Barefoot Lawyer

international

Barristers are invited to take part in a barefoot campaign as an act of solidarity with lawyers imprisoned or murdered simply for carrying out their professional duty.  On 12 November – Barefoot Lawyer Day – they are asked to join with legal professionals across the world, take off their shoes and socks, take a photo of themselves as barefooted lawyers and post it on twitter @tweetlawfeet or a facebook page of the same name. They can also support the petition at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/31796.

All lawyers – judges, barristers, law students, legal executives – are invited to take part. The campaign is being organised by barrister Jason Hadden, of St Ives Chambers, and Courtenay Barklem, human rights adviser at the Law Society, who say five lawyers have been murdered in Columbia this year, while more than 300 have been killed there since 1991.

They say similar stories exist throughout the world, in Russia, Mexico, China and Iran – for example, Iranian human rights lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani was sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment and sent to a remote corner of the country, in March this year.

The campaign is inspired by the Chinese lawyer, Chen Guangcheng, also known as the Barefoot Lawyer, who was born on 12 November, and was placed under house arrest from 2010 until his escape to the US last month.

Barklem says: “Lawyers are a vital part of a functioning justice system. This makes them a target for repressive regimes that want to stifle the truth and prevent reform. Interfering with a lawyer’s professional duty is to interfere with the administration of justice.”
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