Posts Tagged ‘Karim Lahidji’

Iran: just when you think that it cannot get worse….Ebrahim Raisi get appointed

April 4, 2019

It’s an Insult:” says human right defender Karim Lahiji about Iran’s new Chief Justice Ebrahim Raisi. His predecessor Sadegh Larijani was already a serious problem but this seems worse. [see e.g.: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2014/02/02/larijani-brothers-iran-attack-un-rapporteur-and-human-rights-defenders/].

Abdolkarim Lahiji worked for decades as a defense attorney in Iran taking on politically sensitive cases involving activists, religious minorities and dissidents.

The appointment by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei of a known human rights violator to head the country’s judiciary is a prelude to dark days ahead for human and civil rights defenders, Iranian attorney Abdolkarim Lahiji told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).

In a wide-ranging interview, Lahiji, who for decades worked as a prominent attorney and human rights activist in Iran until going into exile in France, discussed the events leading up to Raisi’s appointment to chief justice in early March 2019. Before his appointment, Raisi, 58, held top positions in the country’s judiciary, including Tehran prosecutor and chief prosecutor for the clergy, as well as membership in the Assembly of Experts and the Expediency Council. In 1988, Raisi served on Iran’s so-called “death commissions,” which were set up shortly after the end of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988) by order of then-Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who wanted to crush opposition to the state.

Many of the prisoners executed after being interviewed by the inquisition-like commissions set up around the country were supporters of the Mojahedin-e Khalgh (MEK), but communists, members of the Fadaian-e Khalgh and other opposition groups were targeted as well. The estimated 4,000-5,000 prisoners—actual numbers could be higher—who were secretly killed in prisons throughout the country and dumped in mass graves had already been issued prison sentences before they were suddenly sent to the gallows.

Raisi now takes the reigns of the judiciary from Sadegh Larijani, who was chief justice of Iran from August 2009 until March 2019. At least 15 political prisoners died in state custody under Larijani’s watch. All of the cases were closed without fair and unbiased investigations and no one in the judiciary was ever held accountable for these deaths.

Lahiji, who defended political prisoners during Larijani’s rule, discussed what lies ahead for human rights defenders under Raisi. For excerpts of the interview follow the link below:

https://www.iranhumanrights.org/2019/04/its-an-insult-human-rights-attorney-condemns-irans-new-judiciary-chief-ebrahim-raisi/

Dimitris Christopoulos elected as the new President of the FIDH

August 29, 2016

As FIDH President, Christopoulos will work towards the implementation of the priorities decided by FIDH's member organisations.

Greek academic Dimitris Christopoulos has been elected president of International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH). He succeeds Iranian lawyer Karim Lahidji who headed the international human rights NGO for the last three years. The vote was held during the 39th FIDH Congress in Johannesburg where its 178 member organisations from 120 countries were gathered to elect the new International Board and determine the main orientations for the next three years.

Fight against terrorism, economic interests and the rise of extremism have precipitated the respect of human rights in depths that we thought had been definitively consigned to the past. Rarely, rights of citizens have been so flouted. It is urgent, and more than ever necessary, that civil societies and activists from the entire world be heard again. Let’s resist and act.” said Christopoulos, right after being elected.  The fight against impunity will be at the centre of  Christopoulos’ mandate, as will be the mobilization for the respect of human rights in the framework of the economic globalization.

The newly elected International Board is composed of 22 activists from 21 countries, representing all together five continents.

Source: SABC News – Dimitris Christopoulos elected FIDH president:Saturday 27 August 2016

Five Years After Tahrir Square, there is “stability” in Egypt but do not ask at what price

January 28, 2016

Five years ago, human rights defender Ahmed Abdullah was among thousands of Egyptians who took to the streets for 18 days of mass protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, eventually forcing then-President Hosni Mubarak to step down and the security forces to retreat. Today, Ahmed is on the run. He dodged arrest by the thinnest of margins on January 9, after plainclothes police in Cairo raided his regular coffee shop. The NGO which he chairs, the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, had recently exposed a surge in enforced disappearances, which has seen hundreds vanish at the hands of state security forces over the last year alone. He is not the only one whose activism has put him at risk. In recent weeks, security forces have been rounding up activists linked to protests and journalists critical of the government’s record. This how Amnesty International starts its assessment of the fifth anniversary and it concludes: “Five years since the uprising that ousted Mubarak, Egypt is once more a police state. The country’s ubiquitous state security body, the National Security Agency, is firmly in charge.”

The same sentiment is echoed in the long piece in the Huffington Post of 25 January 2016 by Karim Lahidji, President of FIDH and Bahey eldin Hassan, Director of Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies.

MAHMOUD KHALED VIA GETTY IMAGES

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Human rights defenders squeezed by geo-politics? The cases of Colombia, Iran and Cuba.

September 11, 2015

Health and holidays (in that order) have slowed down my blog production somewhat this summer, but perhaps this was a welcome break for many of my readers for reasons of holiday and health (in that order I hope). Anyway, during these summer months I read quite some instances of HRD repression related to countries involved in major ‘geo-political’ progress and I started wondering whether this is coincidental. Take the following three cases: Colombia, Iran and Cuba. Read the rest of this entry »

Interview with Karim Lahidji on the 36th anniversary of the Islamic regime in Iran

February 18, 2015

11 February 2015 marks the 36th anniversary of the Islamic regime in Iran. Karim Lahidji, President of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), answers questions about freedoms and liberties in Iran today. The very experienced and well-respected Iranian exile recalls briefly the historical background and states the record on freedom of religion in Iran: Read the rest of this entry »

Russia: the next step in curtailing human rights defenders

January 19, 2015

The next ‘logical’ step by Russia in curtailing the work of human rights defenders is in the making: on 20 January the Russian Parliament (Duma) will debate a bill to declare certain foreign and international organisations as ‘unwanted’ and to fine anyone working with such entities. OMCT-LOGOThe Observatory, a joint programme of FIDH and OMCT, issued a statement today calling on the Duma to drop this bill. logo FIDH_seul

If adopted, the law will complement an already very restrictive legislative arsenal used to silence all forms of criticism against the regime in contradiction with international human rights instruments ratified by Russia and will allow authorities to ban legitimate human rights activities, though they are protected under international law. On January 14, the State Duma Committee on Constitutional Legislation recommended that the lower house pass a bill to ban “undesirable foreign organisations” in Russia and ban cooperation with them. The bill, presented initially by two members of Parliament, would allow the Prosecutor General’s Office, upon consultation with the Foreign Ministry and based on information provided by the interior and security agencies, to ban foreign and international organisations that “threaten the defence or security of the State” or “public order and health”.

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In Memoriam Chan Soveth, Cambodian human rights defender

December 11, 2014

On Human Rights Day, FIDH reports that Chan Soveth, a prominent Cambodian human rights defender, has died at the early age of 51. He was a senior investigator at the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC, a member organization of FIDH). “Chan Soveth was a voice for the voiceless. For decades, he selflessly worked for victims of human rights violations and abuses, in particular the poor and those living in remote areas, which ADHOC managed to reach out to”, said Karim Lahidji, FIDH President. “Soveth’s death is a great loss for his family, his colleagues and Cambodia’s human rights community, but the heritage of courage and commitment he left will last for generations”.

On many occasions, Soveth’s human rights work and personal commitment had caused him to be subjected to threats, intimidation and reprisals in the form of judicial harassment. In 2012, he had been forced to stay outside his country for several months. Upon his return, despite receiving another summon to appear before Cambodia’s flawed judicial system, and thus, despite the risk of being arbitrarily detained, he had decided to stay in Cambodia, amongst his fellow countrymen. Soveth relentlessly fought against human rights violations – from land grabbing and violations of people’s and communities’ rights to food, water or housing, to extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detention, torture, and violations of the rights to free expression and free assembly. He was not only a great investigator, trainer and human rights advocate, but also an inspiration to many. He was always eager to improve his impressive human rights and professional skills and to celebrate successes.logo FIDH_seul

Cambodia and the community of human rights defenders lose a (…).

more details in: http://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/rights-warrior-passes-age-51

Human Rights Defenders in Hungary: not yet ‘foreign agents’ but getting close

June 13, 2014

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, an FIDH-OMCT joint programme, expressed its concern that the Hungarian government is alarmingly shrinking the space of civil society by hindering their access to funding, conducting unexpected inspections and blacklisting prominent human rights organizations. The Observatory – not by accident – did so on 12 June 2014, the day the Hungarian Government was meeting representatives from a group of donor Governments including Norway.OMCT-LOGOlogo FIDH_seul

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Iran: Human Rights Defenders, arbitrarily detained, are made to suffer again through lack of medical care

March 10, 2014

The FIDH, on 6 March 2014, issued a statement on the lack of access to medical care for human rights defenders in Iran, resulting in further deterioration of their health FIDH fears this may amount to a systematic practice aiming at further intimidating civil society voices critical of the regime.logo FIDH_seul

On March 2, 2014, several prisoners of conscience detained in Evin prison, Tehran, wrote their second Read the rest of this entry »

Ukraine follows Russia’s example again: human rights defenders labeled as “foreign agents”

January 21, 2014

The ‘eastern’ pull of Ukraine is now also reflected in its repressive legislation on human rights defenders. On January 16, 2014, Ukrainian Parliament unexpectedly and hurriedly adopted a comprehensive restrictive bill, which punishes protests, criminalises libel, restricts civic organisations receiving foreign funding and labels them as “foreign agents”. The bill, entitled “On Amendments to the Law on Judicial System and Status of Judges and Procedural Laws on Additional Measures for Protecting Citizens’ safety”, was introduced on January 14, 2014 and voted only two days after, with no legal assessment, no parliamentary hearings, and no consultation. The text was swiftly adopted by show of hands, backed by 235 out of 450 parliamentarians, before it was immediately signed it into law by the President. According to the bill, all civic organisations receiving funds from foreign sources must include in their title the term “foreign agents”, register as such, submit monthly reports regarding the organisations, publish quarterly reports on their activities in the official media and may not benefit from a tax-exempt status. The bill specifies that all organisations taking part in political actions, defined as actions aimed at influencing decision-making by state bodies, a change in the state policy which those bodies have defined as well as forming public opinion for those purposes, are deemed civic organisations. Organisations failing to register may be closed by court decision.

There were quite a few other restrictions passed in the same bill as can be seen from the Open Letter of 20 January 2014 sent to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich and Parliamentary Speaker Volodym, signed by Karim Lahidji, FIDH President, and Gerald Staberock, OMCT Secretary General:

Ukraine: Call to repeal highly restrictive law on so-called “foreign agents”, libel and extremism, which blatantly violates Ukraines international obligations / January 20, 2014 / Urgent Interventions / Human rights defenders / OMCT.