Tag Archives: USA

China/UK/US/Germany etc: Wives of Detained Chinese Lawyers Meet With Foreign Diplomats

January 10, 2019

Li Wenzu (4th from L), wife detained Chinese rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang, and Wang Qiaoling (5th from L), wife of rights lawyer Li Heping, pose with a group of Western diplomats in Beijing, Jan. 9, 2019.

The wife of detained Chinese rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang, who has been held incommunicado without trial since 2015, has met with foreign diplomats together with Wang Qiaoling, wife of rights lawyer Li Heping, RFA has learned.

Yesterday morning, I and Wang Qiaoling met with diplomats in charge of human rights from … the U.K., U.S., Germany, the E.U., Switzerland and Austria,” Wang’s wife Li Wenzu told RFA on Thursday.

“Wang Quanzhang has been detained for three-and-a-half years, and I still know nothing about the trial,” she said. “I am starting to get very worried and anxious, because there has been no new information during the past couple of weeks.”

Li said the conversation had largely focused on her message to the ruling Chinese Communist Party.

“I wanted them to pass on a very clear demand from me to the Chinese government, that the Tianjin No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court issue its verdict immediately,” she said.

“The [trial] ended … so the fact that they still haven’t issued a verdict indicates that they want to drag things out still longer, until everyone has forgotten about the whole thing,” Li said.

“They will then deal with the case when nobody is thinking about it any more,” she said.

Li said state security police had issued the families of rights lawyers and activists detained in a nationwide crackdown since July 2015 with the same warning; not to meet with foreign diplomats.

“The state security police wants the relatives to abide by four prohibitions, the most important of which was that we shouldn’t meet with diplomats,” she said. “But our situation would be far worse if it weren’t for international attention on the July 2015 cases.”








https://sverigesradio.se/sida/gruppsida.aspx?programid=3304&grupp=6240&artikel=7126235&fbclid=IwAR0fDHk-Tv-Oph5vuNBbRkOeLlY2oDCSyfoQW8B4-Fmk8mPYqRqKuC3Zl1o (SVENSKA)

During the Edelstam Prize 2018 award ceremony, the Chinese sign for love was exposed, and all persons engaged in organizing the ceremony, wore the Chinese sign for love on their hearts. The theme of love and happiness pervaded the whole ceremony, especially in the end when children sang “We are the world,” everyone holding a red bucket with the Chinese sign of love to show support for Li Wenzu, responsible for organizing the important “Red Bucket Protest,” which took place on July 7, 2017 in front of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate in Beijing. All the guests received a red chocolate heart when leaving the ceremony.
During the “Red Bucket Protest,” the wives of the detained human rights lawyers gathered in front of the Procuratorate in bright and red clothes with red accessories and red buckets, a color of love and happiness, to publicize their demand for information and access to the prisoners. On their dresses they had printed their husband’s names and messages of love. All the participants in the protest were finally detained, some of them badly beaten. Diplomats were not allowed into the Procuratorate.

(The Edelstam Prize  29/10/19)



New York City Bar

2019 Day of the Endangered Lawyer – Turkey
Thursday, January 24, 2019 | 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Program Fee: Free to Members | $15 for Non-Members

The Day of the Endangered Lawyer is an annual event which examines governments who actively suppress lawyers from representing clients. Such suppression includes harassment, fines, disbarment, imprisonment, and even extrajudicial torture and killing. This year the Day of the Endangered Lawyer examines lawyers in Turkey. Since the coup attempt in 2016, lawyers and judges have been disbarred and imprisoned. In addition, local bar associations have been forcibly closed by governments. This panel aims to highlight the state of current events in Turkey.

Neil Schenkkan, Director of Special Research, Freedom House
Hon. Sukru Say, Former Judge of the Turkish Tax Court

Christopher M. W. Pioch, Secretary, Task Force on the Independence of Lawyers and Judges

Sponsoring Association Committee:
Task Force on the Independence of Lawyers and Judges, William A. Wilson III, Chair







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Nigeria/USA: US Congress Queries FG Harassment Of Atiku, Obi, Falana

December 21, 2018

The subcommittee of the US Congress for Africa, Human Rights, Global Health and International Organizations has queried the US government on its responses to reports of repression of opponents by the government of Nigeria.

During the hearing on Nigeria entitled, “Nigeria at a Crossroads: The Upcoming Elections” held on December 13, 2018, the Chairman Representative Chris Smith cited reports in the Vanguard and PREMIUM TIMES pertaining to reported freezing of Gov Peter Obi’s bank accounts as well as a raid on VP Atiku’s sons. Both men are leading opposition challengers to General Buhari.

Specifically Chairman Chris Smith informed the top diplomat for Africa, Assistant Secretary of State Ambassador Tobir Nagy, that the subcommittee was in possession of a memo by the Nigerian embassy targeting a human rights lawyer for testifying before them. Concerned at the apparent repression of “opponents” of the Buhari regime, the Chairman asked the representative of the Trump administration whether the US government was engaged with Nigeria on these violations of citizens’ rights just for holding “contrary” views.

The Assistant Secretary of State for Africa responded that the US embassy in Nigeria was quite “concerned” and robustly engaged on such rights violations and election malpractice as just witnessed in Osun State and gave kudos to US ambassador Symmington whom he was impressed with during his recent visit to Nigeria last month.

Following the hearing, Washington-based Nigerian human rights lawyer Emmanuel Ogebe, who was the target of the Nigerian embassy referenced by the Chairman, submitted a letter to the State Department attaching the incriminating exhibit indicting the Nigerian embassy in Washington of attempting to subvert the US Congress by witness intimidation and retaliation.

In the letter he called for the revocation of the diplomatic immunity of the Nigerian diplomats involved in threatening his passport and their prosecution by the US government for violations of American law.



USA/Ecuador: New York Bar Trying to Block Donziger From Presenting Evidence of Chevron Fraud and Witness Bribery in Secret Licensing Hearing

November 30, 2018

Lawyers Dopico and Goldstein Seek Court Order to Deny Human Rights Lawyer Public Hearing Where He Can Challenge His Suspension

Lawyers from the New York bar grievance committee are seeking an extraordinary court order to block U.S. human rights attorney Steven Donziger from presenting explosive evidence of Chevron’s fraud and witness bribery that he says was relied on to illegally suspend his law license without a hearing after helping Ecuadorian Indigenous groups win a landmark $12 billion pollution judgment.

Earlier this week, New York bar staff attorneys Jorge Dopico and Naomi Goldstein obtained an order from a New York appellate judge staying Donziger’s two-day fact hearing which had been scheduled to begin Dec. 4 in Manhattan. Donziger, whose law license was suspended in July without a hearing, was going to present the evidence of Chevron’s fraud after a court-appointed referee issued a hugely important ruling last month allowing the attorney to challenge the 2014 pro-Chevron findings of federal judge Lewis A. Kaplan in a civil racketeering case.

The stay will allow a New York court time to determine whether it will overturn the bar referee’s procedural decision favoring Donziger in the middle of an ongoing attorney disciplinary proceeding – something that is virtually unprecedented in the history of New York, according to several attorneys in the state. “It appears to our team that the bar staff lawyers in New York are nervous about letting Steven expose the truth about Chevron’s fraud, which might embarrass Judge Kaplan and other judges to whom the staff attorneys must answer,” said Patricio Salazar, the Ecuadorian lawyer against Chevron and a colleague of Donziger.

The referee in the case, John Horan, had examined the Kaplan RICO trial and concluded there might be support for Donziger’s long-held contention he did not get a fair trial.  He also questioned whether Kaplan violated Donziger’s constitutional right to due process by denying him a jury of impartial fact finders even though he was effectively facing criminal charges, albeit in the context of a civil case with a relaxed evidentiary standard.

Long known as a pro-business judge who maintained undisclosed investments in Chevron during his trial, Kaplan effectively “created a criminal indictment” and tried Donziger for conspiracy, said Horan. “It is doubtful that is an indictment in the same terms had been brought by the United States Attorney, (Donziger) would have elected to have a trial by a single judge and would have waived his right to a trial by jury,” Horan wrote.

Donziger has categorically challenged each of the Kaplan findings, saying they are based primarily on false or decontextualized evidence and Kaplan’s stubborn refusal to consider the voluminous scientific evidence of Chevron’s environmental contamination in Ecuador.






https://www.eluniverso.com/noticias/2018/11/27/nota/7071576/replica-solicitada-chevron (ESPANOL)


Rob Tibbo arranged for the U.S. whistleblower, then the planet’s most-wanted man, to hide with three refugee families. Now they seem to be facing the consequences

As Rob Tibbo raced to the Hong Kong International Airport one day last November to catch his getaway flight, a nagging fear followed close behind.

Tibbo, a Canadian expatriate lawyer and respected officer of the local courts, had been in hiding from the police for a month and still worried he could be arrested at any moment.

But his taxi arrived at the airport without incident, and Tibbo was soon in safe hands: Pascal Paradis, a Montreal-based leader of the group Lawyers without Borders, and two Canadian diplomats who shadowed him through security, making sure he safely boarded the Vancouver-bound Air Canada jet.

First, though, he bid an emotional final farewell to several of his impoverished clients also waiting in the terminal, among them migrants who, along with Tibbo, had found themselves in the midst of a story that shook the world.

A year earlier, the National Post — along with the New York Times and Germany’s Handelsblatt — had revealed that the lawyer had arranged for American spy-agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, at the time the planet’s most-wanted man after leaking details of U.S. mass-surveillance programs, to hide in the Hong Kong homes of three refugee families before catching his own flight to Moscow.

Now they all seemed to be facing the consequences of that fateful act.

Tibbo himself faced escalating pressure from the authorities. The legal-aid organizations that funded the refugee cases choked off payments and questioned his professionalism, while Hong Kong’s legal regulator peppered the lawyer with disciplinary charges after a spotless 15-year career in the territory.

When it seemed the police, too, were on his trail, Tibbo decided he had to leave.

“I’m pretty much out of money. My wife and I are pretty much living in poverty,” he told the Post. “The bottom line is my career in Hong Kong is over.”




Director Oliver Stone writes to Trudeau, urges him to admit Snowden’s Hong Kong helpers as refugees

Meet the Canadian who hid Edward Snowden: Robert Tibbo helped fugitive disappear in slums of Hong Kong




Man who sheltered whistleblower Snowden needs Canada’s help immediately: lawyer

http://www.nationalmagazine.ca/Articles/November/Snowden-s-Canadian-lawyer.aspx (FRANCAIS)

https://ici.radio-canada.ca/nouvelle/1138586/tibbo-robert-hong-kong-avocat-canada-refugie-edward-snowden (FRANCAIS)

https://www.courrierinternational.com/article/lavocat-canadien-qui-defendu-snowden-sest-refugie-en-france?utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook&Echobox=1543510592&fbclid=IwAR1pQnHvQJZO4pYoM3nDJCpazjSklkFQNj0apyWhWaDp5wNPOXpYrskLGUA (FRANCAIS)

https://derstandard.at/2000092508702/Snowdens-Anwalt-Robert-Tibbo-geraet-immer-mehr-unter-Druck (DEUTSCH)

https://cn.nytimes.com/world/20181129/edward-snowden-lawyer-hong-kong/zh-hant/ (MANDARIN)

USA/Ecuador: Lawyer who battled Chevron may get chance to defend himself

November 16, 2018

Image result for steven donziger

A New York attorney who won a landmark oil pollution judgment against Chevron in Ecuador’s court system only to have his law license suspended at home for malpractice never got a fair hearing and should be allowed to defend himself against disbarment, a legal referee has ruled.

The decision involves Steven Donziger, who led a legal team representing Ecuadoreans trying to get Chevron to pay for environmental damage caused to a rainforest by Texaco during its operation of an oil consortium from 1972 to 1990.

The legal campaign begun in 1993 was ultimately successful in Ecuador. A court there ordered Chevron to pay $9.5 billion. But in 2014, a judge in New York, U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, invalidated the Ecuador judgment, deeming it was obtained through legal malpractice.

In July, a New York State appeals court suspended Donziger without a hearing based on Kaplan’s ruling that the attorney’s Ecuador team submitted bogus evidence, ghostwrote a court-appointed expert’s report and promised the judge who ultimately ruled a $500,000 bribe.

Donziger fought those findings, saying they were built on fraudulent testimony obtained through Chevron’s bribing of witnesses.

A court-appointed referee, John R. Horan, ruled on Nov. 8 that Donziger deserves a hearing to defend himself. He also questioned whether Kaplan violated Donziger’s constitutional right to due process.

Kaplan effectively “created a criminal indictment” and tried Donziger for conspiracy, Horan said.







https://www.eluniverso.com/noticias/2018/11/16/nota/7054437/eeuu-arbitro-falla-favor-abogado-antichevron (ESPANOL)

USA/Ecuador/Canada: Peter Foster: Corruption, Pink Floyd and Aboriginal rights walk into Banff’s ‘post-normal’ law conference

November 9, 2018

The conference seems to represent what might be described as ‘post-normal law.’ It is the law of taking sides

This weekend sees a conference in Banff that should be of interest to all those concerned about the rule of law, and the forces undermining it. Titled “Indigenous Solutions for Environmental Challenges,” the conference’s “context” is the US$8.6 billion (at last count) judgment in an Ecuadorean court against U.S. oil company Chevron. According to the conference’s website, the Chevron case will be used “to consider the critical role of judicial remedies for violations of the rights of indigenous and other affected peoples… both in Canada and beyond.”

With the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion on judicial hold, and capital evacuating the Canadian oil patch due to legislative uncertainties, the topic is timely. But if “hard cases make bad law,” then corrupt cases threaten very bad law indeed.

Two U.S. courts have determined that the Ecuadorean decision was the result of a fraud engineered by U.S. lawyer, Steve Donziger (who will appear at the conference). Donziger claims this is all a Chevron campaign to “vilify him” for innocent “errors in judgment.” Earlier this year, Donziger’s licences to practice law in the U.S. were suspended.

Conference organizer Kathleen Mahoney, a law professor at the University of Calgary, told me this week in an email that she denies the conference is about applying “pressure to bear on Chevron to come to the table,” but those are the words used more than a year ago in her letter to Donziger proposing the conference, and suggesting he support it (the letter is reprinted below). The letter, part of a contempt motion filed by Chevron against Donziger, redacted until recently, was last month ordered fully disclosed by a New York court. The court exhibit shows Donziger passed the letter to colleagues with the comment: “Please do not send around. This is potentially breakthrough stuff…. Kathleen is (former national chief of the Assembly of First Nations) Phil Fontaine’s wife and she is a major force in Canada as a human rights lawyer and activist.”

Peter Foster: Corruption, Pink Floyd and Aboriginal rights walk into Banff’s ‘post-normal’ law conference

LILLEY: Stink of corruption hangs over environmental conference