Providing protective publicity and support to unjustly jailed lawyers


For the #FreeTheLawyers campaign, Lawyers for Lawyers has highlighted the cases of six courageous lawyers who are unjustly jailed for upholding the rule of law: Selçuk Kozağaçlı from Turkey, Li Yuhan and Yu Wensheng from China, Nasrin Sotoudeh from Iran, Waleed Abu al-Khair from Saudi Arabia and Buzurgmehr Yorov from Tajikistan. Read more about these six lawyers below. The illustrations were made by Elisabeth van der Spek.

Selçuk Kozağaçlı

Selçuk Kozağaçlı from Turkey is a lawyer and member of the People’s Law Office who worked on many human rights cases. Selçuk Kozağaçlı is well- known for working on the “Soma Mine” disaster,the worst mine disaster in Turkey’s history, in which 301 miners were killed. He is also president of the ÇHD, an association which focuses on the right to life and advocates for the prevention of all types of attack on fundamental rights and human dignity. Selçuk Kozağaçlı was sentenced to 11 years and 3 months of imprisonment in connection to his work as a lawyer. Click here to read more.

Li Yuhan

Li Yuhan is a human rights lawyer from China. Li Yuhan represented sensitive matters of freedom of belief and access to government information. During the 709 crackdown she defended human rights lawyer Wang Yu. Li Yuhan was arrested on 9 October 2017 and has been imprisoned ever since. Li Yuhan’s trial was scheduled for April 9, 2019, but was postponed. A new trial date has not been announced yet. Her health has been in poor condition during her detention. Nevertheless, applications for bail have been denied. Click here to read more.

Waleed Abu al-Khair

Waleed Abu al-Khair is one of the best-known voices for democratic and human rights reforms in Saudi Arabia. As a lawyer he has been an outspoken advocate for an elected parliament, an independent judiciary, a constitutional monarchy and recognition of human rights. Waleed Abu Al-Khair was arrested in April 2014. On February 15, 2015, the Specialized Criminal Court of Appeal in Riyadh confirmed a sentence of fifteen years in prison, a travel ban of equal duration following imprisonment and a fine. Click here to read more.

Nasrin Sotoudeh

Nasrin Sotoudeh is a prominent Iranian human rights lawyer who has acted as the lawyer for women’s rights activists who protested against the compulsory veiling in Iran and were subsequently prosecuted. She has also worked on other high profile cases such as Shirin Ebadi and Zahra Bahrami. Nasrin has been sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes in connection to her work as a lawyer. Click here to read more.

Buzurgmehr Yorov

Yorov is one of Tajikistan’s most eminent human rights lawyers, a reputation developed by taking on a number of high-profile legal cases, representing individuals prosecuted by the government of Tajikistan on politically-motivated charges. Yorov was arrested on 28 September 2015. At the time of his arrest, Yorov had just started to represent thirteen senior leaders of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT). Yorov has been sentenced to 22 years imprisonment. Click here to read more.

Yu Wensheng

Yu Wensheng is a well-known and outspoken Chinese human rights lawyer who has often been actively involved in politically sensitive cases against the government. His clients have included other human rights lawyers, such as Wang Quanzhang, who has recently been released. He went through a secret trial in May 2019 has been sentenced to four years in prison and has been deprived of his political rights for three years for “inciting subversion of state. Click here to read more.