22 August 2023 Maryam Arvin, an Iranian lawyer and fervent defender of the rights of women who were victims of discrimination, died two months after her release from prison. She had been pursuing a doctorate in law since the age of 28, after obtaining her bachelor’s degree three years earlier. Her death was announced by the Kerman Lawyers’ Association on 7 February 2023, although she had been released on bail on 13 December 2022, along with her mother Tayyebeh Nazari. The causes were not specified by the Association. However, on 10 February 2023, the day of her burial, the office of the public and revolutionary prosecutor in Sirdjan declared that the victim had committed suicide. After the demonstrations that took place in Iran in September 2022, Maryam Arvin showed her support to the families of the demonstrators detained in the town of Sirjan, where she was a university professor and ran her practice. The Intelligence Police Department began targeting Maryam Arvin after an altercation with the judge of the Revolutionary Court, when she defended a 15-year-old orphan. As a result, Ms Arvin was accused of inciting and participating in demonstrations, without any supporting evidence. Abused, insulted and handcuffed […]
Senegal: Lawyers Juan Branco and Babacar Ndiaye involved in Ousmane Sonko’s defence team under investigation. 21 August 2023 Between Friday 4 August and Saturday 5 August, several of Ousmane Sonko’s lawyers were arrested. These arrests are linked to the public appearance of French lawyer Juan Branco at a press conference in Dakar on 30 July, after he had entered Senegal illegally. Juan Branco had been the subject of an international arrest warrant since 14 July for crimes and misdemeanours linked to the events that took place in Senegal in June. Juan Branco was arrested while attempting to leave Senegal and charged with attack, conspiracy, spreading false news and acts and manoeuvres likely to compromise public security or cause serious political disturbances, and was sent to prison in Dakar on Sunday. He was placed under judicial supervision on Monday 7 August before being deported from Senegal to France. Following Mr Juan Branco’s public appearance, Senegalese lawyer Babacar Ndiaye was also arrested on 4 August on the instructions of the Public Prosecutor on a charge of receiving stolen property. Mr Babacar Ndiaye was arrested at the Colobane police station, where he was carrying out his duties, before being handcuffed and transferred […]
Mexico: lawyer Oscar Zamudio Campos facing harassment and criminal proceedings for his professional activities 4 August 2023 Oscar Zamudio is a lawyer with more than 15 years’ experience in criminal litigation in Mexico, participating in the defence of complex legal and political cases. In 2021, Oscar Zamudio represented Carlos Treviño, former director of “Petróleos Mexicanos”, and uncovered acts of corruption committed by the Attorney General’s office and the federal judge before whom his client’s trial was to take place. The Observatory has received information that Oscar Zamudio is being investigated for the offence of abandoning his defence. The investigation was opened following his strategic decision, as a defence lawyer, to inform the judge that neither he nor his client would appear before him. According to him, the minimum conditions guaranteeing his client’s right to a fair trial had not been met. To sanction this, the judge considered that he had abandoned the defence, with the intention of leaving his client without legal representation. He also ordered the Public Prosecutor’s Office to open an investigation against lawyer Oscar Zamudio for the offence known in criminal law as “abandonment of the defence”. The Observatory has also been informed that the Attorney General’s […]
GUATEMALA: Joint statement of 29 organisations in support of Guatemalan lawyer Claudia González, condemning her detention and calling for her immediate release
5 September 2023 “On the morning of 28 August 2023, lawyer Claudia González was arrested, charged with the crime of abuse of authority. The arrest took place following a search of her home ordered by the Public Prosecutor’s Office, as part of the alleged investigation proceedings against her.” Holder of the Lawyers for Lawyers 2023 prize, Claudia González has been the subject of online harassment on social networks and threats of legal action. Claudia González Orellana, former representative of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CIGIC), acted as legal advisor to nine of her former colleagues on the Commission, which allegedly led to her persecution and recent arrest. In view of the critical situation facing the lawyer Claudia González Orellana, the International Observatory for Lawyers in Danger and Lawyers for Lawyers supported by 27 other organisations, have signed a joint statement urging the Guatemalan authorities to: “1. Immediately and unconditionally release lawyer Claudia González. 2. Take all necessary measures to guarantee the rights to due process, legal defence and access to justice in the case of Claudia González. 3. Guarantee that all lawyers in Guatemala are able to carry out their legitimate professional activities without fear of reprisals […]
OIAD takes action to mark the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance
According to article 2 of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, the concept of “enforced disappearance” is defined as “the arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the State or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which place such a person outside the protection of the law“. In response to its concern about the rise in cases of enforced disappearance, the United Nations General Assembly, in its resolution A/RES/65/209, chose to proclaim 30 August as the International Day for the Victims of Enforced Disappearance, in view of the customary celebration of the event by many countries around the world on that date. For civil society actors, 30 August marks a day of awareness-raising on the subject of enforced disappearances, which remain a recurrent practice in certain States such as China. Faced with this situation, the International Observatory for Lawyers in Danger has joined other non-governmental organisations in a joint press release to denounce this practice, […]
EGYPT: Release of Egyptian lawyer Mohamed EL-Baqer by “presidential pardon”
Mohamed El-Baqer, human rights lawyer and founder of the Adalah Centre for Rights and Freedoms, was released on Thursday 20 July following a “presidential pardon” from President Al-Sisi. After 4 years and 10 months in the high-security Tora 2 and Badr 1 prisons, where he was subject to numerous abuses, the lawyer was released after being informed that he had benefited from a “presidential pardon” a year ahead of Egypt’s general elections. Mr El-Baqer’s arrest followed his work defending activist and fervent opponent of the regime Alaa Abdel Fattah, who was also being held on charges of “disseminating false information” and “associating with a terrorist organisation”. The United Nations, the European Union, the Observatory and numerous NGOs have been calling for Mohamed El Baqer’s release for several years. His work received international recognition when the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) awarded him its prestigious Human Rights Award in 2020 for “honouring the legal profession by upholding the highest values of professional and personal conduct”. In 2021, the International Observatory for Lawyers in Danger echoed this situation by sending a communication to 12 countries and to the European Union embassy in Egypt, warning of the serious lack […]
OIAD takes action to promote International Criminal Justice Day
Interview with Clara GERARD-RODRIGUEZ, lawyer at FTMS Avocats, on the list of deputy counsel qualified to practice before the International Criminal Court On the occasion of the International Criminal Justice Day, OIAD had the opportunity to interview Clara Gérard-Rodriguez, associate lawyer at FTMS Avocats, consultant for Global Rights Compliance and on the list of deputy counsel of the International Criminal Court. Answering our questions, Ms. Gérard-Rodriguez shed light on the practice and implementation of international criminal justice, which is sometimes faced with complex challenges. Portrait of Clara Gérard-Rodriguez After graduating with a master’s degree in international public law in Amsterdam, Clara Gérard-Rodriguez began her career at the ICC, where she worked for 4 years as a legal officer, first as part of a defense team (in the case of The Prosecutor v. William Samoei Ruto and Joshua Arap Sang), then as part of the victims’ representation team in the Al Mahdi case, which was about the destruction of the Timbuktu mausoleums. At the end of this trial, Clara left the ICC to return to France. She joined the Paris Bar in 2019. Clara is now an associate at FTMS Avocats and advises on general criminal and business law cases. Clara […]
CHINA : The OIAD signs ‘709 Crackdown 2.0’ joint statement
‘709 Crackdown 2.0’ : Global call against China’s renewed crackdown on human rights lawyers Today, we mark China Human Rights Lawyers Day, in remembrance of the Chinese government’s roundup of over 300 human rights lawyers and legal assistants in the days following July 9, 2015, in what is known as the ‘709 crackdown’. UN experts are dismayed that ‘the profession of human rights lawyer has been effectively criminalised in China.’ Human rights lawyers are a cornerstone of China’s human rights movement. From Uyghurs, Tibetans and Hong Kongers, to religious minorities, LGBTQI and feminist advocates, journalists, and political dissidents: human rights lawyers defend the full spectrum of civil society. They accompany and empower the most vulnerable against land evictions, discrimination, health scandals, or extra-legal detention. They embody the promise of rule of law and hold the government accountable to its commitments under China’s constitution, laws, and the international human rights treaties it has ratified. They ensure that no one is left behind. Today, we call for urgent global attention to the Chinese government’s new wave of repression against human rights lawyers unfolding over the past three months. Read the full statement in english and chinese : […]
Contact the observatory
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.