UPR submission Egypt
On 28 March 2019, Lawyers for Lawyers submitted a report for the Universal Periodic Review of Egypt. This review will take place in October/November 2019.
In the report, Lawyers for Lawyers highlighted that the Egyptian authorities do not always uphold the necessary guarantees for the proper functioning of the legal profession in practice, as set out in the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.
Lawyers are subjected to arrest, detention, prosecution, and enforced disappearance in connection to their professional activities. Furthermore, lawyers in Egypt are hampered in their access to their clients and case files, and on a regular basis travel bans and assets freezing are imposed to obstruct their legitimate work. This undermines the proper functioning of the judicial system, including the right to fair trial and effective access to justice and puts pressure on the independence of the legal profession.
Lawyers for Lawyers furthermore expressed concerns about the way the Egyptian government is heavily shutting down civic space and systematically violating the rule of law on security and counter-terrorism grounds. Criminal charges based on the Egyptian protest law – imposing a requirement for the Ministry’s prior authorization – seem to be a common pattern of harassment increasingly used by the Egyptian authorities against lawyers. Protesters convicted of breaking the law could face up to five years in prison and fines of EGP 100,000 (USD 5,700). The same can be said for criminal charges based on the Egyptian counter-terrorism law. The vague and overly broad definition of terrorism allows the law to be used to arbitrarily criminalize internationally-protected activities such as freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and freedom of association. Egyptian lawyers are often persecuted for exercising their right to freedom of expression and assembly, or engaging in public discussions about human rights and the rule of law.
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