Chief Justice by the country’s President, saying her dismissal, that followed those threats, is sending a chilling message to other supreme court judges and members of the judiciary posing a serious threat to judicial independence.

On 11 May 2018, the Supreme Court voted 8-6 to remove Maria Lourdes Sereno from her job on the grounds she had failed an ‘integrity test’. Chief Justice Sereno was appointed the country’s top judge position in 2010.

“The decision of the Supreme Court was issued two days after the President of the Philippines publicly threatened the Chief Justice by saying that she was his enemy and that she should be removed from her job or resign,” said Diego García-Sayán, Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers.

“The unprecedented decision of the Supreme Court of the Philippines seems directly related to the threats made against the Chief Justice in relation to her professional activities in defence of the independence of the judiciary.”

http://www.ryt9.com/es/prg/212694

http://www.thaipr.net/general/863929

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/996446/intl-jurists-group-slams-cj-removal

http://politics.com.ph/let-rule-of-law-prevail-icj-urges-sc-to-reinstate-sereno-as-chief-justice/

https://news.mb.com.ph/2018/05/31/criticizing-the-supreme-court-is-no-disrespect/

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/996711/sereno-ouster-worries-un-expert-hes-misinformed-says-palace

http://manilastandard.net/news/top-stories/267099/un-executive-weighs-in-on-sereno-ouster.html

http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/nation/655406/un-expert-sees-link-between-duterte-s-threats-sereno-s-ouster/story/

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/996816/sereno-camp-welcomes-comment-of-un-expert-on-ouster-of-chief-justice-sereno-sc-un-special-rapporteur-deinla

https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/06/02/1820859/senators-mull-withdrawal-signatures-quo-warranto-case

https://thedailyguardian.net/option/dismantling-democracy/

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

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(Stand With CJ Facebook, 2/6/18)