Rights group launches campaign against mistreatment of lawyers

Essam Fadl
3 Min Read

CAIRO: The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) launched a campaign against the mistreatment of lawyers by police officers and the absence of adequate laws to protect them.

The organization expressed its concern towards “the increasing assaults on lawyers while on the job.

A report issued by the organization last Thursday cited several violations that include police officers preventing lawyers from attending investigations with their clients as well as court hearings, especially in military and state security courts.

The report also claims lawyers are sometimes prevented from reviewing cases’ documents before the trial.

Hafez Abu Saeda, EOHR secretary general, called for respecting lawyers and helping them perform their duties.

“The campaign relies on the Egyptian constitution and the human rights international agreements which give lawyers the right to do their jobs without intimidations or threats, Abu Saeda told Daily News Egypt.

“There is an obvious increase in assault cases against lawyers especially by police officers, we need to face and fight these violations, he added.

The campaign calls for legislative reform, granting lawyers legal immunity while on the job, in addition to establishing bylaws pertaining to lawyers’ duties inside police stations, prosecution offices, and courts in line with the Eighth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders. “While the Egyptian legislation ensures the legal protection of lawyers, these laws are not actually implemented, Abdel Salam Rizk, board member of the Lawyers’ Syndicate, told Daily News Egypt.

EOHR’s report cited a case involving attorney Magdy Ibrahim Taha who was assaulted in a police station in Hadayek El-Koba.

The report claims Taha was with his client to file a complaint when his client was arrested.

When Taha tried to ask why his client was arrested, he was assaulted by police officers who allegedly beat him and chained him, hanging him by his hands for a whole day.

The report also alleges that Taha’s colleague Tarek El-Awadi was also assaulted after he tried to defend him.

Despite both lawyers’ statements to the general prosecutor they faced charges of resisting authorities. The incident triggered anger among lawyers, who staged demonstrations for three days in front of police stations and the general prosecutor’s office.

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