24 January 2023
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#DefendingTheDefenders – Episode 7: UN Special Rapporteur Margaret Satterthwaite

On the 24th of January, the Day of the Endangered Lawyer, we conclude our podcast with a conversation with Margaret Satterthwaite. She is a professor of Clinical Law at New York University and was appointed as United Nations Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers in October 2022. In this season, we have been looking at the challenges and dangers lawyers and human rights defenders face in their work in many different countries. We have been talking about Poland, Belarus, Turkey, Afghanistan, Colombia and the European Union. From harassments over identifications of lawyers with their clients to media pressure, SLAPP suits, imprisonments and violent attacks, we have talked about a range of threats lawyers face particularly in countries where the rule of law is fragile or where there is democratic backsliding, but not only there. In this conversation, Margaret Sattertwhaite offers a global perspective on the topic of our podcast, the defence of the defenders. We talk about global trends in challenges to the independence of lawyers, and we talk about structural problems that need to be addressed to defend the defenders around the globe. In addition, we circle back to Afghanistan, the country in focus of this year's Day of the Endangered Lawyer, and the horrific situation of lawyers, in particular women, there.
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  1. Claire Tue 24 Jan 2023 at 14:52 - Reply

    Thank you for this podcast. Watching Belarus and other countries, especially since the election of 2020 Lukashenka stole to become dictator, protecting lawyers who’ve been arrested for representing innocent citizens fighting for Democracy is crucial.
    This has also become. a major issue int US, even more so since election 2016 when racism was exalted. This was such an excellent podcast, but I will stop here because so much was already well covered, including horrific misogyny and the need to protect women and women’s rights around the world.

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20 January 2023
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#DefendingTheDefenders – Episode 6: The European Union

In the sixth episode of our rule of law podcast #DefendingTheDefenders with Deutscher Anwaltverein, we talk about the European Union and the state of the professional freedom of attorneys there. Within the jurisdiction of the European Union, there are a number of issues attorneys and their associations are worried about. The right to defence and legal services as well as the attorney-client-relationship is being targeted in an unjustified manner in areas such as the fight against money laundering or terrorism as well as in sanctions packages against Russian corporations in the wake of Russia's ongoing war against Ukraine, they say. EU institutions feel differently, however. They see the instruments under criticism as a proportionate way to address the professional freedom of lawyers as well as the right to defence on the one side and general interests on the other side. We talk to both sides to learn more about the concerns and the regulators' reasons. Our guests in this episode are James MacGuill, the president of the Council of Bars and Law Societies in Europe (CCBE) in 2022, and Florian Geyer, Head of Unit in the Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers at the European Commission.
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06 January 2023
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#DefendingTheDefenders – Episode 5: Colombia

The fifth episode of #DefendingTheDefenders, the rule of law podcast by Deutscher Anwaltverein and Verfassungsblog, focuses on Colombia, where the situation for attorneys and human rights defenders is particularly dangerous. In recent years, hundreds of attorneys and human rights defenders have been killed, death threats against them are being made on a regular basis, and they have been under pressure by the government as well. The danger they face in their work is deeply connected to the issues they fight for and the clients they represent. In this episode, we talk to Claudia Müller-Hoff, a human rights defender that has worked in Germany for the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights and in Colombia for the Colectivo de Abogados José Alvear Restrepo about the way attorneys and human rights defenders work in these conditions and what needs to be done to protect them. 
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30 December 2022
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#DefendingTheDefenders – Episode 4: Turkey

In the fourth episode of #DefendingTheDefenders we talk about the situation of lawyers in Turkey with VEYSEL OK. He is an attorney in Istanbul and the Co-Director of the Media and Law Studies Association, a non-profit which monitors and defends freedom of expression cases against journalists. Veysel has defended high-profile cases such as those against the journalist Deniz Yücel and the novelist Ahmet Altan. Following his work as an attorney in these cases, he has been subject to harassment and prosecution himself. In this episode we discuss how the Turkish government tries to get rid of independent lawyers altogether – and the brave struggle by attorneys in Turkey who fight for those that are being prosecuted for political reasons even though the consequences may be grave. We also talk about what the European Union and its member states need to do in their relations with Turkey to support the fight for the rule of law and democracy. VEYSEL OK is a leading lawyer for freedom of speech and media based in Istanbul. He defends media and journalists. Previously, he worked as a lawyer for the now-defunct Taraf newspaper, and then went on to start the non-government organization “Media and Law Studies Association” (MLSA), which provides pro-bono legal support to writers and journalists who have been subject to intimidation, surveillance, smear campaigns and legal harassment. Throughout his career, he has defended more than 100 journalists regardless of their ideological, political and ethnic backgrounds, or popularity level. He has defended writers and journalists vilified by the Turkish government, such as Ahmet Altan, the novelist, and Deniz Yücel, the Die Welt correspondent. Outside the courthouse, Veysel Ok has been leading advocacy campaigns for those writers, journalists or dissenters wrongfully imprisoned for expressing their free opinions. Veysel Ok has himself faced surveillance and legal harassment for standing up for freedom of pres