Rule of law
On 27 March 2015, the military announced that they will probe the alleged harassment of Ms. Maria Catherine Dannug-Salucon and her family, a human rights lawyer and a founding member of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyer (NUPL).
On 13 March 2015, the spokesperson of the military, National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) stated that extra security measures are needed to maintain national security and warned activists not to create situation such as organising rallies. The military also mentioned that standards of the military and civil courts are the same.
Cambodia: Court upholds convictions of land activists
January 26, 2015
On 26 January 2015, Phnom Penh’s Appeal Court upheld the convictions of 10 female land activists – including seven well-known Boeung Kak lake protesters – and a monk, two and a half months after they were arrested and sentenced to a year in prison within 24 hours of their respective arrests during peaceful protests.Thirty-six NGOs, rights groups and unions later slammed the verdicts as “indefensible”, saying they followed an appeal hearing “that was characterised by an almost total absence of fair trial rights”.
UPDATE 13 April 2015
On 11 April 2015, at approximately 3.30pm, 10 Boeung Kak Lake activists, arrested and imprisoned on 10 November 2014, were released by royal pardon. The release of the human rights defenders comes as part of recent political deals between the ruling and opposition party leaders.
Malaysia: social activist narrowly escapes jail sentence, fined RM5000 for ‘sedition’
January 13, 2015
On the 9th January 2015, social activist Hishamuddin Rais, who was accused of sedition in 2013, was fined RM5000 (almost U.S. $1400) in lieu of six months’ jail time. Rais and 5 other activists were charged with sedition in May 2013 after condemning the government elections at a public forum.
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.
On the 25th October 2014, Tamil man Chinniah Krishnarajah was arrested by the anti-terrorist police for allegedly distributing forms meant to be circulated among the witnesses of the ongoing war crime probe by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
China: state seizes jailed Uyghur scholar Ilham Tohti’s assets, leaving his family vulnerable to destitution
October 29, 2014
On the 25th October 2014, the Chinese ruling party seized jailed Uyghur scholar and activist Ilham Tohti’s U.S $140,000 in savings, sparking fears his family will struggle to subsist. Tohti’s wife Guzelnur didn’t receive any warning of the asset seizure, and expressed grave concern over the fate of herself and her two young children.
UPDATE: On the 21st November 2014, courts rejected Tohti’s appeal against his life sentence. The appeal was rejected at a behind-closed-doors reading of its judgment, despite repeated bids by Tohti’s defense team to have the appeal heard in court.
China: Activist sentenced for ‘separatism’
September 24, 2014
On 23 September 2014, Mr. Ilham Tohti, an advocate for the rights of Muslim ethnic group and a professor at Beijing’s Minzu University, was sentenced to life in prison for separatism. He has been detained since last January 2014. The Urumqi People’s Intermediate Court ruled that he has been spreading lessons containing separatist ideas visa the website, Uygur Online.
Indonesia: Papuan activist murdered
August 29, 2014
On 25 August 2014, Papuan activist Marthinus Yohame was found dead in a bag in the ocean, having been missing for five days. Mr. Yohame was the chairman of the Sorong Raya West Papua National Committee (KNPB), a nationalist organisation that, among other things, fought illegal logging and environmental degradation in the region. West Papuan sources report that he was kidnapped by Indonesian state security forces, but this could not be independently verified. His body is currently undergoing an autopsy.
Pakistan: human rights lawyer shot dead
August 26, 2014
Late on 7 May, Rashid Rehman Khan, a Pakistani human rights lawyer, was shot dead by unknown assailants in his office in Multan. Mr. Khan had lodged a complaint with the police about death threats he received after stepping forward to defend a university professor accused of blasphemy, but according to sources, police were unwilling to offer him any protection.
UPDATE 3/08/2014: sources within the police department have revealed that the police have effectively “buried” the case by failing to investigate persons who publicly threatened him shortly before his death and whom Mr. Rehman explicitly named as a threat to his life, and instead assign blame to fugitive terrorists whose whereabouts are unknown.