Front Line News Archive

Iran: Nasrin Sotoudeh starts sit-in protest against the Iranian Bar Association three-year ban on her legal practiceposted on: 2014/10/22

Renowned human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has begun a sit-in protest on 21 October 2014 at the Iranian Bar Association in Tehran to protest the ruling that puts a three-year ban on her legal practice and to denounce the growing repression against the legal profession in Iran. She has declared that the protest will be of unlimited duration, until the Iranian Bar Association takes action on her demands.

On 9 January 2011, Nasrin Sotoudeh was sentenced to eleven years imprisonment and banned from working as a lawyer or leaving the country for twenty years. On 18 September 2013, she was released early from prison, without any explanation. She had been accused of 'spreading propaganda' and 'conspiring to harm state security'. Nasrin has represented many defenders working for human rights and political reform in Iran. She has also worked extensively with young prisoners who have been sentenced to death for crimes they committed when they were under 18.

Denis Mukwege awarded the Sakharov prizeposted on: 2014/10/22

Denis Mukwege, Congolese human rights defender and physician, has been awarded the European Union's top human rights award, the Sakharov prize, for his work to help victims of rape in the Democractic Republic of Congo.

#SwaziJustice: international campaign for the release of Thulani Maseko and Bheki Makhubuposted on: 2014/10/21

On the morning of Friday 25 July 2014, prominent human rights defenders Thulani Maseko and Bheki Makhubu received two-year prison sentences, handed down by Judge Mpendulo Simelane in Swaziland. Maseko, a decorated human rights activist and lawyer, and Makhubu, a prominent editor and journalist, have been repeatedly detained for publishing articles that lamented continued threats to judicial independence in Africa’s last absolute monarchy.

On November 3, 2014, a hearing in the case is scheduled at the Supreme Court of Swaziland. Ahead of this date, the #SwaziJustice international advocacy campaign has been launched in order to raise worldwide attention and pressure for the release of Thulani Maseko and Bheki Makhubu.

Watch the video based on the powerful defense statement written by Thulani Maseko in prision and take action in support of the campaign.

Read the transcript of Thulani Maseko's statement from prison here:

#SwaziJustice: international campaign for the release of Thulani Maseko and Bheki Makhubuposted on: 2014/10/21

On the morning of Friday, July 25, 2014, prominent human rights defenders Thulani Maseko and Bheki Makhubu received two-year prison sentences, handed down by Judge Mpendulo Simelane in Swaziland. Maseko, a decorated human rights activist and lawyer, and Makhubu, a prominent editor and journalist, have been repeatedly detained for publishing articles that lamented continued threats to judicial independence in Africa’s last absolute monarchy.

On November 3, 2014 a hearing in the case is scheduled at the Supreme Court of Swaziland, in which charges could be dropped. Ahead of this date, the #SwaziJustice international advocacy campaign has been launched in order to raise worldwide attention and pressure for the release of Thulani Maseko and Bheki Makhubu.

Watch the video based on the powerful defense statement written by Thulani Maseko in prision and take action in support of the campaign.

Read here the transcript of Thulani Maseko statement from prison:

Joint NGO letter to the President of the Russian Federation to stop clampdown on freedom of associationposted on: 2014/10/21

We, the undersigned non-governmental organizations, are writing to urge you to stop the clampdown on the right to freedom of association and end reprisals against independent non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Russia.

Update: Kuwait - Human rights defender Sulaiman Bin Jasim sentenced to one month imprisonmentposted on: 2014/10/21

On 19 October 2014 human rights defender Mr Sulaiman Bin Jasim was sentenced to one month imprisonment. On 20 October 2014 the human rights defender appealed the sentence. However, a date for the hearing of the appeal will not be set until the verdict has been submitted in writing by the judge.

Update: Ethiopia – Continuation of the trial of Zone 9 bloggers and journalistsposted on: 2014/10/17

On 15 October 2014, several bloggers and journalists appeared before a court for the 10th hearing of their trial on fabricated terrorism-related offences. The defence raised procedural and constitutional issues and the hearing was eventually adjourned to 4 November 2014.

Update: Kuwait – Expected verdict against human rights defender Sulaiman Bin Jasim following unfair trialposted on: 2014/10/17

On 19 October 2014 the Court of Misdemeanours in Kuwait is expected to deliver its final verdict against human rights defender Mr Sulaiman Bin Jasim. Before and during the trial, he was not provided the opportunity to adequately prepare his legal defence or to examine the prosecution's evidence.

Update: UAE – Human rights defender Mr Osama Al-Najjar not given access to his case file or allowed contact his lawyerposted on: 2014/10/16

On 14 October 2014, the second hearing of Mr Osama Al-Najjar took place. In this hearing the human rights defender stated that he had not been given access to the case file or allowed to contact his lawyer while in detention.

Update: Bahrain – Human rights defender Ms Zainab Al-Khawaja arrestedposted on: 2014/10/15

On 14 October 2014, human rights defender Ms Zainab Al-Khawaja was arrested during a court hearing where she was expected to face charges related to tearing up a photograph of the King of Bahrain.

Update: Russian Federation – Environmental rights defender Mr Evgeny Vitishko to be transferred to penal colony with stricter detention regimeposted on: 2014/10/13

On 8 October 2014, Tambov Regional Penal Service officials informed the regional Public Observation Commission for detention facilities that imprisoned environmental rights defender Mr Evgeny Vitishko is set to be transferred to another penal colony with a more strict regime.

First International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists - 2 November 2014posted on: 2014/10/11

At its 68th Session in November 2013, the United Nations General Assembly established 2 November as the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists.

To mark the occasion of the first International Day, Front Line Defenders joins with the Al-Jazeera Media Network and other human rights organisations to promote awareness and support for this initiative:

Front Line Defenders has documented a number of cases of journalists who have been targeted for attack or harassment because of their work reporting on human rights issues or to prevent freedom of expression in the past year:

• September 2014: Guatemalan journalist Norma Sancir was detained by police while reporting on a protest against environmental degredation caused a mining company in an attempt to harass and intimidate the media

• August 2014: Azerbaijani journalist Ilgar Nasibov was beaten unconscious

Update: Burma - Human rights defender Mr Kyaw Hla Aung released under Presidential amnestyposted on: 2014/10/10

On 7 October 2014, 75-year old Rohingya human rights defender and community leader Mr Kyaw Hla Aung was released from Sittwe prison, Arakan State, under a presidential amnesty.

Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi win 2014 Nobel Peace Prizeposted on: 2014/10/10

The 2014 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi, "for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education."