Human rights lawyer Sayed Fathy died of a heart attack on Tuesday afternoon.
Fathy, nicknamed ‘the lawyer of the poor’, was the director and founding member of the Al-Hilaly Freedoms Organisation.
A funeral procession for Fathy left the Lawyers’ Syndicate mosque on Wednesday afternoon. Several political movements and public figures took part in the funeral.
Fathy was born in February 1968 and graduated from the Faculty of Law at Ain Shams University. After graduating, he worked at the Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights.
He was taught by Ahmed Nabil Al-Hilaly, a human and social rights lawyer renowned for defending the poor and Islamist detainees. Fathy established the Al-Hilaly Organisation soon after Al-Hilaly’s death in his memory.
Fathy was a founding member of several political movements, including the National Association for Change and the Social Political Alliance Party (SPAP). He was also a member of the Front to Defend Egypt’s Protesters and defended several groups of protesters over the last two years.
Fathy had recently been representing the family of alleged torture victim Essam Atta. Atta’s family claim their son was tortured to death while detained at Tora prison after being sentenced by a military court during the rule of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).
He was also one of the lawyers defending the 26 Qorsaya residents facing military trial. The army attempted to forcefully evict Qorsaya residents in November and violent clashes resulted in the death of Mohamed Abdel Mawgoud Ahmed, who was shot. At least eight other Qorsaya residents were injured.
Fathy was also representing the families of journalists Al-Husseini Abu Deif and Ahmed Mahmoud. Abu Deif was shot while covering clashes near the Presidential Palace in December 2012, while Mahmoud was shot while taking photos of clashes during the 18-day uprising in 2011.
Fathy last appeared in court on Monday, defending political blogger and activist Ahmed Doma. Doma has been charged with insulting President Mohamed Morsi.
Hours before his death Fathy was photographed signing Tamarod Campaign’s petition to withdraw popular confidence from Morsi.
Several political movements and human rights organisations mourned Fathy. Former presidential candidate Amr Moussa offered condolences on behalf of himself and the Al-Mo’tamar Party to Fathy’s family.
“Fathy died in the middle of the conflict,” said poet Mourid Barghouthi. “The lawyer of the martyrs is now with them.”