CAIRO: The Lawyers’ Syndicate ended its nationwide strike until a court verdict is announced next month in the case of two lawyers sent to prison for attacking a prosecutor.
No escalation measures will be taken until the court pronounces its verdict next month, lawyer Mohamed Abdel-Rahman said Monday.
The strike began last month in response to a five-year prison sentence handed down to two lawyers for attacking the local prosecutor in Tanta.
“The target behind [holding strikes, protests and sit-ins] was to call for applying justice on all parties not to escape verdicts,” Abdel-Rahman, also a syndicate board member, told Daily News Egypt.
On Sunday, the Tanta Appeals Court adjourned the re-trial of lawyers Ehab Saey El-Din and Moustafa Fatouh to Sept. 5 when a verdict will be pronounced, ordering that the two remain in custody until then.
During a rushed trial last month, Saey El-Din and Fatouh were handed the five-year sentence in the same case for charges of assaulting and offending Basem Abu El-Rous, the local prosecutor in Tanta city, the capital of Gharbeya governorate.
The two lawyers claimed that they were attacked by Abu El-Rous and the security of his office first.
“The prosecution announced during the last hearing on Sunday that Abu El-Rous and the policemen were under investigation … recording this in the court minutes of the hearing … which makes this a step towards justice,” Abdel-Rahman said.
The court order, however, disappointed many lawyers who hoped their colleagues would be released on bail until the coming session.
“But we know that this judge’s trend with all defendants is not to release them before a verdict is reached,” Lawyer Sayed El-Fiki told Daily News Egypt.
Sunday’s hearing was held amid heightened security where about 150 lawyers protested against the imprisonment of their colleagues outside the Tanta Courts Complex.
After the defense team made their pleas, Saey El-Din gave a statement at a closed session.
Before the closed session, the defense team led by Lawyers’ Syndicate Chairman Hamdy Khalifa called for the temporary suspension of the lawsuit and the release of the two lawyers on bail until the investigation into their complaint against Abu El-Rous and the policemen is complete.
The defense team also refuted the validity of the verdict.
“The initial ruling was immediately carried out. [Saey El-Din and Fatouh] should have been released on bail [until the appeals court resolves the case],” syndicate board member Mohamed Abdel-Ghaffar told Daily News Egypt after the hearing.
“Immediate rulings are only handed down in crimes like robbery and prostitution,” added Abdel-Ghaffar, also a member of the defense team.
The two defendants had earlier requested that an investigative judge, rather than a prosecutor, investigate the incident based on articles 50 and 64 of the Legal Profession Law.
“The law dictates that if for example a lawyer [allegedly] attacks a prosecutor, the investigation cannot be carried out by a prosecutor,” Abdel-Ghaffar explained.
However, according to Abdel-Ghaffar, the prosecution proceeded with the case to become the investigator and opponent at the same time.
Several lawyers predict that the reason why the next hearing is set to be held at this specific date is that it will mark exactly three months after the first one held on July 5.
“In this case, if the judge hands them a three-month sentence, they will be released immediately for they will have already spent the duration in jail,” El-Fiki explained.
Nevertheless, Abdel-Rahman argues that nobody can anticipate the verdict.
“Any professional lawyer … cannot foresee a court ruling,” he said.
“We did what we could and we now wait for the court’s judgment … and we hope it will be fair.”