Nani has extensive experience in human rights litigation and is responsible for groundbreaking freedom of expression cases across several national and international jurisdictions.
Nani has overseen litigation worldwide on issues including freedom of expression, fair trial, torture and arbitrary detention, leading or advising on cases before a multitude of national courts, the European Court of Human Rights, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice, the East African Court of Justice, the UN Human Rights Committee, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
Selected case highlights are listed below.
Freedom of expression
Konaté v. Burkina Faso
Konaté v. Burkina Faso is the first freedom of expression judgment of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. In this landmark decision, the Court held that criminal defamation could only be resorted to under exceptional circumstances and that imprisonment never is an acceptable penalty for defamation. Burkina Faso was ordered to amend its criminal laws, which it did in 2015, and to pay compensation to Mr Konaté. Judgment in pdf In June 2016, the Court ordered Burkina Faso to pay Mr Konaté a total sum equalling USD 70,000 in reparations. Judgment on reparations in pdf The judgment was fully implemented in December 2016.
Burundi Journalists’ Union v. Burundi
In the case of Burundi Journalists’ Union v. Burundi, the East African Court of Justice for the first time confirmed that it had jurisdiction to hear press freedom cases. The Court determined that parts of the newly adopted Burundi Press Law violated Burundi’s obligations under international law to uphold human rights, in particular the right to freedom of expression. The Court ordered Burundi to amend the law. Judgment in pdf
Magyar Jeti Zrt v. Hungary
Magyar Jeti Zrt v. Hungary was the first case in which the European Court of Human Rights considered liability for hyperlinks for non-commercial speech by an online news publisher. The Court found that equating news website 444.hu’s use of hyperlinks with defamation was a violation of Article 10 of the European Convention. Judgment in pdf
Ismayilova v. Azerbaijan
Ismayilova v. Azerbaijan challenged the pre-trial detention of Azerbaijani investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova before the European Court of Human Rights. The Court found that Ms Ismayilova’s arrest and detention violated her human rights, acknowledging that her prosecution was intended to punish and silence her as a journalist. Judgment in pdf
Uwimana-Nkusi and Mukakibibi v. Rwanda
The case of Uwimana-Nkusi and Mukakibibi v. Rwanda challenges the conviction of two female Rwandan journalists to 4 and 3 years imprisonment on charges of criminal defamation and threatening national security. The case had previously been appealed before the Supreme Court of Rwanda, where their previous sentences of 17 and 7 years for criminal defamation, sedition and genocide minimisation had been reduced and partly overturned. The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights found in August 2020 that Rwanda had violated the journalists’ right to freedom of expression and that Rwanda’s laws criminalising insult and defamation were in violation of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and requested the country to amend them. Read more: African Commission finds Rwandan Authorities Violated Journalists’ Right to Freedom of Expression
Le Quoc Quan v. Vietnam
In the case of Le Quoc Quan v. Vietnam the UN Working Group of Arbitrary Detention found that human rights lawyer and blogger Le Quoc Quan had been arbitrarily detained and his right to a fair trial violated for lawfully exercising his right to freedom of expression. The Working Group requested Vietnam to take necessary steps to immediately release Mr Quan and that reparation be granted to him for the arbitrary detention that he suffered. Read more: UN Tribunal Condemns the Vietnamese Government for Its Arbitrary Detention of Journalist and Lawyer Le Quoc Quan
Ismayilova v. Azerbaijan
In Ismayilova v. Azerbaijan, the failure of the Azerbaijani authorities to protect Ms Ismayilova’s right to privacy, and their failure to investigate the grave privacy incursions committed against her, were challenged before the European Court of Human Rights. The Court found a violation of Ms Ismayilova’s privacy and freedom of expression rights and ordered Azerbaijan to pay compensation. Judgment in pdf
The Federation of African Journalists & Others v. The Gambia
The Federation of African Journalists & Others v. The Gambia successfully challenged two cases of torture committed by the Gambian authorities against journalist while in custody. The Court also found that The Gambia’s maintaining and implementation of criminal defamation, sedition and false news laws constituted a violation of its obligations under international law. Judgment in pdf
Reeyot Alemu & Eskinder Nega v. Ethiopia
The case of Reeyot Alemu & Eskinder Nega v. Ethiopia challenges the prosecution and conviction of two Ethiopian journalists under Ethiopia’s 2009 Anti-Terrorism Proclamation, arguing a violation of their right to freedom of expression, right to a fair trial, and Ms Alemu’s right to adequate healthcare. The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights ordered interim measures to be taken regarding the provision of healthcare to Ms Alemu. The complaint has been declared admissible for Ms Alemu; a challenge of the inadmissibility decision on Mr Nega’s claim is currently pending. Read more: Ethiopian journalist Reeyot Alemu released