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Pakistan the focus of 2020 Day of Endangered Lawyer

17 July 2019

The tenth annual Day of the Endangered Lawyer will focus on Pakistan, on 24 January 2020.

The Day of the Endangered Lawyer foundation is based in the Netherlands. It has developed a wide range of activities around the world on 24 January to raise awareness of lawyers who are being harassed, silenced, pressured, threatened, persecuted, tortured and murdered for their work as lawyers.

The day is commemorated on 24 January because on 24 January 1977 four lawyers and a coworker were murdered at their place of work in Madrid, Spain.

Of the perpetrators, who were affiliated with extreme right-wing parties and organizations, one was sentenced to 15 years in prison, another fled to Brazil and the third ended up in jail in Bolivia for drug smuggling.

The focus in 2019 has been on Turkey, with Egypt chosen for 2018.

Information released by the organisers says that over the past several years lawyers in Pakistan have been subjected to acts of mass terrorism, murder, attempted murder, assaults, (death) threats, contempt proceedings, harassment and intimidation in the execution of their professional duties.  

"They have also been arrested, detained or tortured, and in some cases the family members of the murdered lawyer have also been murdered.  Some lawyers have been threatened with disbarment or had their homes raided by the police.  Sometimes Christian lawyers or members of minority sects have been assaulted or threatened with death."

The most notorious attack on Pakistani lawyers occured on  August 8, 2016 when terrorists attacked the Government Hospital of Quetta with a suicide bombing and shooting which resulted in the death of 54 lawyers.  Since there has been an alarming increase in the number of lawyers murdered, with nine reported over the past year.

Last updated on the 16th September 2019