Human Rights Monitoring Group Update: August 31, 2016
The Human Rights Monitoring Group is a group of appointed benchers, established in 2006 to monitor human rights violations that target members of the legal profession and the judiciary as a result of the discharge of their legitimate professional duties.
Today, the Law Society released public statements expressing grave concerns about the following lawyers:
The murder of lawyer Bilal Anwar Kasi and the deadly attack on lawyers in Pakistan
On August 8, 2016 Bilal Anwar Kasi was shot and killed by unknown gunmen while on his way to work. Following his death, approximately 200 lawyers were gathered at the local hospital to protest and mourn the loss of their colleague when a bomb went off. Over 70 people were killed – the majority of them lawyers – and many others were injured.
The charges against lawyer N. Surendran in Malaysia
Two sedition charges were brought against N. Surendran in 2014 for critical comments he made about a court verdict involving his client, Anwar Ibrahim – leader of the opposition and prisoner of conscience. On June 24, 2016 the High Court of Kuala Lumpur found the Sedition Act to be constitutional and that the sedition charges brought against N. Surendran still stand. However, human rights organizations have indicated that Malaysia continues to use the Sedition Act to silence its critics and interfere with the independence of the legal profession.
The murder of lawyer Willie Kimani in Kenya
Willie Kimani was a lawyer working with the International Justice Mission and the Rights Promotion and Protection Centre who was representing a client in a case against a police officer who allegedly shot him during a traffic stop. After departing from a court hearing at the Movako Law Courts, Willie Kimani, his client Josephat Mwenda and their taxi driver, Joseph Muiruri were abducted. On June 30, 2016 all three were found dead. Reports from Kenyan human rights and non-governmental organizations indicate that in recent years, there have been several hundred cases involving abuses carried out by Kenyan officials including corruption, harassment, abduction, torture and judicial killings. On August 11, 2016, the High Court ruled that Willie Kimani, Josephat Mwenda and Joseph Muiruri were abducted and murdered by police officers.