European Parliament – Public hearing on attacks against lawyers (February 19th, 2019)

On February 19th, 2019, the European Parliament (Brussels) held a public hearing on attacks against the legal profession and lawyers defending human rights. This initiative was organized by the Parliament’s Subcommittee on human rights, whose President, MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri, declared : “Any attack on lawyers or on the legal profession is an attack on justice and on the basic principles of the Rule of Law.”

The International Observatory for Lawyers took part in this event, as well as delegations from the German and Spanish Bar associations, the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE), and the association The Rights Practice.

Mr Richard Sédillot, head of the French National Council of Bars’ Human Rights Committee, was representing our association. He exposed the worrying trends regarding the situation of Turkish lawyers.

Ms Botagoz Jardemalie, a Kazakh lawyer who fleed her country and now lives in Belgium, explained the constant harassment of lawyers by Kazakh authorities. Her brother is currently in jail for 8 years as part of what seems to be retaliation for her activity. She also denounced the widespread use of torture in the regime’s prisons.

Mr Fuad Agayev, an Azerbaijani lawyer who was disbared in his country, described how the authorities instrumentalised disciplinary proceedings against lawyers.

The difficulties faced by Chinese lawyers, and notably Mr Wang Quanzhang, was evoked by Ms Nicola Macbean, director of The Rights Practice.

The recording of the hearing is available on the Parliament’s website.


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