Judicial harrasment

  • Singapore: human rights lawyer fined $7000 for ‘misconduct’
    January 13, 2015

    On the 9th January 2015, human rights lawyer Madasamy Ravi was fined $7000 by the Council of the Law Society of Singapore on charges of “misconduct unbefitting an advocate and solicitor”. The charges arise from when Mr Ravi was representing Mr Wee Kim San in his case for constitutional protection against discriminations of homosexuals in the workplace, and during a judicial review against the deportation of a foreign worker who was involved in the Little India riot in December 2013.

  • Malaysia: human rights lawyer arrested in sedition probe
    January 12, 2015

    On the 12th January 2015, human rights lawyer Eric Paulsen was arrested just hours after police confirmed he was being investigated under the draconian 1948 Sedition Act. The arrest came following a post on Twitter by Paulsen criticising the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) for spreading extremism.

    UPDATE 5th February 2015: On the 5th February 2015 Eric Paulsen was charged with sedition. The judge fixed April 27 for mention.

  • Burma: Four HRDs arrested and sentenced for peaceful demonstration over deadly police crackdown at the Letpadaung copper mine
    January 6, 2015

    On 30 December 2014, four HRDs- Daw Naw Ohn Hla, Daw Sein Htwe, U Nay Myo Zin and Ko Tin Htut Paing – were arrested for participating in a peaceful protest in front of the Chinese Embassy in Yangon the day before. They were among around 100 protesters calling on the Myanmar authorities to carry out an investigation into the death of Khin Win, who was shot dead 22 December when police opened fire on her and other protesters demonstrating against land being taken over for the Letpadaung copper mine project in Sagaing region. All four are detained in Insein prison, Yangon. They face a number of charges and if convicted could face up to eight years’ imprisonment.

    The four Naw Ohn Hla, Sein Htwe, Nay Myo Zin and Ko Tin Htut Paing and two others, Than Swe and San San Win -also known as Lay Lay- have been handed new sentences in relation to the protest they attended outside the Chinese embassy in Yangon. They were given four years and four months for rioting, disturbing an official and sedition. The HRDs were already serving sentences for violating the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Processions Law.

  • Burma: four activists charged for staging unauthorised protest
    December 22, 2014

    On the 21st December 2014, activists Ko Ko Gyi, Saw Naing, Myo Khine (also known as Mone Khet), Naing Ko Lin and Aung Maung (also known as Sitt Maung), were charged by Okkalapa township’s administrator for staging a rally in an area that had not been approved by the authorities. The four had previously been granted authorisation for the protest against a planned construction project, but not in the area in which they planned to hold the protest. They face up to three months in prison and 10,000 kyat (US$10) fine.

  • Burma: HRD sentenced to 1 year imprisonment for sentenced to one year for supporting land rights protest
    December 22, 2014

    On 18 December 2014, activist Wai Lu was arrested for assisting protesters during a protest demanding the return of land confiscated by the former military regime. The following day he was charged with defamation under controversial article 505(B) of Myanmar’s penal code, which prohibits spreading statements that cause alarm or induce others to commit an offense against the state or the public.

    On 8 April 2015, he was sentenced to one year imprisonment for violating Section 505(B) of the penal code by supporting the Michaungkan protestors, who demand compensation for lands they lost to government seizures. He was arrested without a warrant and when he asked the court what police regiment was responsible for his case, the court could not answer.

    Protesters say that Lu was not involved in their protest but was merely providing humanitarian assistance to them, and that the charge against him is unfair.

  • China: seven of Uyghur scholar Ilham Tohti’s students sentenced to imprisonment on charges of separatism
    December 17, 2014

    On the 10th December 2014, seven of jailed dissident and scholar Ilham Tohti’s students were sentenced to imprisonment ranging between three and eight years on charges of separatism. Mutellip Imin, Atikem Rozi, Perhat Halmurat, Abduqeyum Ablimit, Shohret Nijat, Akbar Imin, and Luo Yuwei were accused of separatism largely for their work on Tohti’s website promoting Uighur rights. Critics have denounced the courts for using the students to further bolster the case against Tohti.

  • China: Beijing police detain hundreds on Human Rights Day
    December 11, 2014

    On the 10th December 2014, this year’s International Human Rights Day, hundreds of activists and human rights defenders were detained by police after they gathered outside United Nations offices and other major buildings in Beijing, calling on the ruling Chinese Communist Party to uphold human rights.

  • China: unfair trial of human rights lawyers continues despite criticism from lawyers and relatives
    December 2, 2014

    On the 28th November 2014, the trial of two prominent rights activists on public order offenses began amid criticism of lack of due process. Lawyers defending Yang Maodong (better known by his nickname Guo Feixiong) and Sun Sihuo (better known as Sun Desheng) asserted that the court refused to allow them to speak or raise objections during the trial, and that many who had tried to attend the trial were barred from the courtroom.

    Feixiong, and Desheng have been held in police detention since being detained in 2013, after taking part in street protests for press freedom and calling for greater government transparency and protection for human rights.

  • Vietnam: police arrest prominent activist blogger under controversial law
    December 2, 2014

    On the 29th November 2014, prominent blogger Hong Le Tho, known for his outspoken criticism of China and commentary on social and political issues in Vietnam, was arrested by police under the ambiguous Article 258 of the Penal Code, which pertains to “abusing freedom and democracy to infringe upon the interests of the state.” His arrest is the latest in an ongoing crackdown on online critics and activists in Vietnam.

  • Burma: student activists face charges for organising protest rally against Education Bill without permission
    December 2, 2014

    On the 29th November 2014, six activist students from the All Burma Federation of Student Unions (ABFSU) – Min Thwe Thit, Myat Thu, Aung Htet, Aung Ko Khant, Min Min Zaw and Aung Nay Paing – led about 100 activists in a protest against the National Education Bill in the city of Taungoo. As a result they are facing charges in Pegu Division under the Peaceful Procession and Peaceful Assembly Law for organising a public rally without official permission.

    The Bill that the students were protesting provides for the creation of a National Education Commission, which civil society organisations such as the National Network for Education Reform believe will keep the education sector under tight government control.