Lawyers around the world are gearing up for an international day of protests and activities in solidarity with their colleagues in Egypt who are facing arrest and persecution for their work defending victims of human rights abuses. On 24 January, the Day of the Endangered Lawyer will see lawyers in a score of cities join protests and events highlighting the dangers and difficulties faced by Egyptian lawyers.
Today in Egypt, human rights activists, lawyers, political activists and independent journalists, all have to live with their phone calls being tapped, endless smear campaigns and hate speech from state – affiliated media as well as continuous harassment and intimidation from the authorities,” the organisers said in a report published last month.
“Lawyers pay a heavy price. Many of them are victims of arrest, conviction, threats, travel bans from the territory and other restrictions on the practice of their profession,” the report added.
National and regional Bar Associations and Law Societies are taking part in the day of action, including the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE), the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Belgian Ordre des Barreaux francophones et germanophones. Lawyers wearing court robes will gather to protest at Egyptian embassies and consulates in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Bordeaux, Geneva, The Hague, Madrid, New York, Paris, Rome, Toronto and London, while meetings and event will take place in many other cities across the globe.
Mahienour el-Massry, recently released from prison after appealing a two-year sentence under Egypt’s draconian anti-protest laws, is one of the many Egyptian lawyers whose treatment by the Egyptian authorities has prompted the day of protest. Speaking shortly after Mahienour walked free, Najia Bounaim, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director of Campaigns for North Africa said:
She should never have spent a moment behind bars, as she was detained only because of her peaceful activism in Egypt. Her release will come as a huge relief for her family and all those who mobilized tirelessly on her behalf.”
Other lawyers whose cases will feature alongside Mahienour’s during the 24 January events include Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy, a human rights lawyer and the co-founder and coordinator of the Association of the Families of the Disappeared, Nubian rights activist and lawyer Mohamed Azmy, Azza Soliman, a prominent lawyer and the founder of the Center for Women’s Legal Assistance (CEWLA), Dr Ahmad Abdallah, human rights defender, representing the family of Italian student Giulio Regeni who was tortured and murdered in Cairo in 2016.
What you can do:
- Read the full report on attacks on Egyptian lawyers here
- Join the London protest at the Egyptian embassy in London, 12 noon 24 January 2018 (more details on the Haldane Society website)
- Go to http://dayoftheendangeredlawyer.eu for details of other events across the world