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“Committed to speaking truth to power”

“Every piece of work undertaken by Soraya has been completed to a very high standard. A delight to work with”

“Exceptionally sharp and reliable. Soraya was easy to work with and I look forward to instructing her again.”

“Soraya is a pleasure to work with. She quickly puts clients at ease and earns their confidence in her well-considered advice. Her case preparation is meticulous and she is always available and willing to discuss the nuances of a particular case with those who instruct her.”

Soraya is an exceptional lawyer. She is strategic, diligent and is able to highlight the technical challenges in investigations.

Legal 500 UK Bar 2024

“Soraya always delivers exceptional results”.

“Every piece of work undertaken by Soraya has been completed to a very high standard. A delight to work with”

Instructing solicitor

“We were very impressed with the quality of service provided by Soraya generally. Her overall handling of the case was exceptional and we would be honoured to instruct her on future cases.”

“Thank you so much for a successful outcome. The lay client described Soraya’s performance in court as excellent, her cross-examination of the prosecution witnesses revealing and powerful”

Instructing solicitor

“Very meticulous and thoughtful with a depth and breadth of experience.”

Legal 500 UK Bar 2023

“A great outcome! The lay client emailed me to say how excellent Soraya was and very pleased with the outcome.”

Instructing solicitor

Soraya specialises in Crime, International Human Rights Law and International Criminal Law. Soraya is an engaging and robust trial advocate, known for her meticulous preparation, methodical analysis and exceptional client care.

Recognised in the Legal 500 as a leading junior in Crime for two years in a row, Soraya’s criminal practice includes terrorism and public justice offences, serious violence and firearms, as well as fraud, financial crimes and sexual offences. Soraya has been led and appeared alone in criminal and regulatory matters that frequently involve an international or human rights dimension. She has also represented petitioners before the UN Ombudsperson to the ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee.

In her international practice, Soraya is frequently instructed to represent victims of serious human rights abuses carried out by States before the United Nations Special Procedures,  with a particular focus on the protection of human rights defenders as well as victims of state-sponsored sexual and gender-based violence.  Soraya is also instructed to advise on global sanctions against state agents or bodies for grave human rights abuses.

Between 2021 and 2023, Soraya combined her practice alongside her role as Deputy Director of Reprieve UK, a leading international legal services NGO working to end the use of the death penalty globally, and to end extreme human rights abuses carried out in the name of counterterrorism or national security.

Crime

Soraya has a busy defence only criminal practice in the Crown Court with a wide range of experience across the spectrum of criminal offences. She has been led and appeared alone in matters involving terrorism, large-scale money laundering and fraud, multi-handed firearms, serious violence and organised crime, and sexual offences.

Cases

  • R v LU (2023, ongoing): led junior representing a client facing one count of possession of material likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism and several counts of fraud relating to online ‘crypto’ currency transactions.
  • R v FH (2023, ongoing): junior alone representing a former soldier charged with possession of firearms and conversion of imitation firearms.
  • R v LM and others (2023, Reading Crown Court): led junior in a 6-week week trial resulting in acquittal for a client charged with attempting to assist an offender to evade arrest, namely his younger brother, who had pleaded guilty to the stabbing and murder of a young man in the local area.
  • R v KT and others (2023, Lewes Crown Court): junior alone successfully representing a young man facing several counts of possession of firearms with intent to cause fear of violence, conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and possession of criminal property.
  • R v MAS (2023, Central Criminal Court): led junior in a 4-week terrorism trial representing an autistic client facing eight counts of possession of material likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, resulting in acquittals on five counts.
  • R v KA (2022, Central Criminal Court): led junior in a 3-week terrorism trial representing a client facing three counts of disseminating terrorist publications and possession of a machete in circumstances which give rise to a reasonable suspicion that his possession was intended for a purpose connected with the commission or preparation of an act of terrorism, resulting in acquittals on all counts.
  • R v OT (2021, Southwark Crown Court): 6-month conspiracy to launder money and recruit ‘money mules’ to transfer fraudulently obtained credit.
  • R v HL (2021, Woolwich Crown Court): secured the acquittal of a victim of modern slavery with severe learning disabilities for firearms offences who had been ‘cuckooed’ and exploited by an organised criminal group.
  • R v MG and others (2021, Isleworth Crown Court): multi-handed ‘county lines’ conspiracy to supply Class A drugs across England.
  • R v FN and Others (2021, Isleworth Crown Court): Multi-handed drugs conspiracy involving the commercial production of cocaine.
  • R v CS (2021, Snaresbrook Crown Court):  conspiracy to supply 2kg of cocaine and possession of criminal property.
  • R v VP (2020, Kingston Crown Court): possession of firearms and offensive weapons.
  • R v MT (2020, Southwark Crown Court): ‘one punch’ GBH in which the complainant suffered long term impairment to their hearing and sense of smell.
  • R v MSV (2020, Southwark Crown Court): Large scale commercial cultivation of cannabis inside a luxury London home.
  • Metropolitan Police v AV (2020, Willesden Magistrates Court):  successfully opposing a police closure order for a venue in West London by challenging police evidence relating to the use of the Gang Matrix.

 

International human rights

Soraya has an established career in international human rights spanning over ten years, with particular expertise in strategic litigation before UN mechanisms on behalf of victims seeking to hold governments to account for egregious human rights abuses, resulting in a range of successful opinions before the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

She is regularly instructed by NGOs and victims of egregious human rights abuses, either seeking redress before international mechanisms or seeking to identify whether domestic legislation complies with international law.

Soraya has particular expertise in addressing the nexus between international obligations and domestic law, with a focus on victims of modern day slavery and human trafficking in both a criminal and labour context. She has trained prosecutors on the application of the non-punishment principle and state compliance with anti-trafficking provisions.

Soraya is adept at advising on human rights and business, particularly in the context of labour laws, discrimination and international law. For example, Soraya was recently instructed to provide a wide-ranging assessment of whether Jordan’s domestic employment and social security  laws met international minimum standards for non-discrimination.

Soraya frequently advises on sanctions regimes and measures, particularly under the Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations 2020 and other global Magnitsky laws aimed at holding perpetrators and entities alleged to have been involved in gross human rights abuses to account.

Soraya has made written and oral submissions before various UN fora, including the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the UN Committee Against Torture, and the Universal Periodic Review, on developments in the application of international law relating to juvenile justice, the right to protest, counterterrorism, and the death penalty.

Soraya has also authored best practice manuals on the use of international law in domestic proceedings and provides training to NGOs, human rights defenders and lawyers.

International criminal law

Soraya has a developing international criminal law practice, drawing on her extensive knowledge of the MENA region, frequently advising on issues around complicity for genocide or war crimes by entities and banks in the MENA region with respect to alleged atrocities committed in Iraq and Syria. She frequently advises on investigation of atrocity crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

In 2021, Soraya was appointed to the legal team of the Accountability Unit, an NGO promoting the rights of victims and survivors of gender-based conflict in the South Caucuses and the Middle East with a key focus on Turkey.

Soraya was also instructed in the Uyghur Tribunal, investigating allegations of ongoing crimes against humanity and possible genocide committed by the Peoples’ Republic of China against the Uyghur and other Turkic Muslim ethnic groups in North western China.

Achievements

Education

  • BPTC, City Law School, City University of London
  • Graduate Diploma in Law, BPP University Law School
  • BA (Hons) Arabic and Hebrew, The School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

Memberships

  • Executive Committee of the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales
  • CPS Panel advocate – Grade 2
  • Criminal Bar Association
  • The Accountability Unit

Languages

  • English (native)
  • Arabic (native)
  • French (native)
  • Hebrew (fluent)
  • Spanish (intermediate)
  • Farsi (beginner)
  • Brazilian Portuguese (beginner)
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