Chawki Tabib, lawyer at the Tunis Bar, former President of the Tunis Bar Association and President of the National Authority for the Fight against Corruption, placed under house arrest.
Hundreds of lawyers are killed and imprisoned every year.
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Turkey: Fact-finding mission from 15 to 20 September 2021 : 18th hearing of the trial of lawyers Selçuk Kozağaçlı and Barkın Timtik, detained for 5 years
From 15 to 20 September 2021, an international delegation of lawyers representing several organisations, including the OIAD, returned to Turkey in the course of a fact-finding mission to visit imprisoned lawyers and attend their trials. This mission followed the last trial monitoring mission, carried out in April 2021, which concerned the OCH (Law Office for the People) and CHD I (Association of Progressive Lawyers) cases, involving lawyers who are members of human rights associations. The arrest and imprisonment of these lawyers has already been denounced by the OIAD and many international actors for violating the principles of a fair trial, and the rights of the defence. For more details, see the mission report recently published by the OIAD. On September 15, 2021, Jacopo Ograbek, mandated by the OIAD, attended the hearing of lawyers Selçuk Kozağaçlı and Barkın Timtik, who have been in pre-trial detention for 5 years for, among other things, “belonging to a terrorist organization”. They are being tried by the Istanbul Criminal Court n°18, after a review by the Turkish Court of Cassation which decided to overturn the appealed judgment. They are appearing in two cases that were irregularly joined following the decision of the Court of Cassation. […]
Belarus : OIAD denounces and condemns the harassment of lawyers
Alexander Lukashenko’s election for a sixth term in August 2020, after being in power for 26 years, has raised a wave of protests and demonstrations in Belarus. Indeed, his 80% election victory raised serious doubts as to the legality of the election. Consequently, the climate of tension that prevails since the election between the demonstrators and opponents of the regime on the one hand and government forces on the other has increasingly worsened lawyers’ working conditions. Lawyers who provide legal assistance to anti-government protesters are being threatened with arrest, license suspension and even disbarment. According to the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), since the summer of 2020, more than 23 lawyers have been disbarred. The justifications for these disbarments are often debated. For example, the Belarusian lawyer Mikhail Kirilyuk, who provided legal representation to a protester, was threatened and had his license revoked for making “rude comments” and “unacceptable public statements” about government officials. More recently, on 6 September 2021, the lawyer Maksim Znak was sentenced to 10 years in prison for “plotting to seize power by unconstitutional means”, “creating and leading an extremist group”, and “calling for actions undermining national security” on the media. He had been providing […]
THE PHILIPPINES: Official Launch of the Final Report on human rights by INVESTIGATE PH
OIAD informs that the official launch of the final report on human rights violations in the Philippines by the Independent International Commission of Investigation into Human Rights Violations in the Philippines (INVESTIGATE PH) will take place on 13 September 2021. CLICK HERE for details and to register.
AFGHANISTAN : OIAD members mobilise to assist lawyers and civilians at risk
The member Bars of the OIAD are deeply concerned about the collapse of the Afghan government and the takeover of power by the Taliban leadership. They stress that this situation implies an inexorable deterioration of rights and freedoms in Afghanistan. The risk of persecution is particularly serious for women and children, ethnic, religious and homosexual minorities as well as human rights defenders and Afghans who have come to the aid of foreign countries. The Paris Bar and the French National Bar Council, the Consiglio Nazionale de Forense and the Consejo General de la Abogacia Espanola immediately communicated their solidarity and mobilised to help not only Afghan lawyers but also to all civilians in danger who request it. The Paris Bar calls for the urgent evacuation of all civilians at risk to ensure their protection. For the President of the Paris Bar Olivier Cousi, “it is essential that foreign governments grant visas as a matter of urgency for civilians who might be targeted by the Taliban. (…) Suspending all deportations to Afghanistan is an absolute necessity and Afghans fleeing their country must be given real opportunities to obtain asylum”. The lawyers of the Conseil National des Barreaux recall that France […]
Pegasus Project: human rights lawyers among those targeted in the large-scale espionage attack
A massive data breach reveals that the Pegasus spyware, designed by the Israeli company NSO Group, has been used by governments to surveil lawyers, journalists, human rights activists and politicians around the world. The leak of a database, created since 2016, with more than 50,000 phone numbers, suggests that these professionals and activists were selected to be tapped through the Pegasus spyware. NSO Group’s creation, once installed on the victim’s phone, allows the attacker to access all the phone’s activity, as well as record it. For its part, the company insists that Pegasus is only intended for the prosecution of terrorists and criminals. However, it is alarming that the tool has been sold to some of the countries with the highest number of international complaints of human rights violations and that the profiles of those selected as surveillance targets are mostly lawyers, journalists, human rights activists and government opponents. These actions are particularly serious as they are attacks against operators who work for the defence of human rights in their respective professions. The OIAD particularly regrets the number of lawyers targeted in the leaked data, including London-based lawyer Rodney Dixon, who represents high-profile human rights cases. In addition, enquiries also […]
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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.