Egypt: Over 100,000 Lawyers Join General Strike
Over 100,000 lawyers in Egypt have joined the general strike called last week in protest of the sentencing to five years in prison of attorneys Mohamed Ibrahim Saai Din and Mustafa Ahmed Fattouh, after they exchanged slaps with prosecutor Basem Radwan Abu Rus in Tanta over a week ago. The two attorneys’ conviction sparked nationwide outrage among Egyptian lawyers, who view the incident as part of a larger pattern of anti-attorney discrimination and mistreatment at the hands of the judicial system. Supporters of Saai Din and Fattouh claim that Abu Rus provoked the attorneys and should have been arrested and charged with assault.
Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, attorney Tarek Awadi stated that “the verdict was unjust and it was affected by the lack of guarantees for a fair trial,” while another lawyer, Ayman Eman, commented, “We’ve been suffering from prosecutors’ disrespect and abuse for many years and this case is the last straw.”
The clash has moved from the streets to the courts, with 800 judges and prosecutors filing complaints to the general prosecutor accusing Hamdi Khalifa, president of the lawyers syndicate president, and Montasar el-Zayat, a former board member, of slander and inciting riots inside courtrooms. About 10,000 lawyers retaliated on Sunday, filing complaints with the attorney-general against Ahmed el-Zend, head of the Egyptian Judges Club, and two other prominent judicial representatives. Meanwhile, Khalifa has announced plans for a meeting between himself and el-Zend to attempt to reach a resolution to the current crisis.