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Presidential Rule of Law Letters

"Rule of Law" letters by the ABA president to national governments express the Association's concerns about alleged intimidation, harassment, or abuse of lawyers, judges, and human rights advocates.  Each letter reflects the ABA's independent research and analysis of the facts and relevant human rights instruments in each case, and copies are sent to the U.S. Secretary of State and other relevant officials. 

ALGERIA

Abuse, detention and prosecution of Mr. Rachid Mesli, defense attorney for the Islamic Salvation Front
March 1997 - President N. Lee Cooper

Harassment and Imprisonment of attorneys Brahim Taouti and Maitre Ali Zouita, members of the Islamic Salvation Front defense team
May 1993 - President J. Michael McWilliams

BANGLADESH

Protection of Rohingya People
June 29, 2020- President Judy Perry Martinez

BELARUS

Alleged reprimand of Vera Stremkovskaya for criticizing the Belarus government and possible criminal charges for representing politically unpopular defendants

Imprisonment of lawyers Maksim Znak, Illia Salei, and Liliya Vlasova (English)  (русский)
October 2020- President Patricia Lee Refo

BOLIVIA

Bolivia: Protect Judicial Independence
April 2010 - President Carolyn Lamm

CHINA

Sanctions Imposed on Essex Chambers

July 2021 - President Patricia Lee Refo

Interference with legal rights of political prisoner Wang Juntao
November 1992 - President J. Michael McWilliams

General Rule of Law communication prompted by Tiamanmen Square actions
June 1989 - President Robert D. Raven

COLOMBIA

Rule of Law letter to President Uribe Vélez regarding reported threats to lawyers
July 2006 - President Michael S. Greco

Intimidation and interogation of Dr. Jorge Eduardo Chemas
December 2001 - President Robert E. Hirshon

Murder of human rights lawyers Marcos Sanchez Castellon and Pedro Nel Jimenez
September 1988 - President Robert D. Raven

CROATIA

Criminal investigation of Ivan Zvonimir Cicak, President of the Croatian Helskinki Committee for Human Rights
November 1997 - President Jerome J. Shestack

CUBA

Arrest and prosecution of over 70 independent, peaceful activists including journalists, economists and human rights advocates
August 2003 - Alfred P. Carlton, Jr., President

Harassment of Dr. Rene Gomez Manzano, defense attorney for dissidents
July 1996 - President Roberta Cooper Ramo

EGYPT

Rule of Law letter to President Mubarak regarding prosecution and conviction of Professor Saad Eddin Ibrahim and his colleagues
August 2002 - President Robert E. Hirshon

Death of attorney Abdel-Harith Mandani, member of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights
June 1994 - President R. William Ide III

GUATEMALA

Letter to Guatemalan Postulation Commission Chair 
January 2022 - President Reginald M. Turner, Jr.

Carta al Presidente de la Comision de Postulacion de Guatemala
January 2022 - President Reginald M. Turner, Jr.

Letter to Guatemala Supreme Court on Threats against Judge Galvez (ENGLISH)

June 2022 - President Reginald M. Turner, Jr.

Letter to Guatemala Supreme Court on Threats against Judge Galvez (SPANISH)

June 2022 - President Reginald M. Turner, Jr.

HAITI

Disappearance of Laraque Exantus, a substitute public prosecutor
April 1994 - President R. William Ide III

Assassination of Monferrier Dorval
November 13, 2020 - Patricia Lee Refo

INDIA

Letter to Prime Minister Modi re. Imprisonment of Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association President Mian Abdul Qayoom
July 1, 2020- President Judy Perry Martinez

Letter to Minister of Law and Justice Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad re. arrest, detention, and possible deportation to Myanmar of Rohingya refugees in India
April 12, 2021- President Patricia Lee Refo 

Letter to Chief Justice of Supreme Court of India on detention of journalists Fahad Shah and Sajad Gul                                                                                                                                                                    April 2022 - President Reginald M. Turner, Jr.

INDONESIA

Disappearance of Desmond J. Mahesa, lawyer and human rights advocate; Pius Lustrilanang, Secretary-Feneral of the Indonesian Solidarity for Amien Rais and Megawait
March 1998 - President Jerome J. Shestack

Harassment of Mr. Bambang Widjojanto, head of the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation
November 1996 - President N. Lee Cooper

Detention of Muchtar Pakpaham, Leader of the Indonesian People's Council
November 1996 - President N. Lee Cooper

IRAN

Iran's treatment of human rights lawyer and advocate Abdolfattah Soltani
March 2013- President Laurel G. Bellows

IRAQ

Disciplinary actions faced by Iraqi lawyer Mohammed Jumaa (ENGLISH) (عربية)

IRELAND

Investigation into the murder of human rights lawyer, Rosemary Nelson
July 1999 - President Phillip S. Anderson

Police conduct towards lawyers defending parties charged with terrorism-related offenses and denial of rights for defendants in such cases
July 1998 - President Jerome J. Shestack

ISRAEL

Detention of Raji Khadar Sourani, Gaza defense lawyer
August 1998 - President Robert D. Raven

Designation of six Palestinian organizations as terrorist groups                                                        April 2022 - President Reginald M. Turner, Jr.

Administrative Detention of Diala Ayesh, Palestinian human rights lawyer                                  February 2024 - President Mary Smith    

JORDAN

Prohibition of Jordan Bar Association members to represent Israeli citizens before the courts in Jordan
January 2000 - President William G. Paul

KENYA

Urging independent investigation into murder of human rights defenders
March 2009 - President Mwai Kibaki

Firebombing of the office of Kituo Cha Sheria, legal aid organization
June 1995 - President George E. Bushnell, Jr.

Refusal by authorities of the Republic of Kenya to return to Gibson Kamau Kuria his passport
September 1988 - President Robert D. Raven

Arrest and detention of Gibson Kamau Kuria, Kenyan lawyer and law lecturer
August 1987 - President Eugene C. Thomas

LEBANON

Disciplinary measures against attorney Nizar Saghieh & amendments to Beirut Bar Association’s Legal Code of Ethics

June 2023 - President Deborah Enix-Ross

MALAYSIA

Contempt of Court proceeding again Manjeet Singh Dhillon, Secretary of the Malaysian Bar Council
May 1990- President L. Stanley Chauvin, Jr.

Letter to Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs re. Treatment and Protection of Rohingya People
June 29, 2020- President Judy Perry Martinez

MEXICO

Mexico's Response to President Hirshon's Letter
Spanish

Safety of human rights leader and lawyer Dr. Maria Teresa Jardi, her son, Dr. Julian Andrade Jardi and Hector Gutierrez Ugalde
July 1996 - President Roberta Cooper Ramo

Respect for the Rule of Law and to the right of legal representation
October 2020 - President Patricia Lee Refo

Respect for the Rule of Law and Judicial Independence in Mexico
July 2023 - President Deborah Enix-Ross

MYANMAR

Letter to Senior General Min Aung Hlaing regarding rule of law, independence of the judiciary and legal profession, and respect for human rights
July 2021 - President Patricia Lee Refo

NIGER

ABA President Urges Adherence to Rule of Law in Niger
September 2009- President Carolyn B. Lamm

NIGERIA

Concern about the alleged arrest and physical assault of Olisa Agbakoba, Nigerian human rights lawyer
March 1998 - Jerome J. Shestack

PALESTINE

Call for investigation into alleged retaliation by PA security forces against human rights lawyers
July 2021 - President Patricia Lee Refo

PAKISTAN

RE: Assassination of Bilal Kasi and Attacks on Lawyers
August 2016 - President Linda A. Klein

Re:  Assassination of Attorney Rashid Rehman
May 2014 - President James R. Silkenat

Regarding the state of emergency and detention of lawyers and human rights advocates
November 2007 - President William H. Neukom

Regarding the suspension of Chief Justice Chaudhry
April 2007 - President Karen J. Mathis

Defense counsel for Ayub Masih
July 1998 - President Jerome J. Shestack

PERU

Prosecution of Heriberto Benitez, human rights lawyer
October, 1997 - President Jerome J. Shestack

Penal proceedings against Carlos Chipoco Caceda, human rights lawyer
January 1993 - President J. Michael McWilliams

Murder of Manuel Febres and harassment of special prosecutor Carlos Escobar Pineda
February 1989 - President Robert D. Raven

PHILIPPINES

Threats against and harassment of lawyers Romero T. Capulang, Marie Yuviengco, and Rolando Rico Olalia
March 1998 - President Jerome J. Shestack

POLAND

Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court and other Rule of Law Concerns (ENGLISH)

Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court and other Rule of Law Concerns (POLISH)

May 2022, President Reginald Turner

SAUDI ARABIA

Letter to U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken re. Human Rights Abuses in Saudi Arabia
April 2021 - President Patricia Lee Refo

SERBIA

Allegations of assault on Mr. Nikola Barovic, human rights lawyer and advocate
September 1987 - President Jerome J. Shestack

SINGAPORE

Detention of Teo Soh Lunch, founding member of the Crimina Legal Aid Scheme of the Singapore Law Society and ammendments to the Internal Security Act
January 1990 - President L. Stanley Chauvin, Jr.

SPAIN

Ensure Judicial Independence in Garzon Matter
March 2010 - President Carolyn Lamm

SRI LANKA

Independence of Judiciary in Sri Lanka
January 2013 - President Laurel G. Bellows

Surveillance of Upul Jayasuriya.
September 2014 - President William C. Hubbard

Attacks against JC Weliamuna, a prominent human rights lawyer and government reform activist
November 2008 - President H. Thomas Wells, Jr.

SUDAN

Alleged arrest of Ali Alsayed, leading member of the Alliance for the Restoration and Democracy (ARD) and several other ARD lawyers
June 1998 - President Jerome J. Shestack

Reports regarding death sentences for thirteen persons tried before a special criminal court
December 1997 - President Jerome J. Shestack

Reports regarding the arrests of thirteen lawyers in Khartoum
August 1997 - President Jerome J. Shestack

Dissolution of the Sudanese Bar Association and the detention of five members of the Bar's Executive Council
January 1990 - President L. Stanley Chauvin, Jr.

SYRIA

Letter to E.U. re. protection of civilians in Northwest Syria
June 26, 2020- President Judy Perry Martinez

TUNISIA

Break in and burglary of the offices of Advocate Radhia Nasraoui, human rights lawyer
March 1998 - President Jerome J. Shestack

Detention of Mohammed Nejib Hosni, human rights lawyer
October 1994 - President George E. Bushnell, Jr.

TURKEY

Charges against Hasan Dogan
October 1997 - President Jerome J. Shestack

UNITED STATES

The Worsening International Humanitarian Crisis in Darfur, Sudan
March 2005 – President Robert J. Grey, Jr.

Action by the United States to Address the Crisis in Darfur
May 2004 – President Dennis W. Archer

UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights support
June 1993 - President J. Michael McWilliams

UKRAINE

Trial of Ivan Makar
October 1988 - President Robert D. Raven

VENEZUELA

Judicial Independence in Venezuela
May 2010 - President Lamm

ZIMBABWE

Crackdown on Law Society of Zimbabwe members
June 2008 – President William H. Neukom

Attack and detention of citizens at opposition meeting outside Harare
April 2007 – President Karen J. Mathis

Arrest and detention of Sernford Moyo and Wilbert Mapombere, President and Secretary, respectively, of the Zimbabwean Law Society
July 2002 - President Robert E. Hirshon

 

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