CAIRO: A lawyer who was given a prison sentence for attacking a local prosecutor in Tanta, gave a statement at a closed session during his retrial Sunday.
Lawyers Ehab Saey El-Din and Moustafa Fatouh were both handed the five-year sentence in the same case.
The judge responded to Saey El-Din’s request during the hearing, ordering the evacuation of the courtroom, after the defense team had made their pleas.
No further details were available at press time.
The hearing was held Sunday morning amid extreme security measures as dozens of lawyers protested against the imprisonment of their colleagues outside the Tanta Appeals Court in Tanta city, the capital of Gharbeya governorate.
During a rushed trial last month, Saey El-Din and Fatouh were found guilty of assaulting and offending Basem Abu El-Rous, the local prosecutor, and were handed what other lawyers and the Lawyers’ Syndicate believed was an unfair and excessive sentence.
The two lawyers claimed that they were attacked by Abu El-Rous and the security of his office first.
At Sunday’s hearing, the defense team led by syndicate chairman Hamdy Khalifa called for the temporary suspension of the lawsuit and the release of the two lawyers on bail till the investigation into their complaint against Abu El-Rous and the policemen is complete.
“The initial ruling was immediately carried out. [Saey El-Din and Fatouh] should have been released on bail [till the appeal court resolves the case],” syndicate member Mohamed Abdel-Ghaffar told Daily News Egypt.
“Immediate rulings are only handed down in crimes like robbery and prostitution,” he added.
The defense team also refuted the validity of the verdict.
“The two lawyers [had earlier] requested that an investigative judge [rather than a prosecutor] would investigate the incident based on articles 50 and 64 of the Legal Profession Law,” Abdel-Ghaffar said.
“The law dictates that if for example a lawyer [allegedly] attacks a prosecutor, the investigation cannot be carried out by a prosecutor,” added Abdel-Ghaffar, also a member of the defense team.
However, according to Abdel-Ghaffar, the prosecution proceeded with the case to become the investigator and opponent in the same case.
The verdict against the two lawyers caused a crisis between lawyers on the one hand and judges and prosecutors on the other.
In response to the verdict, thousands of lawyers held strikes and sit-ins for several days nationwide, which further heightened tensions.
The lawyers’ stance was supported by Khalifa and the syndicate board as well as a number of renowned lawyers.
The syndicate later decided to turn it into a daily five-hour strike in order not to hamper court proceedings.