December 5, 2017
L4L and LRWC are calling for the immediate release of prominent human rights lawyer Ms. Mahienour El-Massry, who was arrested on 18 November 2017 and has been transferred to a prison in Cairo far from her home base. Ms el-Massry faces illegitimate charges of participating in an unauthorized protest, insulting the President and thuggery for allegedly being at a protest. Ms el-Massry is known as an outstanding advocate for judicial independence and the rights of women, prisoners and workers. She has been the target of arbitrary detention and false prosecutions for a number of years.
Lawyers for Lawyers (L4L) is an independent and non-political Dutch foundation that seeks to promote the proper functioning of the rule of law by pursuing freedom and independence of the legal profession. L4L was granted Special Consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council in July 2013.
Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC) is a committee of lawyers and other human rights defenders who promote international human rights and the rule of law through advocacy, education and legal research. LRWC is a volunteer-run NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
We are extremely concerned about our Egyptian colleague and human rights lawyer Ms. Mahienour El-Massry.
According to our information, on 18 November 2017 Ms. El-Massry attended a session of the misdemeanour court in Alexandria in relation to her alleged participation in a protest against the government’s transfer of the Tiran and Sanafir islands to Saudi Arabia in June 2016. The court postponed the case until 30 December 2017, and also ordered the two defendants that were present, Ms. El-Massry and Mr. Moatasem Medhat, to remain in custody pending trial. The case also concerns human rights lawyer Asmaa Naeem, lawyer Waleed El Ammary and Zeyad Abou Fadl. The five of them are accused of “participating in an unauthorized protest”, “insulting the President” and thuggery.
Ms. El-Massry is a prominent human rights lawyer known for her activism in favour of judicial independence and the rights of prisoners, workers, and women.