The head of the Lawyers Syndicate, Sameh Ashour, announced a full, open-ended strike in front of criminal courts across the nation on Saturday, in rejection to the imprisonment of seven lawyers in Minya charged with insulting the judicial system, according to Ashour’s official Facebook page.
Sub syndicates of the Lawyers Syndicate located across Egypt’s governorates are called upon to join the strike.
On 12 March, the Minya Criminal Court handed five-year prison sentences to seven lawyers and ordered the retrial of two others.
Aside from the syndicate’s decision, a number of independent lawyers have already started an open-ended strike in front of all criminal courts present in their governorate.
The syndicate’s decision is obligatory for all lawyers, as Ashour ordered the formation of an operations room to follow up on the strike and monitor all lawyers who would violate the decision. This operation room will be in the general syndicate headquarters in Cairo.
Lawyers who are not committing to the decision of going on strike will be referred to disciplinary investigations and suspended from performing their work. The strike includes rallying in front of criminal courts, avoiding entering courtrooms or courts’ deliberations room, as well as not contacting judges or court officials.
The lawyers’ case dates back to 2013, when they clashed with a judge named Ahmed Fathi during a rally arranged in front of a court in Minya. The judge filed a lawsuit against the lawyers, accusing them of not respecting the judicial system and of preventing him from performing his work.
The lawyers are facing charges for insulting judges and the judicial system as a whole.
The prosecution originally referred 22 lawyers to court for insulting judicial panel members; however, thirteen lawyers were released, while the other nine still faced prosecution.
The lawyer received the aforementioned court ruling, despite previous reconciliation with the insulted judge.
Ashour confirmed in his statement that the syndicate is keen to take all legal procedures to appeal the court sentences.