Haldane Society condemns prosecution of Indian anti-rape campaigners

The Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers condemns the treatment of anti-rape activists in Delhi by the police. Following the protest which took place on 19th December 2012 following the rape at Sheila Dixit's house, activists of AISA, RYA and AIPWA (including AIPWA Secretary Kavita Krishnan, AISA activists Anmol Rattan of DU and Om Prasad of JNU, and RYA activist Aslam Khan) have learned that a charge-sheet has been filed against them.

This stands in the background of a protest during which water cannons were used for the first time against anti-rape protesters and an action which led to the catalysation of thousands following calls for a woman's right to be "adventurous" and rejecting curbs on the freedom of women in the name of "protection". 

The South Asia Solidarity Group believes that given the long period of time between the protest and the laying of the charge-sheet, the decision to charge these activists is a political move meant to criminalise those fighting for women's freedom. 

The Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers supports the women in India who are fighting for sexual equality and an end to patriarchal social policies. The Haldane Society also condemns the criminalisation of political protest and calls for the charges against the activists in Delhi to be dropped. 

Haldane Society Supports the Extraordinary Session of the Russell Tribunal

Israel’s Crimes in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge – Extraordinary session of the Russell Tribunal

24-25 September – Brussels – Albert Hall, Brussel

A few weeks ago, members of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, outraged by Israel’s terrible assault on Gaza and its population, decided to start working on an extraordinary session of the Tribunal that will look into Israel’s Crimes (including War Crimes, Crimes against Humanity and the Crime of Genocide) during the still ongoing “Operation Protective Edge” as well as third States complicity.

During this session, that will take place on one day in Brussels on 24th September, our jury, so far composed of Michael Mansfield QC (President of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyer), John Dugard, Vandana Shiva, Christiane Hessel, Richard Falk, Ahdaf Soueif, Ken Loach, Paul Laverty, Roger Waters and Ronnie Kasrils will listen to testimonies from Paul Behrens, Desmond Travers, Pierre Barbancey (TBC), Max Blumenthal, Eran Efrati, Mads Gilbert, Mohammed Abou-Arab, Mads Gilbert, Paul Mason, Martin Lejeune, Mohammed Omer, Raji Sourani, Ashraf Mashharawi and Ivan Karakashian.

The jury will give its findings on 25th September in the morning during an international press conference at the International Press Center (IPC, Brussels). In the afternoon, the Jury will be received at the European parliament and address a message to the UN General Assembly for its reopening.

To register for the session (free), email your name and organisation to rtpgaza@gmail.com

Haldane Joins IADL in Condemnation of Israeli Attack on Gaza

The Haldane Society has endorsed the following statement by the International Association of Democratic Lawyers

IADL condemns in the strongest possible terms the bombing and attacking of civilians in the West Bank and Gaza and cals upon the international community to demand an end to this offensive and hold Israel accountable.

The International Association of Democratic Lawyers, a non-governmental organization with consultative status at ECOSOC and other UN agencies condemns as gross violations of international humanitarian law the bombing of civilians and civilian objects in Gaza; in particular the targeting of homes, hospitals, and civilian infrastructure. IADL also condemns the attacks on civilians in West Bank including the specific targeting of leaders of political parties and the resumption of massive home demolitions.  This is the third major bombing attack on Gaza since Israel removed its settlements there in 2005 and imposed the siege which has lasted many years.

IADL demands that the bombing be stopped and that the international community must hold Israel and its ally the United States accountable for these war crimes.

Ten years ago the International Court of Justice in its “Advisory Opinion on the “Legal Consequences of the Construction of the Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territories” declared the construction of the wall to be illegal under international law. The Court decided that Israel could not claim it had to build the wall in “self-defense” as the Palestinians constitute a people under Israeli occupation and are therefore not a "foreign" threat for the purposes of Article 51 of the UN Charter.  For the same legal reasons, Israel cannot claim that the bombing of Gaza is “self-defense” as the Palestinians have a right to resist illegal occupation.

IADL believes that these bombings of civilians are crimes against humanity as they are inhuman acts against a civilian population in connection with a crime against peace. Additionally they are illegal collective punishment and violate the laws of war regarding proportionality.

IADL calls upon the international community to hold Israel responsible for grave violations of international law.

Free Lecture and Film: The State of Unpeace in the Philippines

The Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, Campaign for Human Rights in the Philippines and Amnesty International invite you to hear Cristina Ellazar Palabay on "The State of Unpeace in the Philippines" together with a film on the struggle against Glencore-Xstrata's Tampakan mining project, potentially forcing 4,000 people from their homes. Other speakers include Anna Morris, Vice-Chair Haldane Society, and CHRP.

Monday 30th June 2014, 6.30pm - 8.30pm at the Conference Room, Amnesty International, Human Rights Action Centre, 17-25 New Inn Yard, London EC2A 3EA.

Cristina is Secretary General of Karapatan, the Alliance for the Advancement of Peoples' Rights in the Philippines: http://www.karapatan.org. Karapatan and Cristina were heavily involved in delivering relief for victims of the typhoon despite having to endure government violations of human rights, its counter-insurgency programme and government corruption.

KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense of people’s rights and civil liberties. It  firmly believes that...

  • Human rights should be respected in all its dimensions – civil and political, economic, social and cultural.
  • Basic rights to life, humane treatment, and due process should be preserved at all times.
  • The people has the right to be free from all forms of oppression and exploitation.
  • A repressive state which serves the interests of a few oppressors and exploiters are the worse violator of human rights.
  • The struggle of the Filipino people for national liberation and social emancipation provides the framework for human rights advocacy.
  • Human rights advocacy must be biased for the interest of the oppressed classes, sectors, and groups.
  • Human rights advocacy is integral to the struggle of the peasants for land, the workers for national industrialization and decent living and working conditions, the women against exploitation and discrimination, the indigenous peoples for self-determination, the poor for basic social services, and the youth for access to education and other venues for growth and development.

Free admission. No need to reserve in advance. More details: www.haldane.org and http://www.chrp.org.uk/.

CHD lawyers released from custody in Turkey

The Haldane Society of Sociialist Lawyers welcomes the release, on 21 March 2014, of lawyers in Turkey, members of our sister organisation CHD, after 14 months of detention facing unjust charges. We reproduce below the speech of their President, our comrade, Selcuk Kozagacli.

 

Slogans: "The revolutionary lawyers are our honor", "The CHD did not remain silent, it won't remain silent".

 

Selcuk Kozagacli: "Thanks, thanks for all. In these 14 months we never felt alone, not even for a moment. We were so glad, that there were so many people, such a big support. We couldn't imagine. What a big family we are, what a big solidarity.

We didn't recognize the prison sentence at all. For us, this was neither imprisonment and nor did we demand our release. We didn't recognize at all, that it was a court, that put us in jail. And we didn't even accept that the decision was an imprisonment. We never asked for release.

As absurd the decision was, which they called imprisonment, as absurd was the decision they called release. There's no seriosity at all.

It has nothing to do with justice, right or law to release a part of the prisoners, while there are still so many prisoners, so many victimized people, so many revolutionary and political prisoners inside.

Don't think, that I say this to speak bad about those, who released us...

We don't believe that we were charged and that we remained in prison.

We were kidnapped by our enemies and locked into this building (shows to the prison complex behind him) by armed force. And now we have found a way out - thanks to our friend, thanks to our comrades, thanks to all, who had supported us - we went in front of that door.

We'll see, how it will develop. Nobody from us could be intimidated, we didn't fear at all, we bounced back, weren't sad at all. We're fine. We will now continue from an even advanced point. Again, thanks a lot. We once again embrace all of you."

 

Slogans: "Down with fascism, long live our struggle"

 

Invitation to Cuban Five meeting on 26 February

This is an open invitation to attend a joint Haldane Society/Cuba Solidarity Campaign meeting regarding the (Miami) Cuban 5, on 26 February 2014 at 6.30pm at Garden Court Chambers 57-60 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, WC2A 3LJ. 

The meeting will focus on the cases of five Cuban nationals arrested in Miami in 1998 while attempting to stop terrorist attacks against the Cuban people.  The Five anti-terrorists were illegally held in solidarity confinement for 17 months, convicted following an unfair trial and sentenced to terms of between 15 years to double life. The campaign for justice for the Five is gaining international prominence and raises important issues relating to the rights of the Miami (or Cuban) 5 as well as the rights of Cuba to national self defence,

Ways of Showing Support

The campaign has launched a new website which provides supporters with different ways to help the Five: www.voicesforthefive.com/
  • Send a message of support to the Five alongside over 3500 other 'voices for the 5' and encourage others to do so by clicking here 
  • Make a donation by clicking here.  All proceeds will be used to help finance the Commission of Inquiry and the campaign to Free the Five.

International Commission of Inquiry 

The evening at Garden Court Chambers on 26 February 2014 is a precursor to a two day International Commission of Inquiry into the Case of the Cuban Five, which will take place on 7th and 8th March 2014, at the Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1PL.

The Commission will hear testimony from around 20 key witnesses including US defence attorney Martin Garbus,' the world's finest trial lawyer',  former US attorney general Ramsey Clark,  representatives from international human rights organisation Amnesty International, and from Miami Five family members including wives of the Five, Olga Salanueva and Elizabeth Palmeiro.

International Legal Community 

The Commission will be presided over by distinguished international jurors including the former Chief Justice of India Yogesh Kumar Sabharwal,  Zakeria  Mohammed Yacoob former Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, Philippe Texier, former Chair of the Supreme Court of France.

There will be testimony from specialists on the range of measures taken to defend Cuba against the threat of terrorist attacks, as well as testimony from Cuban and international victims of US based terrorism.

Rene Gonzalez 

René González, the first and only member of the Miami Five to have been released after completing his 15 year sentence in the United States, has announced that he will also come to London to give evidence to the International Commission of Inquiry on 7th and 8th March 2014.

He will be joined by family members, victims of terrorism against Cuba, lawyers, politicians and campaigners from Cuba and across the world including Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize winning author of the Color Purple. Ricardo Alarcon, the former President of the Cuban parliament and representative to the UN for many years is another special guest.

International Solidarity 

The International Commission is the major event of the campaigning organisation Voices for the Five which has brought together hundreds of international celebrities including John Le Carré, Emma Thompson, Danny Glover, Lord Rowan Williams, Martin Sheen, Noam Chomsky, Günter Grass, Peter Capaldi and Dame Vivienne Westwood. They have been joined by thousands who have posted messages of support to the web based campaigning site.

For a full list of international endorsers, please see http://www.voicesforthefive.com/endorsers/

Cultural Events 

A number of associated events will take place including a major international concert at the Barbican Hall in London featuring acclaimed musicians and stars of the Buena Vista Social Club - Eliades Ochoa and Omara Portuondo -   alongside other international performers and guests, as well as associated screenings and exhibitions.

Tickets 

Public tickets are available for each day (£10 per day) of the Commission and demand is expected to be high so please book as soon as possible.
  • To buy tickets click here
  • For further details about the Commission proceedings click here
  • For details about Accommodation and Transport options in London click here
  • For further details click here to contact Voices for the Five 

Day of the Endangered Lawyer 2014

The “Day of the Endangered Lawyer” is a joint initiative of European Democratic Lawyers (AED-EDL, www.aed-edl.net), the European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights (ELDH, www.eldh.eu) and the European Bar Human Rights Institute (IDHAE, www.idhae.org), who together represent lawyers all over Europe.

To mark the third "Day of the Endangered Lawyer", Rommel Durán Castellanos, Colombian Human Rights Lawyer and member of the Colombian Association of Human Rights Lawyers (Acadehum), the 'Pueblos' Legal Team, and the Committee for Solidarity with Political Prisoners, will speak in London on the serious risk situation for lawyers in Colombia, and the role that the international legal community can play in this situation. 

Following Mr Duran's presentation, there will be a short panel discussion with Professor Bill Bowring, President of European Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights, and Carlos Orjuela, Haldane Society, (Further speakers to be announced)

The event will be chaired by Professor Sara Chandler, Chair of the Law Society Human Rights Committee and of the Colombian Caravana UK Lawyers' Group.

To finish the event, we will show a new documentary entitled "Gotas que agrietan la Roca", about the José Alvéar Restrepo Lawyers' Collective (Cajar).

Friday, 24 January 201

6.30-8.30pm

The Seminar Room

Garden Court Chambers, 57-60 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3LJ

Rommel Durán is a human rights lawyer who tirelessly works to achieve justice in human and environmental rights cases in Colombia. Mr. Durán represents rural communities in Colombia in cases of land restitution, including the Pitalito Community in the Department of César. He is also involved in trying to protect fragile ecosystems from being destroyed by indiscriminate mining projects. Because of this work, he and his colleagues have been repreatedly threatened and attacked. 

This event in London is co-organised by European Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights (ELDH), the Haldane Society, the Colombian Caravana UK Lawyers' Group and Justice for Colombia, and is hosted by Garden Court Chambers. 

RSVP: colombian.caravana@gmail.com to secure your place at this important event

Drop the charges against revolutionary activists in Egypt: Defend the right to protest

We condemn the sentencing of leading revolutionary activists in Egypt under the terms of the 2013 Protest Law, legislation described by Amnesty International as “a grave threat to freedom of assembly”. According to the law, protest organisers must apply in advance for permission to hold a demonstration, and it allows courts to impose jail sentences and fines for non-compliance. The law also gives the security forces authority to use lethal force in dispersing ‘unauthorised’ protests.

Ahmed Douma, Ahmed Maher and Mohamed Adel from the 6th April Youth Movement were sentenced to three years in prison and a 50,000 LE (£4000) fine on 23 December 2013, for organising a demonstration without police permission and allegedly attacking police officers. Mahienour el-Massry and Hassan Moustafa from the Revolutionary Socialists in Alexandria received 2 year jail sentences and 50,000 LE (£4000) fines on 2 January 2014 also for organising an unauthorised protest. Other activists from Alexandria who received 2 year jail sentences in connection with the same event include Lu’ay Al-Qahwagi, Amr Hafez, Nasir Abu-al-Hamd and Islam Muhamadein. They join hundreds of other opponents of the current military-backed regime who have been arrested in recent months, as part of a crackdown ostensibly targeting the Muslim Brotherhood.

As members of the legal profession, we note with particular concern that Mahienour el-Massry, a qualified lawyer who is well-known for her work on behalf of detainees in Alexandria, was arrested and beaten in March 2013 when attending a police station with a group of lawyers to represent arrested demonstrators. We call on the Egyptian authorities to take urgent steps to ensure that all those arrested and their legal representatives are treated with respect.

We call for all charges connected with the 2013 Protest Law to be dropped, and for the release of all those Egyptians detained or sentenced for the exercise of their democratic rights.

Further information: http://menasolidaritynetwork.com/2014/01/06/egypt-alexandrian-activists-face-two-years-in-prison/

Chair of Haldane's Turkish Sister Organisation Assaulted

Our comrade Selcuk Kozağaçlı, Chair of Contemporary Lawyers Association in Turkey, has been detained, along with other lawyers, since January 2013. He is awaiting trial on trumped up charges. These dreadful photographs show him being assaulted after he had refused to give blood and saliva samples to the Turkish police in January.

Photos of the abuse can be found by clicking "Click to read more" below.

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