Egypt Watch

A call for the release of 50 lawyers held in pretrial detention

The Front for Defending the Independence of the Bar Association has issued a statement calling on the Minister of Interior and the Public Prosecutor to release the lawyers who are being held in pretrial detention and to pardon those who are convicted.

Lawyer Montaser Al-Zayyat, a member of the Front, said that 50 lawyers were held in pretrial detention for longer than a year, and some of them exceeded two years, in violation of the legal period of pretrial detention.

Al-Zayat stressed that the initiative aims to create a strong union opinion to support the detained lawyers, by addressing the security and judicial authorities to review their cases, and then release some of them or move the trials according to the case of each lawyer. Al-Zayat added that about 3,000 lawyers signed an electronic statement of solidarity with the lawyers, while a copy of the list of the names was sent to the head of the Bar.

In a related context, human rights organisations announced the arrest of the Egyptian lawyer, Osama Abdel Hakim Bayoumi, on Sunday, as security forces stormed his house and arrested him. Al-Shehab Centre for Human Rights condemned the arrest of Bayoumi and affirmed its total rejection of the prosecution of lawyers because of their work.

The Arab Network for Human Rights Information has said that the targeting of lawyers in Egypt has been going on for years. It also documented grave violations against human rights lawyers, including imprisonment, security prosecutions, travel bans, and confiscation of money and property.