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 […]
Honduras: David Castillo found guilty of masterminding Berta Cáceres’ murder
David Castillo, one of the directors of the Honduran electricity company DESA, was found guilty on Monday 5 July of being the mastermind of the murder of environmentalist leader Berta Cáceres. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for 3 August, when the sentence will be announced. Berta’s family and legal representatives have described the ruling as “a historic step in the fight against impunity for crimes committed against human rights defenders”, as it is the first time that the director of one of the companies involved in this type of crime has been convicted of being the mastermind. The judges based their decision on the information gathered from the mobile devices, which allowed them to establish the plan to assassinate Cáceres and put an end to the opposition she represented to the hydroelectric construction project on the Gualcarque River. In addition, the legal team stressed that the evidence gathered in this process would be used to demonstrate the involvement of more powerful actors such as the Atala Zablah family, owners of the company who has important political connections. The prosecutor’s office has assured that it is working on this investigation. The International Observatory for Lawyers in Danger has been participating since […]
COLOMBIA: Constitutional Court orders the transfer of the Dilan Cruz case to Ordinary Jurisdiction
The Colombian Constitutional Court issued on 17 June 2021 a statement on the matter of jurisdiction review in the Dilan Cruz case. The OIAD submitted an Amicus Curiae brief to the Court on this matter. The Dilan Cruz case refers to the killing of the young man by a member of the National Police during the 2019 National Strike demonstrations in Colombia. So far, the case has been assigned to the Military Criminal Jurisdiction. However, the Constitutional Court, in line with the OIAD Amicus Curiae, reiterated that the natural judge is a guarantee of due process for both the accused and the victims. Likewise, it indicated that, in the specific area of criminal law, the natural jurisdiction is the ordinary one. In this regard, he recalled that the competence of other jurisdictions, and in particular the Military Criminal Justice system, is restricted and exceptional. In the specific case, the Court ruled that the criminal proceedings against the captain of the National Police for the death of Dilan Cruz should be transferred to the Ordinary Jurisdiction, thus protecting the fundamental rights of the victims to due process and to have an effective judicial remedy. Read HERE the statement of the Constitutional […]
THE PHILIPPINES: ATTACKS AGAINST LAWYERS FURTHER ESCALATING
24th June 2021 OIAD together with 29 organisations sign a joint statement on the continuing attacks against lawyers in the Philippines. Attacks against lawyers in the Philippines continue to take place and killings have reached a record high since the start of President Duterte’s administration five years ago. Through the joint statement we express our deep concern over the attacks and the oppressive working environment lawyers still face in the Philippines. We call again on the Duterte Government to adequately protect the safety and independence of lawyers and end the culture of impunity in which these attacks occur. Read the full statement HERE.
COLOMBIA: The OIAD file an Amicus Curiae brief in the “Dilan Cruz Case”
The International Observatory of Lawyers in Danger (OIAD) submits an Amicus Curiae brief to the Constitutional Court of Colombia in the “Dilan Cruz Case”. The Dilan Cruz case refers to the killing of the young man by a member of the National Police, during the 2019 National Strike demonstrations in Colombia. The lawyer Fernando Rodríguez Kekhan is a member of the legal team of the committee in solidarity with political prisoners in Colombia, and represents the interests of the family of the young Dilan Cruz. The presentation of the amicus curiae responds to the actions of the OIAD in accompanying Fernando Rodríguez Kekhan, in the context of risk in which he carries out his work as a lawyer. The amicus provides a legal analysis on the importance of serious human rights violations such as the present one not being studied within the Military Criminal Jurisdiction. This special jurisdiction restrain the respect of due process and victims’ rights. Specifically, the Colombian Constitutional Court is asked to recognise the competence of the ordinary jurisdiction in the Dilan Cruz case. In such a way that the lawyer can exercise the guarantees of participation in accordance with due process, without risks, threats […]
MEXICO: The OIAD files an Amicus Curiae brief in the “Digna Ochoa” case
May 24th, 2021 The International Observatory of Endangered Lawyers (OIAD) and the Spanish Lawyers Foundation have submitted an Amicus Curiae brief to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (I/A Court H.R) in the case “Family of Digna Ochoa y Placido v. Mexico”. Digna Ochoa y Plácido was a Mexican human rights lawyer who died violently on 19 October 2001 after having been the target of threats for years for reasons associated with her professional work. The elements of analysis and context offered to the I/A Court H.R through the amicus brief lead to the conclusion that the ideal conditions did not exist to ensure the protection of Digna Ochoa y Plácido, regarding the threats and the situation of risk that arose as a consequence of them. In other words, the public authorities failed in their duty to guarantee the victim’s protection, which includes investigating the threats received during the previous years. Although the lawyer had been granted protective measures by the Court, these measures were withdrawn two months before her murder on 19 October 2001. The amicus is mainly based on the findings described in the Report of the Spanish Lawyers Fondation “Impunity and Defencelessness: Case of Fernández Ortega […]
Press release of the OIAD
The Consiglio Nazionale Forense (Italy), with lawyer Francesco Caia, assumes the Presidency of the International Observatory for Lawyers in Danger (OIAD) for this year. 5 May 2021 The President Victoria Ortega Benito handed over of the Presidency at the end of the General Assembly held on April 29, 2021 in accordance with the statute, which provides for the annual rotation of the Presidency among the founding members of the Observatory (Conseil National des Barreaux (France), Conseil National Forense (Italy), Consejo General de la Abogacía Española (Spain), Ordre des Avocats de Paris. The Geneva Bar Association and the Milan Bar Association are elected members of the OIAD Board. Five years have passed since the foundation of the OIAD, which main aim is to support lawyers all over the world who are threatened and persecuted by arbitrary arrests and convictions only because they are guilty of faithfully exercising the defensive mandate, in the exclusive interest of the client, without yielding to the pressures of governments and authoritarian regimes. Many are physically attacked and injured or even pay with their lives for their commitment. Currently, more than forty bar associations, including non-Europeans, are members of the OIAD. «I thank the President Ortega, all […]
Honduras: The trial of Roberto David Castillo Mejía, the instigator of Berta Cáceres’ assassination
The trial of Roberto David Castillo Mejía in the Berta Cáceres case began on April 6, 2021. The Expert Observation Mission (in which the International Observatory of Endangered Lawyers (OIAD) took part) has monitored the entire case and is currently supervising the trial. The president of the OIAD and of the General Council of Spanish Lawyers, Victoria Ortega, has dedicated a few words of support to the legal team of the victims in the trial and has wished that the process takes place with all the legal guarantees. Berta Isabel Cáceres Flores, the general coordinator of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organisations of Honduras (COPINH), was assassinated on March 2, 2016 for her active opposition to the “Agua Zarca”. The latter is an hydroelectric project built by the DESA company on the territory of the Lenca indigenous in southwestern Honduras. L’OIAD was initially involved in the case though its’ support to Víctor Fernández (a threatened lawyer), COPINH’s legal representative who took on the representation in court of the leader’s family and to COPINH as a victim of Berta Cáceres’ assassination. In 2018, seven people were sentenced as co-authors in the murder of Berta Cáceres. The OIAD carried out […]
Press release: Expert mission to Observe Trial for Murder of Berta Cáceres
Honduras: The trial for the intellectual authorship of the murder of Berta Cáceres Honduras begins The Expert Observation Mission in which the International Qualified Observation Mission in which the International Observatory of Lawyers in Danger (OIAD) participates, has issued a press release on the beginning of the trial for the murder of Berta Cáceres: Honduras: Expert mission to Observe Trial for Murder of Berta Cáceres The Americas/Europe April 6, 2021 In light of the upcoming trial of the Berta Cáceres Case, the Expert Observation Mission calls on the State of Honduras to guarantee the application of international standards and national norms that lead to truth, comprehensive justice and reparations in a case of global interest. Berta Isabel Cáceres Flores, General Coordinator of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), was assassinated on March 2, 2016. In addition to the defense of territory, she worked to assert the cultural rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as women’s rights. As a result of her struggle and advocacy work, Berta Cáceres was the victim of numerous threats and campaigns of stigmatization, harassment and criminalization, which led the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to grant her precautionary measures during […]
TURKEY: Postcards Solidarity Operation for 10 detained lawyers
Take action! 5th April, on the International lawyer’s day in Turkey, the International Observatory of Lawyers in Danger launches a fraternity card operation, intended for 10 lawyers currently in jail, in order to demonstrate the support from the international community of lawyers. The OIAD aims to support and and invite the international community to visibilize the situation of lawyers in Turkey. The targeted lawyers are: Selcuk Kozagacli Barkin Timtik Behic Asci Oya Arslan Yaprak Türkmen Süleyman Gökten Özgür Yilmaz Engin Gökoglu Aycan Cicek Aytac Ünsal. Click on the name of each lawyer to access to the corresponding postcard that you may print, share and publish freely. These postcards must mandatorily be written in Turkish language. If not, they will not be transmitted to their recipient. You may of course sign your postcards. The content is the following: Dear (Name of the lawyer recipient), As the International Observatory of Lawyers in Danger, we wish to emphasise that you constantly remain in our thoughts. Be assured of our warmest feelings and of our solidarity. The OIAD encourages you to take action on this solidarity operation. A warm thank you for your support!
Legal Office of Indigenous Peoples and Chomij’a Indigenous Women Lawyers’ Association
GUATEMALA: The Legal Office of Indigenous Peoples and the Chomij’a Indigenous Women Lawyers’ Association condemns the act of intimidation following the burglary that occurred at their offices. 31 March 2021 During the weekend of 20-21 March, the offices of the Legal Office of Indigenous Peoples and the Chomij’a Indigenous Women Lawyers’ Association were violently broken into. The Legal office of Indigenous Peoples has renowned experience in the support of various communities and human rights defenders, in particular defenders of the natives’ lives and territories. The office is currently involved in legal procedures related to the recovery of ancestral lands and the defence of human rights defenders. Regarding the Chomij’a Indigenous Women Lawyers’ Association, it includes professionals specialised in the legal defence of rights, in particular those of indigenous women and of communities. On 22 March, in the morning, the attack was reported by one of the organisation’s workers who had arrived and discovered the destruction and lack of equipment in the offices. At 9 a.m., the National Civil Police (PNC) and the Public Prosecutor’s Office arrived to start the investigation. Approximately 8 computers were stolen, as well as the server that contains the security camera recordings of the premises and […]
Documents of interest: Informational Brochure Report DEL Foundation: Azerbaijan
Webinar: Justice Under Siege
A view from human rights to the situation of lawyers and judiciaries in Guatemala.
Webinar: Human Rights and Legal Mechanisms in Colombia
A special focus on the situation of the legal profession.
Invitation to the Celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the United Nations
Invitation to the Celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.
Turkey: Arrest of 60 people
Arrest of 60 people including 48 lawyers, 7 student lawyers, 3 judges, 1 court auditor and a lawyer.
Lawyers in Venezuela at risk
OIAD wants to express its concern about the legal profession in Venezuela.
The OIAD nominates American lawyer Steven Donziger.
The OIAD nominates American lawyer Steven Donziger for the International Bar Association Human Rights Award.
OIAD takes parts in a fact finding mission in Turkey
The objective is to examine and document violations of the right to a fair trial.
The OIAD nominates Pakistani lawyer Saïf ul-Malook
The OIAD nominates Pakistani lawyer Saïf ul-Malook for the American Bar Association Human Rights Award.
Nominated for the CCBE 2020 Human Rights Award
Egyptians lawyers’ duo nominated for the CCBE 2020 Human Rights Award.
Public announcement on the deterioration of the situation of lawyers in Turkey
Public announcement on the deterioration of the situation of lawyers in Turkey.
The Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh nominated
The Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh nominated for the Freedom Prize Let’s vote for her!
Turkey: Call for release of lawyers Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal
Call for release of lawyers Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal, on hunger strike since 5 April.
Documents of interest: Informational Brochure Mobilisation Kit Petition DEL Coalition Report DEL Coalition: Pakistán (EN)
Documents of interest: Informational Brochure Report DEL Coalition: Turkey
Documents of interest: Informational Brochure (FR) Report DEL Coalition
Documents of interest: Petition DEL Coalition Report DEL Coalition: China
Documents of interest: Briefing on the situation Report DEL Coalition: Honduras