Egyptian lawyers Hoda Abdel Moneim, Tarek Al-Silkawi, Ezzat Ghoneim and Mohammed Abu Horeira sentenced to imprisonment
Lawyers for Lawyers received the news that Egyptian lawyers Hoda Abdel Moneim, Tarek Al-Silkawi, Ezzat Ghoneim and Mohammed Abu Horeira have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms. On 5 March 2023, the four Egyptian lawyers were sentenced to between 5 and 15 years imprisonment by an Emergency State Security Court (ESSC). Lawyers for Lawyers is deeply concerned that these prison sentences are linked to their professional activities as defence lawyers.
Mr. Ezzat Eid Taha Fadl Ghoneim is a lawyer and human rights defender and is the Executive Director of the Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF). He has worked with victims of torture and enforced disappearances and on fair trial guarantees. He has defended political prisoners in both military and state security courts.
Mrs. Hoda Abdel Moneim was a human rights defender and a respected member of the legal community in Egypt, working on cases before the Egyptian court of Cassation and Supreme Constitutional Court. She is a former member of the National Council for Human Rights and took on sensitive human rights cases, such as providing legal advice to the families of victims of enforced disappearances. Lawyers for Lawyers has followed the case of Mrs. Abdel Moneim for many years.
Mr. Horeira and Mr. Al-Silkawi both are human rights lawyers.
Ezzat Ghoneim, Tarek Al-Silkawi and Mohammed Abu Horeira were all sentenced to 15 years imprisonment. Mrs. Hoda Abdel Moneim was sentenced to 5 years of imprisonment. According to reports, they were convicted for joining and financing a terrorist group and for spreading “false news” on the human rights abuses by security forces.
As the lawyers have been sentenced by an ESSC, this means the lawyers cannot appeal their sentences. Reportedly, the defendants were banned from speaking to their lawyers in private throughout the investigation and the trial. During some of the interrogations by Supreme State Security Prosecution (SSSP) in this case, the representing lawyers could not be present. Lawyers also said they were not permitted to access their clients’ case files during the investigation. Allegedly, the court relied on eyewitness testimonies by National Security Agency (NSA) officers, which were accepted without adequate cross-examination, and did not allow all defendants to speak in court.
The targeting of Hoda Abdel Moneim, Tarek Al-Silkawi, Ezzat Ghoneim and Mohammed Abu Horeira is part of a wider crackdown against human rights defenders and civil society organized by the Egyptian government. Lawyers for Lawyers will continue to stand up for Egyptian lawyers that face harassment, reprisals or interference in light of exercising their professional duties as lawyers.
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