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CCBE alarm as lawyers under global attack

29 Apr 2019 / human rights Print

CCBE alarm as lawyers come under global attack

The Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) has written to China’s President Xi Jinping to express its alarm at the continuing detention and failing health of Chinese lawyer Li Yuhan.

Li Yuhan’s trial on charges of "picking quarrels and stirring up trouble" was scheduled for April 9 but was postponed on contested grounds after more than 18 months of pre-trial detention.

Sensitive cases

Li Yuhan has represented sensitive cases on freedom of belief and access to government information. She represented lawyer Wang Yu, one of the first lawyers targeted during a government crackdown in 2015.

The CCBE represents the bars and law societies of 45 countries and, through them, more than one million European lawyers.

The letter is one of a series addressing the deteriorating situation of human-rights defenders around the world.

Li Yuhan’s medical concerns include atrial fibrillation arrhythmia, hyperthyroidism, coronary heart disease and diffuse gastritis.

The CCBE letter points to the United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, in particular, guarantees for the functioning of lawyers.


It urges the Chinese President to do everything in his power to restore the freedom of Li Yuhan, since her sentencing is solely based on her activities as a lawyer.

The CCBE has also asked that all lawyers in China are able to carry out their professional duties without fear of reprisal, hindrance, intimidation or harassment, in order to preserve the independence and integrity of the administration of justice and the rule of law.


A second letter to President Hassan Rouhani of the Islamic Republic of Iran flags concerns about the recent indictment of human rights lawyer Amir Salar Davoodi.

On 16 April, the prosecutor’s office in Tehran’s Evin prison issued the indictment under the Islamic Penal Code on charges of “co-operating with hostile governments” and “establishing a group to overthrow the system”.


It is reported that the second charge is linked to a public channel created by Amir Salar Davoodi to report news and events regarding lawyers and the bar association.

A further letter to Rodrigo Duterte, President of the Republic of the Philippines, expresses shock at the murder by unidentified assailants of lawyer Charmaine Pelayo Mejia in Las Piñas City on 26 March.

Meanwhile, in Nigeria on 12 April, lawyer Promise Frank Igwe was shot dead by an unidentified assailant at a bar in Ozuoba Community.


The CCBE has expressed its shock in a letter to General Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The CCBE holds that lawyers, like other citizens, are entitled to freedom of expression, belief, association and assembly.


In particular, they shall have the right to take part in public discussion of matters concerning the law, the administration of justice, the promotion and protection of human rights, and to join or form local, national or international organisations, without suffering professional restrictions by reason of their lawful action or their membership in a lawful organisation.



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