KCBA Organizes Protest Rally
 
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The KCBA received a call to action from the ABA late on Friday, November 9th, urging attorneys across the country to gather on Wednesday, November 14th to show their solidarity with the lawyers and judges in Pakistan and to defend the rule of law.


Bill Neukom, ABA President said in a message….

”Over the last few days, brave Pakistani lawyers have dressed for work and headed to court knowing that they would be met by policemen’s batons and tear gas instead of their clients. These lawyers went to work anyway because of their belief in the rule of law.

“It is time for us to demonstrate that we share Pakistani lawyers’ commitment to justice. Together, we will show that they are not fighting alone.”


With only a day and a half for permits and planning, KCBA met the challenge and organized a rally at the federal courthouse in Seattle that received local media coverage by the Seattle Times, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in addition to national coverage on NPR radio.

According to Eileen Concannon, KCBA President, it is very unusual for lawyers to be “called into action” in our country but when KCBA called, approximately 350 lawyers came - most of them in courtroom attire. They circled the federal courthouse and then gathered at the steps and listened to presentations from Eileen Concannon; Tayyab Mahmud, a Seattle University School of Law professor; John McKay, Former US Attorney and now a professor at Seattle University School of Law; Hozaifa Cassubhai, an new attorney who spent 12 years in Pakistan as a child; and Shankar Narayan, President-Elect of the Asian Bar Association of Washington.

 

Attendees heard the following emailed message from
Devin Theriot-Orr, a Washington Lawyer working in Pakistan:

********************

Sent: Wednesday, November 14, 2007 3:59 AM
To: Concannon, Eileen
Subject: KCBA support for Pakistan's lawyers and judges

Hi Eileen,

I don't think we've met, but I'm a lawyer from the Seattle area currently living and working in Pakistan. I heard that KCBA was holding a protest rally today and I just wanted to tell you that these rallies really do make the news here and give a positive boost to people's morale.

It's so important for lawyers everywhere to stand in solidarity with our colleagues in Pakistan, who have been on the front lines this year in pushing for the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary here.

Many of my friends are in jail, and there were reports today that one lawyer was tortured and is in critical condition in a hospital. With this backdrop, the support of the international community is critical.

Even more important is that people express their outrage to your elected representatives in Congress and your non-elected representatives in the State Department. Yes, the US has called on Musharraf to end the emergency and take off his uniform, but absent from these demands is any mention of the sacked judges, many of whom are under house arrest, or the arrested lawyers. If Musharraf manages to hold on to power to have his coup sanctioned by his hand-picked judges, it will be a disaster for the rule of law and create a dangerous precedent for other world leaders to turn to when faced with an uncompromising judiciary.

Please pass this email on to your colleagues in the bar association and send me links to any pictures from the protest so that I can forward them to my friends here. Please know that your actions do have an impact and that we need moral lawyers to be in the streets of the USA.

In solidarity,

Devin Theriot-Orr
Research Fellow, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan UWLS '03,
WSBA #33995

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