In response to reports that Asia Bibi’s lawyer, Saif Ul Malook, has received death threats and been granted temporary asylum in the Netherlands, legal leaders in England and Wales have made the following statements.

 

Andrew Walker QC, Chair of the Bar Council, said:

“No lawyer, in any jurisdiction, should fear intimidation or violence for doing their job. When a lawyer feels at risk for representing a client, the client’s right to access to justice and a fair trial is denied and the rule of law itself is threatened. It is the duty of every government to ensure the safety of its lawyers.”

Kirsty Brimelow QC, Chair of the Bar Human Rights Committee said :

“Pakistan has an international legal duty to protect its lawyers. The UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers underline the Government’s duty to ensure that lawyers be able to perform their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference.  We look to Pakistan to  publicly support Saif Ul Malook and to implement measures to enable his return to his home and country.”

 

NOTES:

  1. Further information is available from the Bar Council Press Office on 020 7222 2525 and Press@BarCouncil.org.uk.
  2. The Bar Council represents barristers in England and Wales (over 16,000). It promotes:
  • The Bar’s high quality specialist advocacy and advisory services
  • Fair access to justice for all
  • The highest standards of ethics, equality and diversity across the profession, and
  • The development of business opportunities for barristers at home and abroad.

The General Council of the Bar is the Approved Regulator of the Bar of England and Wales. It discharges its regulatory functions through the independent Bar Standards Board .

3. The Bar Human Rights Committee (BHRC) was founded in 1991, by the former Chairman of the Bar Council of England and Wales, Anthony Scrivener QC.  BHRC is the international human rights arm of the Bar of England and Wales, working to protect the rights of advocates, judges and human rights defenders around the world. The BHRC is concerned with defending the rule of law and internationally recognised legal standards relating to human rights and the right to a fair trial. It is independent of the Bar Council.