Communities targeted for harassment and prosecutions
Protest by lawyers at the Spanish Embassy UK on the International Day of Solidarity with Basque lawyers in Spain
26th January 2013 - The Day of the Endangered Lawyers on 24 January 2013 was marked by simultaneous actions by lawyers taking place in major cities across Europe. The day of action was organized this year by three European European lawyers’ associations: the European Democratic Lawyers (AED-EDL, www.aed-edl.net), the European Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights (ELDH, www.eldh.eu) and the European Bar Human Rights Institute (IDHAE, www.idhae.org). Together they represent lawyers all over Europe.
In London representatives of ELDH, Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers and CAMPACC held a protest outside the Spanish Embassy. Lawyers, human rights defenders and supporters stood in solidarity with Basque lawyers who are being kept incommunicado, ill-treated and detained on charges which later are found to be unfounded and unlawful, targeted for exercising their professional duties to clients accused of terrorism.
The protest began at midday and was joined by Prof Bill Bowring, the President of the European Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights, Michael Mansfield QC, President of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers and representatives from the Basque and Kurdish community, CagePrisoners amd the Mumia Abu Jamal Defence Campaign (UK). Jeremy Corbyn MP sent a message of support. A police officer prevented the protesters from standing outside the Embassy and permitted only one person to hand the petition into the Embassy. Michael Mansfield QC handed the petition in (see attached).
Michael Mansfield QC said: “I am here because I feel very strongly that anyone defending human rights in oppressive circumstances requires collective support. I am conscious of this need personally, having done the same sort of work as these lawyers have for the Basques for the Irish in England. We all have an obligation to support their survival because without these lawyers the rights they defend will not survive.”
Professor Bill Bowring: “We are here in solidarity with our Basque colleagues who have been arrested and held incommunicado without charge and later acquitted. This is systematic and intentional action on the part of the Spanish state designed to prevent these lawyers from representing their clients”.
Saghir Hussain of Cage Prisoners: "CagePrisoners condemn this action by the Spanish authorities to immoblise and harass lawyers. CagePrisoners will not tolerate governments who try to stop lawyers defending those arrested by the state."
Photos by Philip Khaled Brennan: http://derbluthund.deviantart.com