Tag Archives: arbitrary detention

The Anti-Torture Initiative and the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Human Rights Call for the Immediate Release of Human Rights Defender Nkongho Felix Agbor-Balla and University Lecturer Dr. Fontem Aforteka’a Neba

March 27, 2017 – Today, the Anti-Torture Initiative and the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights called for the immediate release of lawyer and human rights defender Nkongho Felix Agbor-Balla and of university lecturer Dr. Fontem Aforteka’a Neba from military detention in #Cameroon.
Mr. Nkongho and Dr. Fontem were arrested for organizing peaceful protests calling for respect for the rights of the Anglophone minority. Mr. Nkongho is charged with 8 counts, including treason, terrorism, incitement of civil unrest, and breach of the constitution and set to be tried by a military tribunal. If convicted of these charges he could face the death penalty. Mr. Nkongho’s trial adjourned on March 23 until April 27, at which point his application for bail will be heard.

“The arbitrary detention of Mr. Nkongho and Dr. Fontem on account of their peaceful protests and advocacy for the human rights of English-speaking Cameroonians is in blatant violation of international human rights law,” said the Anti-Torture Initiative’s Academic Director Prof. Juan E. Méndez, the former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture. He went on to express “grave concern over allegations of excessive use of force and the use of torture against protesters and detainees, as well as over reported cases of arbitrary executions. I call on the Government to immediately release Mr. Nkongho and Dr. Fontem, to conduct an inquiry into the allegations of grave human rights abuses committed since October 2016, and to provide victims with adequate redress and rehabilitation,” Prof. Mendez concluded.

The press release can be found here

UN experts urge China to halt detentions “Lawyers need to be protected not harassed”

GENEVA 16 July 2015 – Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E Méndez joined group of other UN human rights experts to urge Chinese authorities to stop what appears to be a targeted campaign of intimidation of lawyers.

More than 100 lawyers have allegedly been arrested and detained or interrogated since July 9, 2015 in direct connection with their legal work. Most are believed to have been working on human rights-related cases, with many representing well known political dissidents, journalists and artists.

“In societies governed by the rule of law, lawyers advocate within the legal system on behalf of clients, even where their personal views may differ from the clients’ views,” the independent experts stated. “Lawyers should never have to suffer prosecution or any other kind of sanctions or intimidation for discharging their professional duties.”

The experts are concerned that these arrests and detentions are in direct contravention of the Chinese Criminal Procedure Code, the UN Basic Principles of the Role of Lawyers, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They further emphasized that “as one of the three main actors of an independent justice system, lawyers have an essential role to play in protecting human rights, in particular due process and fair trial guarantees, and ultimately contribute greatly to ensuring respect for the rule of law.”

See the full press release here.