U.S. Lawyers Condemn State Of Emergency In Pakistan

by on November 12, 2007 · 3 comments

in Civil Disobedience, Civil Rights, Organizing, World News


Lawyers’ groups throughout the United States – including San Diego — have condemned the State of Emergency imposed on the people of Pakistan and the attacks on lawyers and the judiciary. A call has gone out for a demonstration in support of this condemnation, to be held Tuesday, November 13 at 1:00 p.m. at the San Diego Federal Building, at the intersection of Broadway and Front Street. The condemnation and protest is from the National Lawyers Guild, ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyers Club, Alliance for Justice, Center for Constitutional Rights, and Society of American Law Teachers.

Pakistani Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry is being held under house arrest, and over 2500 lawyers in different parts of Pakistan including the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association and other leaders of the Bar have been detained. Journalists said the government ordered that journalists who brought “ridicule or disrepute” to Musharraf could face three years in prison.

The real motivation for the emergency declaration “is not to defend the country against ‘Islamic extremists’ but to maintain Musharraf in power,” says Marjorie Cohn, President of the National Lawyers Guild and a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. The State of Emergency was declared after the Supreme Court indicated it would overturn the results of the illegitimate election that preserved Musharraf’s rule. Musharraf seeks to prevent public protests that lawyers and political parties have been organizing.

The demonstration that has been called for Tuesday, is to urge that President Musharraf immediately withdraw the emergency declaration of November 3, 2007, which suspends Pakistan’s Constitution. Musharraf’s declaration includes suspension of the right to life and liberty, freedom of speech, assembly and association, and equal protection of the law, all of which are guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Speakers include Marjorie Cohn, National Lawyers Guild; Kevin Keenan, ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties; Jerry Wallingford, SD Criminal Defense Lawyers Club; Paul Rodriguez, SD Criminal Defense Bar Association.

Marjorie Cohn, President, National Lawyers Guild,
marjorie @ tjsl.edu, 619-374-6923
Kate Yavenditti, S.D. Chapter, National Lawyers Guild,
kate @ lawyerkate.net, 619-531-9300

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

PiePipper November 18, 2007 at 8:48 pm

It is about time US lawyers did something besides make money!


OB Joe November 18, 2007 at 10:51 pm

PP – not all American lawyers make lots of money. But it is strange that lawyers in this country don’t do things politically together – except maybe fund some proposition or initiative or candidates. Lawyers in other countries, I can think of Mexico, France, now Pakistan,where they go to the streets.


PiePipper November 18, 2007 at 11:06 pm

Look, a lot of Americans make jokes about lawyers. When my younger brother heard that Pakistan had just arrested 1000 lawyers, he joked, “that’s a start.” He was just joking but it’s reflective of a mindset in this country that litigation is all that matters to lawyers. US lawyers feed into this mindset with their outrageous fees. And egos; besides doctors, lawyers have the biggest egos.
Why are lawyers getting arrested? where are the people?


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