Dozens of prominent lawyers from across Europe are calling for the release of Malek Adly, a prominent human rights lawyer who was arrested on 5 May and remains in detention awaiting trial. The letter highlights the on-going crackdown against lawyers and human rights activists, including labour lawyer Haitham Mohamedain and Ahmed Abdallah, legal adviser to Giulio Regeni’s family.
Signatories include Richard Harvey QC and John Hendy QC; Professor Bill Bowring, Professor of Law, Birkbeck, University of London, UK, Bjorn Elmquist, Chairman of the Danish Legal Affairs Association and Thomas Schmidt from European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights ELDH.
The crackdown on dissent and protest in Egypt has seen tens of thousands arrested, detained and jailed by the military regime. Whenever activists are seized in a dawn raid, protesters arrested in the streets, striking workers detained on the picketline, or the police shoot somebody and then charge him with assault, campaigning lawyers will swing into action, tracking down prisoners, supporting their families and defending their rights in front of the prosecutors and the courts. Now many of these same lawyers themselves are under threat from the regime, facing arrest, abusive conditions in detention and long prison terms.
Malek Adly’s lawyers report that they have been refused permission to photocopy his case files and that the court denied Malek the right to be represented by a lawyer of his choice in a recent appeal hearing against the extension of his detention. He is a founding member of the Front for Defending Egypt’s Protesters, a group comprising 34 human rights organisations and independent lawyers, which defends peaceful protesters and documents illegal practices carried out by state police forces against them. Malek has been admitted to the prison hospital several times, due to a chronic high blood pressure condition and lack of prescribed medicine and is suffering from exhaustion, back pain, and sore joints in his leg.
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