CAIRO: Dozens of lawyers held an open strike Wednesday inside Otour District Court in Gharbia governorate until the appeal session on July 4 of two lawyers sentenced to five years in prison for attacking Tanta city’s local prosecutor.
“We decided to hold a strike because justice did not take its course; and other colleagues were subject to severe injustice,” lawyer Mohamed Suliman told Daily News Egypt.
“The strike is a way to express our objection to the officials, the Ministry of Justice and the Judges’ Club,” he added.
Earlier this month, lawyers Ehab Saey El-Din and Mustafa Fatouh were found guilty of assaulting and offending Basem Abu El-Rous, the local prosecutor in Tanta, the capital city of Gharbia.
The two lawyers had said earlier that they were insulted and attacked by the prosecutor first.
The incident caused a stand-off between lawyers on the one hand and prosecutors and judges on the other.
In response, thousands of lawyers held strikes and sit-ins for several days nationwide, which further heighted the tension between the two sides.
The outraged lawyers’ stance was supported by syndicate chairman Hamdy Khalifa.
A full strike has been instated nationwide. Lawyers are currently not allowed to make pleas at any criminal court. Violations of the strike lead to a six-month suspension from the syndicate, during which time the court does not recognize the suspended lawyer.
Even though the sentence against the two lawyers was appealed, Saey El-Din and Fatouh were not released on remand in the first appeal session held on June 20, which caused more outrage among lawyers.
The next appeal hearing will be on July 4.
Several reconciliation attempts have been sought since then in a bid to contain the crisis.
Moqbel Shaker, vice chairman of the National Council for Human Rights, contacted the head of the Judges Club Ahmed El-Zend in a bid to mediate between the two sides, independent daily Al-Masry Al-Youm reported Wednesday.
However, El-Zend was quoted as saying that negotiations required a quiet atmosphere away from the improper doings and statements of lawyers against judges.
He added that all that was said and done by lawyers would be presented before the court.
“Is it logical to conduct negotiations [at the time when] all judges are being offended and … the role they play is under suspicion? … Is this acceptable?” El-Zend said.
According to El-Zend, the verdict will emphasize the truth. He added that he will congratulate the two lawyers if they are acquitted by the court.
Meanwhile, Tanta’s attorney general summoned nine new witnesses Wednesday to testify in the case, but no further details were available at press time.