UN: Belgium mobilized again against death penalty
Belgium will host next year (February 2019) the 7th world congress against the
death penalty, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the UN adoption of a
protocol aiming the abolition of the death penalty, announced Wednesday the
Belgian minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders at the tribune of the UN
Council for human rights.
Though this fight is general, Wednesday in Geneva, Belgium co-presided with the
NGO "Together against death penalty" an event on the theme Africa, "the next
At the same time, the country is one of those which are urging Iran to commute
the death sentence pronounced against VUB's guest Professor Ahmadreza Djalali,
whom Teheran accuses of having collaborated with Israel in the assassination of
2 persons in charge of the Iranian nuclear program a few years ago.
Mr. Reynders did not pronounce Mr. Djalali's name at the UN tribune. "It would
have been counterproductive in that place, in relation to our bilateral
efforts," he explained at the end of his speech.
Being a candidate for a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council in 2019
and 2020, Belgium also said it was prepared to reinforce its financing of this
jurisdiction, and of the High Commission (HCDH).
In his address, Mr. Reynders gave indeed strong support to the High
Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid Ra'ad Zeid Al-Hussein, in his
denunciation of States' shortages.
"This concerns, for example, the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the
violent acts against peaceful worshipers and demonstrators, and the obstacles
to fundamental freedom strongly challenge us," the head of Belgian diplomacy
The minister mentioned the DRC among other countries (Syria, Yemen, Burundi,
Myanmar), where fundamental principles such as the protection of civilians in
military conflicts, the sanctity of hospitals and schools, and access to
humanitarian assistance are being "scoffed at on a large scale."
(source: Oscar Schneider----The Brussels Times)
Barrister who claimed she saved clients from death penalty disbarred
A barrister who falsely claimed she had saved clients from the gallows and lied
about her qualifications in order to obtain pupillage has been disbarred.
According to a decision by the Bar Tribunals and Adjudication Service (BTAS)
unregistered barrister Anisah Ahmed failed to act with honesty or integrity.
Ahmed, who was called by Middle Temple in 2012, made the false claims while
trying to secure pupillage at London's Staple Inn Chambers in 2013.
Among her lies were that she had successfully argued in favour of claimants in
unfair dismissal cases and had succeeded in having the death penalty put aside
while representing prisoners in Malawi. No executions have been carried out in
the southeast African state since 1992.
She also forged 2 solicitors' signatures, which claimed to provide references
for work carried out at 2 law firms. The tribunal does not dispute that she
worked at the unnamed firms but notes that at one of the firms her tasks were
Ahmed also said she had obtained a distinction in Legal Practice from Cardiff
University, had written a dissertation on rights to die and been awarded a
diploma in forensic medicine - none of which was true.
According to the tribunal's findings Ahmed's applications for pupillage, made
in 2013, included false references from a principal solicitor and assistant
solicitor that was 'not authentic and forged'.
The charges were brought by barristers' regulator the Bar Standards Board
(BSB). Sara Jagger, director of professional conduct at the BSB, said: 'This
finding serves as a reminder to barristers that dishonesty is not compatible
with membership of the bar. The tribunal's decision to disbar Ahmed reflects
the seriousness of her actions.'
The tribunal's decision is open to appeal.
Hate Speech Death Penalty Bill: Huriwa Carpets National Assembly; * Condemns
Dss's Arrest Of Abuja Journalist Tony Ezimakor:
A prominent civil Rights organization- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF
NIGERIA (HURIWA) has accused the National Assembly of working hand -in -gloves
with enemies of constitutional democracy bent on destroying civil rule and
establishing a one-party dictatorship.
The Rights group therefore has warned the National Assembly to stop using
subterranean tactics of sponsoring tyrannical pieces of legislations that could
strengthen the oppressive styles and the dictatorial tendencies that are
manifesting themselves powerfully under the Presidency of Muhammadu Buhari who
is still seeing himself as a military General who rules with iron fists. HURIWA
lamented that enemies of constitutional democracy are now deeply entrenched in
the National Assembly.
Also, the Rights group has demanded the unconditional release of the Abuja
Bureau chief of the Independent newspaper Mr. Anthony Ezimakor detained over 48
hours ago and denied access to his lawyers reportedly by the Department of
State Services (DSS) over series of stories the newspaper just like most
foreign journals are running over the negotiations with boko haram terrorists
which are marred by allegations of under the table deals.
HURIWA condemned the actions of the DSS in attacking press freedom and wondered
why the so called civilian government of Muhammadu Buhari has speedily returned
Nigeria to a police state similar to the military juntas of Generals Abacha and
Buhari. HURIWA therefore regretted that the National Assembly which ought to
provide effective oversight over such security agencies such as DSS to abide by
the due process of the law is busy trying to churn out anti- democracy
legislations seeking to stiffle the full exercise of the constitutionally
guaranteed FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS AS ENSHRINED IN CHAPTER FOUR OF THE 1999
HURIWA is of the position that the draconian bill before the National
legislature purportedly meant to check hate speeches but entirely prepared to
destroy freedom of speech and media rights is one amongst the latest weapons
being used by haters of free speech to seek to demonize and attack perceived
political opponents and independent voices that are critical and vocal about
the gross misgovernace that has become the hallmark of the current Federal
government and most state governments. HURIWA accused the APC dominated
National Assembly of using backyard tactics to drive political opponents of
Muhammadu Buhari underground to prepare ground for the massive rigging of the
2019 polls in favour of the APC which has failed Nigerians.
The group said the nation has yet to recover from the subsisting sinister plots
through a tyrannical piece of legislation to deregister Non-Governmental
organizations meant to kill off independent groups working for the millions of
poor Nigerians but now the National Assembly has added salt to injury through
the so -called anti- hate speech bill which makes it punishable with the death
penalty. "Under this bill, when someone doesn't like Buhari's face or names his
dog after the President for example and criticizes him on the social media,
that critic may be termed a hate speech proponent and killed for exercising his
constitutional freedom of speech", HURIWA alleges.
HURIWA which quoted media report recalled that a pending bill before the upper
legislative chamber makes it punishable with the death penalty for any person
found guilty of any form of hate speech that results in the death of another
person in which case that convicted person shall die by hanging upon
HURIWA recalled that the bill, which erroneously hangs on the growing concern
over the spate of violence in the nation as a reason for its presentation was
sponsored by the spokesman of the upper chamber, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi
HURIWA said the controversial bill also seeks the establishment of an
'Independent National Commission for Hate Speeches', which shall enforce hate
speech laws across the country, ensure the elimination of the menace and advise
the Federal Government.
HURIWA recalled that offences such as harassment on the grounds of ethnicity or
racial contempt, a culprit shall be sentenced to "not less than a 5-year jail
term or a fine of not less than N10 million or both just as the bill notes: "A
person who uses, publishes, presents, produces, plays, provides, distributes
and/or directs the performance of any material, written and/or visual, which is
threatening, abusive or insulting or involves the use of threatening, abusive
or insulting words or behaviour, commits an offence, if such person intends
thereby to stir up ethnic hatred, or having regard to all the circumstances,
ethnic hatred is likely to be stirred up against any person or person from such
an ethnic group in Nigeria."
HURIWA recalled that the proposed bill notes that "a person subjects another to
harassment on the basis of ethnicity for the purposes of this section where, on
ethnic grounds, he unjustifiably engages in a conduct which has the purpose or
effect of (a) violating that other person's dignity or (b) creating an
intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the
person subjected to the harassment.
HURIWA recalled that according to the bill the Conduct deemed hate speech shall
be regarded as having the effect specified in subsection (1) (a) or (b) of this
section if, having regard to all the circumstances, including in particular the
perception of that other person, it should reasonably be considered as having
The Rights group however wants the bill dropped like a piece of hot poisonous
chalice that it is going by the well-grounded conspiracy theory that the so-
called legislation against hate speech is an indirect way being adopted by the
ruling party the All progressives congress to stave off still opposition
following the groundswell of opinion across all divides that the central
government has failed spectacularly to implement any of the electoral campaign
promises it made in 2015 prior to the general election in which APC deployed
vocal attacks and systematic propaganda and demonization which aided them to
wrestle political power from the then incumbent Peoples Democratic Party.
HURIWA argued that the bill as currently proposed is anachronistic,
unrealistic, unworkable and dictatorial even as the major provisions in the
proposed bill touches on areas of the laws already captured in many statutory
provisions scattered all over the federation in our law books. The Rights group
therefore dismissed the bill as smokescreen to muzzle civil opposition and to
stave off criticisms from all across Nigeria targeting the clear failures of
the current federal government.
A service courtesy of Washburn University School of Law www.washburnlaw.edu
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