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Amidst rights abuses, 8th annual Day of the Endangered Lawyer focuses on Egypt Open in fullscreen

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Amidst rights abuses, 8th annual Day of the Endangered Lawyer focuses on Egypt

Trial session at the Cairo police academy [Getty]

Date of publication: 24 January, 2018

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Lawyers' organisations today sent an appeal letter to the Egyptian government calling on it to drop charges against detained lawyers.
Today is the 8th annual Day of the Endangered Lawyer, and this year’s anniversary is focused exclusively on Egypt given the government’s many human rights abuses.

The UK’s Bar Council, the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC) and other lawyers’ organisations around the world have distributed a press release affirming their solidarity with Egyptian lawyers facing persecution and calling on the government to end such practices.

Egyptian lawyers – indeed Egyptians of myriad professions – are surveilled, falsely prosecuted, or even killed. But what makes the targeting of lawyers especially worrying, the release notes, is that it undermines the rule of law and the ability to meaningfully protect citizens’ rights.

“Citizens (and others) must have a right of access to an independent lawyer who is able to defend their freedoms without fear or interference,” said Andrew Walker, chair of the Bar Council.

An increasing number of Egyptian lawyers who provide legal counsel to activists have been detained in recent years – including women’s rights lawyer Azza Soliman, director of Lawyers Network at the Egyptian Centre fo Economic and Social rights Malek Adly and workers’ rights lawyer Khalid Ali.

“The Egyptian government continues to issue travel bans, freeze assets and detain human rights lawyers as part of an ongoing and sustained campaign to initimidate and undermine their work,” said Kirsty Brimelow, the chair of the BHRC.

Representatives behind the Day of the Endangered Lawyer sent an appeal letter to the Egyptian government with seven demands meant to uphold the rule of law.

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