January 24, 2018
On the 8th international Day of the Endangered Lawyer, the Bar Council and the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC) together with lawyers’ organisations in Europe and around the world, stand in solidarity with those lawyers in Egypt who face persecution in furtherance of the protection of the rule of law. This is also the day to remember lawyers at risk across the world.
For the protection these lawyers afford to others, they are often watched, tracked, falsely prosecuted, deprived of their liberty, or even killed. Each of those instances is a serious threat not only to those lawyers, but to the meaningful protection of the rights they seek to defend.
For 2018, the Day of the Endangered Lawyer is focused on Egypt, in light of widespread credible reports from human rights organisations that Egyptian authorities are “rapidly taking concrete steps to shut down the last critical voices in the country’s human rights community.”
Since 2013, fundamental human rights, including the right to a fair trial and freedom of expression and assembly, have been diminished on an ongoing basis by broad security legislation. In the last two years, there has been an increase in the number of arrests of lawyers who provide counsel and representation to human rights defenders, many of whom face extended pre-trial detention without a reasoned decision for refusing conditional release. There are widespread reports from international organisations that those in detention are at risk of torture and degrading treatment.
Kirsty Brimelow QC, Chair of BHRC, said: