Across the world, there have been reports of lawyers being arrested, tortured, threatened and intimidated. In Mexico last month, Griselda Tirado Evangelio, a defender of indigenous communities in the country, was murdered.
International human rights organisations warned that last year’s unprecedented level of cases of lawyers under threat has not reduced, while new countries such as Belize appear to be persecuting lawyers representing people accused of security or terrorism offences.
A spokeswoman for the International Bar Association’s human rights institute said: ‘The level of [complaints] is about the same as last year but we have one or two new countries as well. We have written to Belize, which we have never done before.’
In Belize, human rights lawyer Antoinette Moore and her husband have been arrested for drug trafficking. Ms Moore regularly works on police brutality cases and had been subject to harassment in the past.