Legal Assistance

 

In every country you will be able to find some level of legal assistance, usually free, which is ready to help you develop a strategy and begin to build a defensive network around you.  You should know the organizations that might provide this kind of legal assistance before anything happens to you.  Every cartoonist, whether he or she intends to challenge authority or not, must be familiar with the organizations that are there to help support you in times of trouble.  You should know individual staff members of human rights organizations, journalist organizations, support organizations and legal firms that do pro bono (free of any charges) human rights work.

In many countries the legal system is totally corrupt.  Because the judiciary has been made afraid of the power of the dictator or the power of the militant fundamentalists, it will have little willingness to challenge those people attacking you.  

Even dictators and tyrants need to work in the international arena where they are expected to administer their countries within the guidelines of the United Nations as members of the international community of nations.  This works to your advantage.  Every dictator is eager to be seen internationally as leading a regime guided by the rule of law.  Today, there are examples of former dictators and tyrants being called to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the Netherlands.  At The Hague they are accused and put on trial for such crimes as mass murder, genocide, and even of using rape as a tool of war.  It is a reminder that in the long run, the leaders of corrupt, murderous regimes will be called to answer for their crimes.  This is where a good, courageous lawyer, who understands international law as well as domestic law, can protect your free speech rights as a critical part of your plan of action to get out of danger.  

Legal pressure on the judicial system to exonerate you or drop charges goes hand-in-hand with a strong local legal team, and, a strong international human rights team bringing public attention to the illegal actions of those who are attacking you.

The international support organizations for legal assistance will either directly pay an attorney or pay you to hire an attorney, so the lack of funds to pay a lawyer should never be a reason to be without legal representation.

Summary:

  • Familiarize yourself with the legal assistance organizations in your own country.
  • International legal assistance can be a powerful ally.

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