Human Rights Institute secures detentions

Pressure from the IBA's Human Rights Institute (HRI) has led to the detention of three people in connection with the killing of Eduardo Umana Mendoza, a human rights lawyer in Colombia.

Mendoza was shot in his apartment on 18 April by three men posing as TV journalists. He had been involved in representing guerrilla members and labour unions accused of links to guerrilla groups.

This success is the third for the HRI. In recent months, it secured pardons for four Mauritanian lawyers convicted of discrediting the government by producing a TV documentary about slavery in Mauritania.

More recently the HRI had the case against Kenyan lawyer Juma Kiplenge dropped. Kiplenge and his 13 co-defendants were on trial for incitement to violence and unlawful assembly.

The IBA has recently made representations to the governments of Iran, Belarus and Equitorial Guinea, in relation to lawyers whose human rights have been infringed.

Peter Goldsmith QC, co-chairman of the HRI and barrister at Fountain Court Chambers, hopes to improve links with other human rights organisations, in a move towards improving the power base to combat abuses.