Public Statement - The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concerns about the killing of judge and human rights defender Abdullah Abdelkader in Sudan

TORONTO, Dec. 7, 2015 /CNW/ - Abdullah Abdelkader was a judge and human rights defender, and a member of the Sudan Human Rights Monitor. He provided legal aid to victims of human rights violations, particularly in areas affected by armed conflict, including South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur. He was also very active in advocating for and supporting fellow human rights defenders in these regions.

It has come to our attention that on 24 August 2015, Abdullah Abdelkader, while visiting his hometown of El Abbasiya Tagali in South Kordofan State, was shot and killed by members of an armed group. Organizations have expressed concern that Abdullah Abdelkader was killed as a result of his legitimate human rights work as a lawyer.

The Law Society is deeply concerned about situations where members of the judiciary are themselves targeted in the legitimate exercise of their duties. The Law Society believes strongly in the protection of judicial independence. Judges frequently have to rule on controversial matters and interpret the law in areas where there is legal uncertainty. Judges must be able to make controversial, and even unpopular, rulings without fear of politically motivated sanctions.

The Law Society urges the government of the Republic of Sudan to:

a. 

guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of all lawyers, members of the judiciary and human rights defenders in Sudan;



b.  

conduct a fair, impartial and independent investigation into the killing of Abdullah Abdelkader in order to identify all those responsible, bring them to trial and apply to them civil, penal and/or administrative sanctions provided by law; and



c. 

ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments.

*The Law Society of Upper Canada is the governing body for more than 49,000 lawyers and 7,400 paralegals in the province of Ontario, Canada. The Treasurer is the head of the Law Society. The mandate of the Law Society is to govern the legal profession in the public interest by upholding the independence, integrity and honour of the legal profession for the purpose of advancing the cause of justice and the rule of law.

SOURCE The Law Society of Upper Canada

For further information: Susan Tonkin, Communications Advisor - Media Relations, at 416-947-7605 or stonkin@lsuc.on.ca. The Law Society of Upper Canada, Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON, M5H 2N6, www.lsuc.on.ca

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