Haiti: Robinson Pierre-Louis, lawyer and general secretary of the Federation of Haitian Bars, has been arrested
Iran: The iranian lawyer Mohammad Ali Dadkhah has been arrested and sent to prison to serve a sentence that was handed down more than ten years ago
COLOMBIA:Human rights lawyer Andrea Torres Bautista, a has been victim of kidnapping, serious threats and gender-based violence, as well as the theft of sensitive information in a cyber attack 4 July 2022 Andrea Torres Bautista is a human rights lawyer, legal coordinator and deputy director of the Nydia Erika Bautista Foundation (FNEB). FNEB is an organisation composed mainly of women relatives of victims, and has been a major actor in the legal representation, visibility and support for victims of enforced disappearance, sexual violence and police abuse in Colombia. Andrea Torres represents victims in different cases, both in the ordinary justice system and in the transitional justice system (JEP), in which the main defendants are members of the Colombian armed forces. The Observatory has received information about serious threats against lawyer Andrea Torres Bautista. On 21 May, the lawyer was kidnapped, physically assaulted and had all her belongings stolen. According to the lawyer, the events occurred while she and her husband were returning home by taxi. Exceptionally, the lawyer was not in the presence of her bodyguards from the National Protection Unit (UNP). During the attack, carried out by four men, the human rights defender and her husband were physically and […]
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AFGHANISTAN: Press release of the Observatory
CONSEQUENCES FOR THE LEGAL PROFESSION ONE YEAR AFTER THE FALL OF KABUL The precipitous fall of Kabul to the Taliban on 15 August 2021 and the re-establishment of the Taliban government put an end to 20 years of social development and rule of law building. This has resulted in the flight of thousands of people from Afghanistan, including many lawyers, judges and prosecutors. Many of them are now in Pakistan, Iran or the United Arab Emirates waiting to find a host country. Their living conditions are particularly difficult and the waiting times for their visa applications to be processed are getting longer and longer. One of the first decisions of the new Taliban Ministry of Justice was to require all Afghan lawyers to obtain a licence issued by the Ministry in order to continue practising. On 23 November 2021, a group of armed Taliban took control of the Afghanistan Independent Bar Association (AIBA) on behalf of the government. This gave the Taliban access to the AIBA’s database, which includes detailed personal information on lawyers’ families and clients, putting these lawyers at serious risk of retaliation. The International Observatory for Lawyers in Danger (OIAD for its French acronym) is launching a […]
The Observatory reaffirms its commitment to lawyers at risk at the General Assembly in Rome on 20 May 2022
After two years of working remotely, on 20 May 2022 the International Observatory for Lawyers at Risk finally convened in Rome for its annual General Assembly. Members of the Observatory were able to participate in person or online in the meeting as well as in an open conference organised the day before to make the work of the OIAD more visible. Conference on the role of lawyers in building the rule of law On Thursday 19 May, the conference on the role of lawyers in the construction of the rule of law was held. Maria Masi, President of the Consiglio Nationale Forense, welcomed the participants and praised the work of the Observatory. Francesco Caia, President of the International Observatory for Lawyers in Danger, introduced the conference by stating that “The best way to exert effective pressure on governments and authorities is to multiply debates and meetings, involving citizens; to publicise the facts and circumstances that lead to the erosion of the rule of law in many countries of the world, telling the stories, the intimidation, the unjust arrests, the arbitrary convictions and, unfortunately, in the most serious cases, the violence and murders of lawyers. “ David Ermini, vice-president of […]
CONFERENCE [May 19, 2022]: The role of lawyers in the promotion of the rule of law: international institutions to guarantee and defend the practice of lawyers
On May 19, 2022, the Observatory organizes an online and in person conference from 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm (CET)
COLOMBIA: [Video] The Observatory supports Colectivo de Abogados José Alvear Restrepo
The International Observatory for Lawyers in Danger supports the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective in the context of the Cajar v. Colombian State hearings before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. This is the first case of illegal intelligence against human rights lawyers to reach the IACHR. Alfredo Irujo, member of the executive committee of the Observatory, has denounced on behalf of the Observatory, the impunity for acts that violate the privacy and professional secrecy of CAJAR and all lawyers in Colombia. It also affirms that the hearings before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights on 12 and 13 May should make it possible to measure the impact of these threats to the work and life of human rights defenders in Colombia, as well as to point the way towards the comprehensive protection of the work and of human rights defenders. Finally, it encourages the Colombian state to provide concrete and transparent information on the identification of the victims of illegal eavesdropping activities. In such a way that they can exercise their right of access to justice and effective measures are taken so that these serious human rights violations are not repeated and are clarified.
TURKEY: Lawyer Can Atalay and six other defendants were sentenced to 18 years in prison, without any evidence
Osman Kavala, publisher, sponsor and human rights defender, who has been arbitrarily imprisoned for the past four and a half years, has been sentenced to life imprisonment. Lawyer Can Atalay and six other defendants were sentenced to 18 years in prison, without any evidence. Osman Kavala was, on 25 April 2022, convicted by the 13th Istanbul Assize Court of “attempting to overthrow the government” under Article 312/1 of the Turkish Penal Code in the Gezi Park trial. Nearly 5 million people participated in the peaceful Gezi Park protests across the country in 2013, marking the beginning of the authoritarian and repressive drift of the Turkish authorities in major Turkish cities. Lawyer Can Atalay, as well as the architect Mücella Yapıcı, the producer Çiğdem Mater, the Bogazici University Science Po director Hakan Altınay, the documentary film director Mine Özerden, the architect Tayfun Kahraman, and the professor Yiğit Ali Ekmekçi, were sentenced to 18 years in prison by the same court, on political grounds. This verdict not only contradicts the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights, which condemned Turkey for violating Osman Kavala’s right to freedom, imprisoned “with the aim of silencing him”, but also exposes once again the lack […]
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Procedure to evaluate cases.
When the observatory is informed of the situation of a lawyer at risk, it proceeds to verify the information it receives and to evaluate the context surrounding the case.
The Observatory’s team verifies the nature of the case that has been reported to check whether it falls under its sphere of competence/mandate and attempts to ascertain the veracity of the allegations received.
The Observatory has consolidated an extensive network of contacts with international and regional bodies, civil society organizations, diplomatic representations and bar associations. This network enables it to gather information pertinent to the lawyers’ general situation and that of specific cases.
The Observatory attempts to establish contact with the lawyer in order to understand his or her needs and circumstances in order to organize the appropriate kind of support that can effectively respond to the defense and protection strategy adopted.
Having completed the process of verification and information gathering, the case Evaluation Group performs an overall assessment of the situation, determines the degree of severity of the case, and issues recommendations on the type of action to be taken to procure counsel and effective support.
The verification and assessment process is performed within a limited amount of time in order to address the grave situations requiring urgent action.
Once the Evaluation Group has presented its recommendations, the Observatory proceeds to take action in accordance with these recommendations and in coordination with the lawyer in question and his or her surroundings.
No action is ever taken without the express consent of the lawyer in question.
WHAT IS THE OBSERVATORY FOR ?
Established in 2010 in the framework of the EU funded project “Lawyers serving lawyers”, the Observatory was re-established in 2015.
The Observatory’s basic aim is to uphold the right to practice law freely and totally independently, and to denounce situations where the right to legal counsel is at risk.
The observatory’s work covers warnings, support in the field and training.