March 20, 2017
The head of the Lawyers Syndicate, Sameh Ashour, announced a full, open-ended strike in front of criminal courts across the nation, in rejection to the imprisonment of seven lawyers in Minya charged with insulting the judicial system.
Sub syndicates of the Lawyers Syndicate located across Egypt’s governorates are called upon to join the strike.
On 12 March, the Minya Criminal Court handed five-year prison sentences to seven lawyers and ordered the retrial of two others.
Aside from the syndicate’s decision, a number of independent lawyers have already started an open-ended strike in front of all criminal courts present in their governorate.
The syndicate’s decision is obligatory for all lawyers, as Ashour ordered the formation of an operations room to follow up on the strike and monitor all lawyers who would violate the decision. This operation room will be in the general syndicate headquarters in Cairo.
Lawyers who are not committing to the decision of going on strike will be referred to disciplinary investigations and suspended from performing their work. The strike includes rallying in front of criminal courts, avoiding entering courtrooms or courts’ deliberations room, as well as not contacting judges or court officials.
March 17, 2017
The Bar Association of lawyers in Egypt has gone on strike after seven lawyers were jailed for five years for insulting a judge and the judiciary.
120 Cases have to be postponed as a result of the strike
In a statement released late yesterday the President of the Bar Association, Sameh Ashour, said: “The Bar Association in conjunction with the sub-councils of trade unions decided to organise a general strike in front of the criminal courts on Saturday.”
Read: Amnesty: Human rights crisis in Egypt continues
The lawyers had been found in contempt of insulting judges and the judicial system. Seven were handed five-year prison sentences while two others will face a retrial.
The original prosecution in May involved 22 lawyers 13 of whom were acquitted of all charges. Eight of the remaining lawyers had been sentenced to death and one was given a three year jail term.
March 16, 2017
Nine lawyers in Minya started an open-ended strike against working in front of the province courts, after being handed surprising sentences from Minya Criminal Court on Monday.
The court, headed by Judge Ahmed Mawood, handed five-year prison sentences to seven lawyers and ordered the retrial of the other two lawyers, all on accusations of insulting judges and the judicial system as a whole. One of the two lawyers facing retrial was handed a life sentence and the other a three-year prison sentence.
The lawyers’ case dates back to 2013, when they clashed with a judge named Ahmed Fathi during a rally arranged in front of a certain court in Minya. The judge filed a lawsuit against the lawyers, accusing them of not respecting the judiciary system and preventing him from performing his work.
The defendants previously were handed life sentences. Due to the lawyers’ strike against their work in Minya courts, 120 cases were postponed.
Despite reconciliation with the insulted judge, the lawyer received the aforementioned court ruling. The Lawyers’ Syndicate will take all legal procedures to appeal the court sentences.
The prosecution originally referred 22 lawyers to court for insulting judicial panel members; however, thirteen lawyers were released, while the other nine continued to face prosecution.
January 26, 2017
A prominent Egyptian human rights lawyer has been barred from leaving the country as military-backed administration of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi intensifies crackdown on dissidents and political opponents.
Negad Borai, who runs the United Group for Law, said on Thursday that he was stopped at Cairo Airport while attempting to travel to Jordan to visit his wife.
Officials at the airport stopped Borai following a request from the public prosecutor’s office.
Borai, who had earlier drafted an anti-torture bill and submitted it to President el-Sisi, is being accused of deliberately spreading false information, receiving illegal funds and incitement to resist authorities,
The Egyptian government has launched an investigation into Borai and two judges over proposing the draft law to combat torture.
January 8, 2017
Mr Mohamed Sadek lawyer and human rights Researcher, (This case is a clear example of ‘forced disappearance’, meaning the person in question was taken illegally, from the street, place of work or home and no one can get any information of their whereabouts). Mr Sadek was born 8 April 1980, graduated bachelor of shariah law, with Islamic law diploma from Cairo University in 2004.
He then went on to complete a general law diploma from Beni Suef University with masters in shariah and general law in 2007 from Al Azhar University Cairo. He also earned a diploma in international human rights from the College of economic and political science, Cairo University in 2015.
A specialist in the appeals court system. He is married and has 4 children, The lawyer in this case was defending prisoners from the “‘Aqrab prison”, he won visitation rights for prisoners families to see their loved ones as well as defending cases of enforced disappearance .Mr Sadek was invited by United Nations in Geneva , to attend a conference on the matter of ‘concern over enforced disappearances.’.
He then himself disappeared on 30 August, for 90 days. His arrest was witnessed at Giza Rail station by his relatives. On 31 August his family filed a complaint at the Egyptian Attorney General office, (complaint number 11472), and complained to the Bar association, who referred it to the organisation for lawyers “freedom committee “in protest against his illegal arrest by the security forces.
(2016) 41(4) AltLJ 290
Attacks on lawyers are increasing around the world, and represent a significant threat to the rule of law and democracy. They include extra judicial killings, disappearances, political imprisonments and torture, revocation of licences to practice among many forms of interference with a lawyer’s professional duty. They are usually aimed at human rights lawyers and legal critics of government policies.
Australia has not been immune, with a Melbourne lawyer slain a few years ago and a judge some years earlier. There we have also seen unprecedented attacks by the media and political figures on the judges who decided that Brexit must be authorised by Parliament.
The International Association of People’s Lawyers’ list of countries where there have been attacks on lawyers has grown to 115, about 20 per cent in Africa. Recently, human rights lawyers were assassinated in Kenya and Nigeria. In October 2016, at Nairobi, Kenya, the Pan African Lawyers Union Conference devoted a session to the problem.
In China the entire human rights lawyer community is under sustained attack. All have been sanctioned with a wide range of punishments, including prison, torture and loss of licence to practice. At a meeting in Brussels in November, representatives of European legal professional societies and lawyer activist groups met to plan activities for the 7th annual Day of the Endangered Lawyer, 24 January 2017 which focuses on China. In Australia, the Australian Lawyers for Human Rights is organising events for the day. Hopefully the professional societies will join their European colleagues and those in other countries to give support to the brave Chinese lawyers.
December 14, 2016
The Cairo Criminal Court upheld on Wednesday a decision to seize the assets of rights lawyer Azza Soliman, while postponing the ruling on the same issue for Mozn Hassan, director of NGO Nazra for Feminist Studies, to 11 January, according to the Center for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance (CEWLA).
Both Soliman, CEWLA’s director, and Hassan stood before court on Monday to proceed with their appeals against the freezing decisions. The court decisions are related to the prosecution of civil society workers in the case publicly known as the “foreign funding case.”
In a Monday statement, Nazra said: “In [Monday’s] court session at Abbassiya Court, which looked into the request for the freeze of lawyer Azza Soliman’s assets and that of her law firm, a request was made for the asset freeze of human rights defender Mozn Hassan and Nazra for Feminist Studies, within the context of case no.173 for the year 2011, known as the ‘NGO foreign funding case’, as her name is listed in the case.”