November 11th, 2009 by Editor
The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) expresses its deepest worries on the increasing cases of assaults against lawyers in the absence of adequate legal protection, it announces the launch of the campaign entitled “For the right to defense and protect the legal profession.”
Mr. Hafez Abu Seada Secretary-General of EOHR confirmed the importance of respecting the dignity of lawyers and to help them in their duties towards their society and the need to deal with them as one of sides of the triangle of justice. So the assaulting cases committed against lawyers require a stop to combat them.
Abu Seada added that EOHR has monitored several violations committed against lawyers in the various governorates during their fulfillment of their duties such as assaults inside police stations, ill treatment, and the prevention from attending the investigations before the prosecution of state security and the prevention from attending trial sessions before the military courts and state security courts and the refuse to acquaint lawyers with some cases before sessions and the refuse to copy files even if there is a prior permission.
Abu Seada clarified that the campaign is based on the Constitution and Egyptian laws, as well as the
international covenants on human rights.
The Egyptian Constitution, Article 65, confirmed that the State shall subject to the law and judicial independence and immunity are two basic guarantees to protect human rights and freedoms. He clarified that article 69 stated that the right to defense is guaranteed whether personally or by deputing others. Also the law guarantees persons who are unable financially to resort to judiciary and defend their rights.
The legal profession law No. 197/2008 (1, 49,50, 51)provided the following:
– Article 1 “legal profession is a free career shares the judiciary in achieving justice and ensure the right to defend the rights and freedoms of citizens, lawyers are free to practice this career according to their consciences and provisions of law.
– Article 49 provided that “The lawyer has the right to be treated by courts and other sides with respect , if the lawyer committed an act that breached the system of the session , the president of the session writes a report on the situation occurred and sends it to the public prosecution and inform the competent bar with the matter.
– Article 50 “In the cases clarified in the previous article , lawyer may not be arrested or detained provisionally and a criminal suit may not be filed except by the attorney general or public prosecutors , also the members of session which assault occurred among them may not consider the criminal suit or disciplinary suit filed against the lawyer.
– Article 51 “lawyer may not be investigated or his office may not be searched except by one of the members of the public prosecution. Public prosecution office has to inform the bar or the sub bar before investigating any complaint filed against the lawyer.
On the other hand, there are many of the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, adopted by the 8th conference of United Nations on Crime Prevention and the Treatment of Offenders held in Havana (Cuba) August 1990, which states that Governments shall protect and guarantee lawyers’ rights as follows:
(A) The ability to perform all their duties without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference.
(B) The ability to move to their clients freely within the country and abroad.
(C) lawyers may not be subjected or be threatened with economic or administrative sanctions, as a result of achieving their duties in accordance with the standards of their profession ethics.
Authorities provide adequate guarantees for lawyers, if they are subjected to danger as a result of the performance of their duties.
lawyers May not be taken with crimes occurred by their clients or their cases.
No court or administrative authority has the right to refuse to recognize the right of any lawyer to stand before it on behalf of his client, unless the lawyer has been disqualified in accordance with the laws and profession practices.
lawyers shall enjoy with civil and criminal immunity for statements they are declaring , whether in written or oral pleadings or during their appearances before the courts or other legal or administrative authorities.
Article : 21
The duty of the competent authorities has to ensure lawyers the ability to access to information, files and documents that are appropriate in their possession or under its disposal for a sufficient period to enable them to provide effective legal assistance to their clients.
Government shall guarantee and respect the confidentiality of all communications and consultations between lawyers and their clients within their professional relationship.
The following is a statement of some cases of ill-treatment faced by lawyers in their work:
1) Ill-treatment in police stations:
– Khalid Mohammed Abdul-Hameed (lawyer) Giza
On 23/6/2008 at 11.30 PM Khalid went to 6th of October police station to ask about the legal status on the detention of one of his client called Mohamed Ahmed Ismail . Khaled was stopped by the chief of investigation department and asked to declare his ID , he was surprised that he was assaulted and tied with iron chains and detained to 12 hours till he was released , then he lodged a complaint to the attorney general under No. 11483 -2008.
-Magdi Ibrahim Taha lawyer
when Magdi went to Hadayek Al Koba police station on 30/6/2008 with his client called Nawal Hegazy to write a report there , he was surprised that one of police corporal arrested his client , when he asked about the reason to arrest here he was surprised by a group of police corporals assaulted him and tied his hands behind his back with chains and hanged on the door of detention room in the presence of police stations leaders . A group of lawyers came to the police station as they were surprised by the status of their colleague , a report was submitted to the public prosecution . Magdi was surprised that there is a decision issued to transfer him with one of the lawyers to the disciplinary criminal court as they are charged with assaulting a public official and resisting authorities.
Islam Abdul Megid (lawyer)
( Alexandria governorate)
Islam was assaulted by Tarik Al Shenawy, police officer ( Alexandria investigation ) after he asked him to show his ID. The officer insulted him and took him to Al Dekhila police station where he was beaten harshly.
– Wael Zeidan who was slapped on his face by the head of Kafr Al Zayat police station when he tried to see the numbers of reports related to some of his clients.
– Ghada Abdul Mon’m, lawyer who was assaulted by the chief of Al Sharabia investigation during her writing a report.
– The event of breaking into the office of Mohamed Foad Ali, lawyer, by an officer of Nasr city police stations to arrest one of his client.
– Hamdi Ahmed Hanafi, lawyer, who was assaulted by one of state security officer in Rashid.
2) Ill-treatment before the courts and judicial authorities.
– The fact of ill-treatment subjected by Mr. Abdul Salam Rizk, rpporteur of freedoms committee at the bar association during his presence at state security court as the president of the session refused to prove his presence.
– Verbal assault on Ali Hesham Mahmoud Ahmed , lawyer, by a consultant at State Commissioners Authority during the consideration of a case of his client.
– Assaulting Hazem Abu Al Fotouh with a white weapon by a police soldier on his face after he spoke with one of his clients before submitting him to the public prosecution at Kafr Al Shiekh court.
– The verbal assault occurred on Abdul Rahman Amin by a public prosecutor in Belkas court.
3) Preventing the attendance of the investigations before state security prosecution.
– The fact of preventing lawyers from attending the investigation with suspects accused in the case known as cell of Hezbollah, as well as the organization of the case known as Al Zeiton .
In the light of these violations which affect the dignity of lawyers and their fundamental rights, as well as for delaying their role in achieving justice and supporting the weak persons , EOHR calls for providing legal immunity for lawyers and guarantees their rights in accordance with law , the Constitution and international standards of human rights. EOHR announces the start of its campaign on the governorate level under the title of “For the right to defense and protect legal profession ” . This campaign aims at revising the legislative structure to ensure the provision of adequate legal immunity for lawyer during achieving his duties . Also it aims at setting a group of standards and objective principles related to lawyers and their roles inside police stations and public prosecution offices and all types of courts in accordance with the principles of the 8th conference of UN for the prevention of the crime and the treatment of offenders 1990 and to reflect the full respect for the role of lawyers. EOHR calls all lawyers and all civil society organizations in the governorates of Egypt for joining this campaign.
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