Human rights activists in Sudan are being prosecuted in what critics are calling a “morality” trial.
Six activists, all of whom are affiliated with Khartoum Center for Training and Human Development (TRACKS), have been charged with undermining the constitutional system, waging war against the State, espionage, and terrorism. If convicted, they could be sentenced to life in prison, or death.
Have you ever tweeted about a court case while it was still in progress? Or written a story arguing for a person’s innocence while they were still on trial?
Under a new bill in Singapore, these activities could get you in trouble with the law.
The Singapore Parliament is now deliberating the proposed Administration of Justice (Protection) bill which aims to clarify the meaning of “contempt of court”. The bill defines this as an umbrella term, covering prejudicing court matters, disobeying court orders, and scandalizing the courts. It also provides penalties appropriate for these actions.
Over 25 years ago, Souleymane Guengueng, a deeply religious civil servant who watched dozens of his cellmates succumb to torture and disease in Hissène Habré’s Chadian prisons, took an oath that if he ever got out of jail alive, he would bring his tormentors to justice.
Today I sat alongside Souleymane and other survivors as Habré was convicted of atrocities by a special court in Senegal, where he’s lived in luxurious exile since his overthrow in 1990.
For many years, as Souleymane and his colleagues hit one obstacle after another on their path to justice, the common refrain was that they would never succeed. But in a case which looked dead so many times, the victims made it clear that they would never go away. They pressed forward in Senegal and Belgium, at the UN Committee against Torture, at the African Union and, with the support of Belgium, at the International Court of Justice. As the NY Times wrote recently, “many African countries have endured abusive dictators, warlords and large-scale bloodshed that has gone unpunished. But the Habré case has stood out because of determined victims who were advised and supported by Human Rights Watch and other advocates.”