Letter about situation of lawyers
6 July 2017

Letter about situation of lawyers


Lawyers for Lawyers has grave concerns about the situation of lawyers in Egypt. Recently, several lawyers were arrested. Lawyers for Lawyers has sent a letter to the Egyptian authorities to express concerns, and call for the release of these lawyers.

On 23 May 2017,  Khaled Ali, a prominent human rights lawyer and a former presidential candidate, was summoned for questioning and detained, and the day after released on bail. According to his lawyer Negad el Borai, Khaled Ali is charged with making physical gestures “that violate public morals”. The charge relates to a photo showing Khalid Ali celebrating with his supporters outside the Supreme Administrative Court, after a judgement was issued reversing a government decision to hand over control of the Tiran and Sanafir islands to Saudi Arabia. Khaled Ali denies the charges. If convicted he would not only face a prison sentence or a fine, but would be barred from running for the presidency. A hearing in the trial against him took place on 3 July 2017.

Another lawyer was arrested in connection to protests over the transfer of Tiran and Sanafir islands to Saudi Arabia. Human rights lawyer Tarek Hussein was arrested on 17 June 2017. Police officers also confiscated his laptop and cell phone. During his arrest Tarek Hussein requested to see the arrest warrant but was not shown any and was physically and verbally assaulted instead. He was subsequently brought before the Al-Khanka District Prosecution, where he was accused of “joining an illegal organisation” and “calling for a protest”. On 18 June 2017 the Al-Khanka District Prosecution ordered Tarek Hussein’s release on a 2000 EGP (approx. 99 euros) bail, which has been duly paid. However, we were informed that Tarek Hussein was not released. In addition, allegations of ill-treatment including physical and verbal assault were reported.

Mohamed Ramadan is an independent human rights lawyer providing legal assistance to, among others, human rights defenders and political prisoners. According to our information, on 12 April 2017 a court in Alexandria sentenced him in absentia to ten years in prison, followed by five years under house arrest and a five-year ban on using the internet. He was found guilty of inciting terrorism by allegedly creating a Facebook page that featured publications and opinions with the potential to disrupt public order, harming national unity and social peace, and weakening the public’s trust in the ruling regime. According to his lawyers, the case against him has been fabricated as a direct response to his work representing victims of torture by the Egyptian police.

Lawyers for Lawyers believes these incidents are part of a wider crackdown against human rights defenders, including lawyers, and independent civil society, perpetuated by the Egyptian government that risks to bring to a complete eradication of the human rights community in Egypt. Lawyers for Lawyers will closely follow further developments in Egypt.

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