9 November 2009

88 Arab lawyers express solidarity with Syrian human rights lawyer Mohanad Al Hassani

Eighty-eight lawyers express their strong concern in relation to the fate of Mr. Al Hassani, a human rights lawyer, President of the Syrian Organization for Human Rights "Sawasiya" and member of the Damascus Bar Association for 15 years.

November 9, 2009

To the attention of:

Mr. Nizar Assakkef, President of the Syrian Bar Association

Mr. Mohammad Jihad Al-Lahham, President of the Damascus section of the Syrian Bar Association

Dear Sirs, 

We have been informed that the Disciplinary Board of the Bar Association of Damascus has been examining since August, 11, 2009 a case concerning Mr. Mohanad Al Hassani and might issue its ruling on November 10, 2009.

As lawyers, we wish to share our strong concern in relation to the fate of Mr. Al Hassani, a human rights lawyer, President of the Syrian Organization for Human Rights "Sawasiya" and member of the Damascus Bar Association for 15 years.

Mr. Al Hassani is accused of having failed to request the President of the Bar Association’s authorisation to create the above-mentioned human rights organisation, of having attended hearings before the Supreme State Security Court (SSSC) within the framework of his judicial observation activities related to the respect of international standards on fair trial in the absence of any authorisation, and of having expressed slanderous comments undermining the image of the State.

We are aware that Mr. Al-Hassani is also facing criminal charges brought against him by an investigating judge at the end of July for allegedly "weakening national sentiment" and "spreading false information that could debilitate the morale of the nation and harm the reputation of the state abroad".

Such charges have been frequently used by the judiciary to target human rights defenders and political dissidents, and we consider them politically motivated. The fact that the Bar Association’s referral of the case of Mr. Al-Hassani to its disciplinary board occurred within a week and was based on similar grounds is therefore of particular concern to us.

These two proceedings, in themselves, appear to contravene international standards relating to the independence of lawyers and the role of human rights defenders, including as contained in the United Nations (UN) Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998 and to the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers adopted in September 1990. Article 16 of the Basic Principles provides that lawyers must be "able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference" and that they "shall not suffer, or be threatened with, prosecution or administrative, economic or other sanctions for any action taken in accordance with recognized professional duties".

The role of the Bar Association is to defend the role of lawyers in the society, in particular in their capacity as human rights defenders, and to promote debates on the law and its implementation.

Without intending to interfere with the competencies or independence of the Syrian Bar Association we wish to share with you our strong concerns and urge you to drop all accusations against Mr. Al Hassani, as they manifestly aim at obstructing his human rights activities and his right to freedom of expression and association.

We hope that you will take this request into consideration.

Sincerely,

1. Mr. Hafez ABU SAADA, Lawyer and General Secretary of the Egyptian Organization For Human Rights (EOHR), Egypt

2. Mr. Mokhtar TRIFI, Lawyer and President of the Tunisian League for Human Rights (LTDH), Tunisia

3. Mr. Mostefa BOUCHACHI, Lawyer and President of the Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights (LADDH), Algeria

4. Mr. Abchi MOHSEN, Lawyer at the Tripoli Bar Association, Lebanon

5. Mr. Abdelaziz NOUAYDI, Lawyer and President of Adala, Morocco

6. Mr. Houcine BARDI, Lawyer at the Paris Bar, France

7. Mr. Hassan SEMLALI, Lawyer at the Kenibra Bar, Morocco

8. Mr. Sofiane CHOUITER, Lawyer, Algeria

9. Mr. Amine SIDHOUM, Lawyer and human rights defender, Algeria

10. Mr. Anouar KOUSRI, Lawyer before the Cassation Court, Tunisia

11. Mr. Zarad Al- Sayed, Lawyer and member of the Mousawa Center for Human Rights, Egypt

12. Mr. Ahmed Dorgam, Lawyer and member of the Mousawa Center for Human Rights, Egypt

13. Mr. Hanim Elbaz, Lawyer and member of the Mousawa Center for Human Rights, Egypt

14. Mr. Ahmed Abo Msalam, Lawyer and member of the Mousawa Center for Human Rights, Egypt

15. Mr. Rimaz Zarad, Lawyer and member of the Mousawa Center for Human Rights, Egypt

16. Mr. Mohamed Bayoumi, Egyptian Lawyer and Executive Director for Egyptian Foundation for Refugee Rights (EFRR)

17. Mr. Ahmed Badawy, Egyptian Lawyer and EFRR Chairman

18. Dr. Martin David Jones, Canadian Lawyer and Vice Chairman for EFRR

19. Mr. Mohamed Ahmed, Lawyer, Bahrain

20. Mr. Mohamed Al Tajer, Lawyer, Bahrain

21. Mr. Mohammed Al Jishi, Lawyer, Bahrain

22. Mr. Mohamed Amarti, Lawyer and member of the Moroccan Organisation for Human Rights (Organisation marocaine des droits humains – OMDH)

23. Mr. Mohamed Abdel Monem, Lawyer and member of the Association for Human Rights Legal Aid (AHRLA), Egypt

24. Ms. Kahina Azdaou, Lawyer, Algeria

25. Mr. Abdesattar Ben Moussa, Lawyer and former President of the Bar Council of Tunisia

26. Mr. Abderazak KILANI, Lawyer and President of the Tunis Branch of the Bar Council, Tunisia

27. Ms. Radia Nasraoui, Lawyer, former member of the Bar Council and President of the Tunisian Association Against Torture (Association tunisienne de lutte contre la torture), Tunisia

28. Mr. Abderaouf Ayadi, Lawyer, former member member of the Bar Council and former secretary general of the National Council for Freedoms in Tunisia (Conseil national des pour les libertés en Tunisie – CNLT), Tunisia

29. Mr. Ayachi Hammami, Lawyer, Tunisia

30. Mr. Mohammed Abbou, Lawyer, Tunisia

31. Mr. Faouzi Ben Mrad, Lawyer and former member of the Association of the Young Lawyers in Tunisia (Jeunes Avocats de Tunisie)

32. Ms. Amel Abada, Lawyer, militant and member of the Algerian league for defense of human rights (Ligue algérienne pour la défense des droits de l’Homme – LADDH)

33. Ms. Maya Mansour, Lawyer, member of the Beirut Bar Association and lecturer at the university, Lebanon

34. Mr. Nizar Saghieh, Lawyer at the Beirut Bar Association (Lebanon)

35. Mr Karim NATOURI, Lawyer and President of the Bejaia branch of the LADDH, Algeria

36. Ms. Zaha al Majali, Lawyer and member of Amman Centre for Human Rights Studies, Jordan

37. Mr. Aissa RAHMOUNE, Lawyer and President of "oumouhand amrane" office, LADDH of Tizi-Ouzou, Algeria

38. Mr. Abdelhamid REHIOUI, Lawyer at the Bar of Constantine a,d President of the Constantine Branch of the LADDH, Algeria

39. Mr. Mohammed Naji Saleh Alaw, Lawyer, Yemen

40. Mr. Abdulkarim Alkhaiwani, Lawyer, Yemen

41. Mr. Bechir Essid, President of the Bar Association of Tunisia

42. Mr. Ibrahim Bouderbala, Lawyer and former persident of the Tunis Branch of Lawyers, Tunisia

43. Mr. Khaled Krichi, Lawyer and member of the Tunisian Association of Young Lawyers, Tunisia

44. Mr. Chokri Belaid, Lawyer, Tunisia

45. Mr. Jalel Hammami, Lawyer, Tunisia

46. Mr. Amor Satraoui, Lawyer, Tunisia

47. Mr. Reda Bel Haj, Lawyer, Tunisia

48. Mr. Slah Ourimi, Lawyer, Tunisia

49. Mr. Bassam Trifi, Lawyer, Tunisia

50. Mr. Gamal Eid, Lawyer , Executive Director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information – Egypt

51. Mr.Emad Mubarak, Lawyer and Executive Director of the Foundation for Freedom of thought and expression, Egypt

52. Mr. Improved Bahnasi, Lawyer, Legal Aid Society for Human Rights, Egypt

53. Mr.Mohammad Zarea, Lawyer and Director of the Arab Organization for Penal Reform, Egypt

54. Mr.Nasser Amin, Lawyer and Director of the Arab Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and Lawyers, Egypt

55. Mr.Negad Albourae, Lawyer before the cassation court and Director of the Legal Unit of the United Group, Egypt

56. Ms. Inas Ismail Hussein, Lawyer and member of the United Group ,Egypt

57. Ms. Sarah Hisham, Lawyer and member of the United Group, Egypt

58. Mr. Abdul Hamid Salim Abdul-Hamid, Lawyer and member of the United Group, Egypt

59. Mr. Karim Ahmadinejad, Lawyer and member of the United Group, Egypt

60. Mr. Muhammad Ali, Lawyer and member of the United Group, Egypt

61. Mr. Yasser Shook, Lawyer and member of the United Group, Egypt

62. Ms. Rawda Ahmed Sayed, Lawyer and member of the Arabic Network for Human Rights, Egypt

63. Mr. Najah Wakim, Lawyer and former member of Parliament, Chairman of the People’s Party, Lebanon

64. Mr. Radwan Seydou, Lawyer, Syria

65. Mr. Ethene Mahmoud, Lawyer, Syria

66. Mr. Sulaiman Ismail, Lawyer, Syria

67. Mr. Masood Caso, Lawyer, Syria

68. Mr. Mustafa Owusu, Lawyer, Syria

69. Mr. Abdullah Khalil, Lawyer, Syria

70. Mr. Abdallah Imam, Lawyer, Syria

71. Mr. Hassan Abdel-Azim, Lawyer, Syria

72. Mr. Habib Issa, Lawyer, Syria

73. Mr. Mahmoud Marei, Lawyer, Syria

74. Mr. Samer Al-Huwaidi, Lawyer, Syria

75. Mr. Ali Fares, Lawyer, Syria

76. Ms. Daad Moses, Lawyer, Syria

77. Ms. Razan Zaytoon, Lawyer, Syria

78. Ms. Catherine Tally, Lawyer, Syria

79. Mr. Radeef Mustafa, Lawyer, Syria

80. Mr. Abdul Razak Zureik, Lawyer, Syria

81. Mr. Burgess El Fna, Lawyer, Syria

82. Mr. Nazem Al Hammadi,Lawyer, Syria

83. Mr. Tayseer Kardas, Lawyer, Syria

84. Mr. Hussein Issa, Lawyer, Syria

85. Mr. Nasr-Eddine Lezzar, Lawyer and human rights defender, Algeria

86. Mr. Wadie Meraghni, Lawyer and member of the LADDH, Algeria

87. Mr. Siham Hammache, Lawyer and member of the Algiers Bar, Algeria

88. Mr. Raji Sourani, Lawyer, Palestine
Last Update 9 November 2009
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