CAIRO: Dozens of lawyers from all over Egypt will resume on Saturday a strike inside the Tanta Courts Complex in solidarity with two lawyers sentenced to five years in prison for attacking a local prosecutor.
The strike was primarily held Wednesday afternoon at Otour District Court in Gharbeya governorate by dozens of lawyers. They intended to maintain the sit-in until the second appeal session of lawyers Ehab Saey El-Din and Mustafa Fatouh due to be held Sunday.
“We ended the strike Thursday at 5 pm in response to the request of the chairman of the Gharbeya branch Galal Shalaby,” Lawyer Mohamed Suliman told Daily News Egypt.
“He called on us to consolidate our efforts at one place [where the appeal session will be held] and join forces with our colleagues who held strikes at other courts in Gharbeya,” Suliman added
Last month, Saey El-Din and Fatouh were found guilty of assaulting and offending Basem Abu El-Rous, the local prosecutor in Tanta, the capital of Gharbeya.
The two lawyers had claimed earlier that they were insulted and attacked by the prosecutor first.
The incident caused a stand-off between lawyers on 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 heightened 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. Any violation of the strike leads to a six-month suspension from the syndicate, during which time courts do not recognize the suspended lawyer.
Even though the sentence against the two lawyers was appealed, the court has not released Saey El-Din and Fatouh on remand in the first appeal session held on June 20, which caused more outrage among lawyers.
Dozens of lawyers, meanwhile, called for interrogating Abu El-Rous during a symbolic sit-in Thursday inside the Supreme Court in downtown Cairo while wearing their black robes.
Courts in Gharbeya have witnessed several sit-ins in the past few days by lawyers, calling for the release of their two colleagues.
Also on Thursday, over 100 lawyers held a demonstration outside the Tanta Courts Complex in response to the syndicate’s call to organizing protests outside courts.
The lawyers held a big banner on which they wrote: “The protest [aims to] defend the dignity of lawyers and the pride of their syndicate.”
Several reconciliation attempts were sought a bid to contain the crisis, the most recent of which was a meeting between Khalifa and Vice Chairman of Supreme Council for Human Rights Counselor Moqbel Shaker.
The details of the meeting have not been announced. But syndicate board member Mokhtar El-Ashry told Daily News Egypt that “the crisis might have been eased a bit but….not resolved.”
In the meantime, Tanta’s attorney general recently summoned 13 witnesses to testify in the case. No further details were available at press time.