CAIRO: The Tanta Appeals Court adjourned Sunday the retrial of two lawyers accused of attacking a local prosecutor to July 18.
The court ordered that the two lawyers remain in custody till then.
Last month, lawyers Ehab Saey El-Din and Moustafa Fatouh were found guilty of assaulting and offending Basem Abu El-Rous, the local prosecutor in Tanta city, the capital of Gharbeya governorate.
The two lawyers had claimed earlier that they were insulted and attacked by the prosecutor first.
“Today’s hearing was dedicated to the testimonies of defense witnesses. The defense team did not [have enough time to] make pleas,” syndicate board member Mohamed Abdel-Rahman told Daily News Egypt.
The hearing lasted for six hours during which defense witnesses gave their testimonies.
The defense team of the two lawyers was led by syndicate chairman Hamdy Khalifa.
On Saturday, Saey El-Din and Fatouh withdrew their complaint against Abu El Rous, while Fatouh presented an official apology, which caused further outrage among the lawyers.
Lawyer Montasser El-Zayat pulled out from the defense team in response to the two lawyers’ move.
“I was surprised to hear this information during the hearing,” El-Zayat told Daily News Egypt.
“What happened was [a means of] deceit and undermines [us],” he added.
Meanwhile, clashes broke out early Sunday morning before the hearing between lawyers, who came from all over Egypt to show solidarity with Saey El-Din and Fatouh, and police forces outside the Tanta Courts Complex.
The courthouse was cordoned off by hundreds of police since early morning.
“The police prevented us by force from entering the courtroom, [which resulted in clashes between the two sides],” lawyer Mohamed Suliman told Daily News Egypt.
“One policeman and a lawyer were injured in the process,” Suliman, also a member in the Lawyers’ Strike Committee in Gharbeya, added.
Reporters were also denied entry to the courtroom to cover the hearing.
In response, thousands of lawyers protested outside the courthouse during the hearing session. They marched around the courthouse, shouting slogans against the judges, the prosecutors and the emergency law.
Since June, thousands of lawyers held strikes and sit-ins nationwide as a reaction to the imprisonment of Saey El-Din and Fatouh, which further heightened the tension between lawyers on the one hand and judges and prosecutors on the other.
The outraged lawyers’ stance was supported by Khalifa.
A full strike has been instated across Egypt. Lawyers are currently not allowed to make pleas at any criminal court. Any violation of the strike leads to a six-month suspension from the syndicate, during which time courts do not recognize the suspended lawyer.
Several reconciliation attempts have been sought since the crisis first erupted in a bid to contain the crisis.
Meetings were held between Khalifa and head of Judges Club Ahmed El-Zend and another was held between him and Vice Chairman of the National Council for Human Rights Moqbel Shaker. People’s Assembly Speaker Fathi Sorour, also a former law professor, mediated in an attempt to resolve the crisis.