In 2018 – the eighth year of the Day of the Endangered Lawyer- the focus of the Day of the Endangered Lawyer will be on Egypt. Many human rights organisations, among them Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, IDHAE, ELDH and the International Commission of Jurists confirm that the Egyptian authorities have moved beyond scaremongering and are now rapidly taking concrete steps to shut down the last critical voices in the country’s human rights community.
Today in Egypt, human rights activists, lawyers, political activists and independent journalists, all have to live with their phone calls being tapped, endless smear campaigns and hate speech from state-affiliated media as well as continuous harassment and intimidation from the authorities. Egypt is going through the most serious human rights crisis in its history. Every day security forces arbitrarily displace 3 or 4 people (https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/middle-east-and-north-africa/egypt/).
After the overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi the human rights situation has deteriorated dramatically. The government has restricted severely freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and freedom of association. The authorities have taken harsh actions against dissidents, ten thousands have been arbitrarily arrested, and many of them tortured during custody. Security forces that killed demonstrators have not been held accountable. After harsh unfair trials, hundreds of people have received prison or even death sentences. Victims of this persecution include not only alleged members and supporters of the Muslim brotherhood but also any other opponents to the present government, in particular alleged members of left organisations and human rights activists.
For an estimated two hundred this relentless persecution can even lead to arbitrary arrest, prolonged detention, harsh sentences after unfair trials and sometimes even torture, enforced disappearance at the hands of the state or death in custody as a result of medical negligence.
This is pretty much the same list of human rights violations suffered by the people whose rights such defenders are meant to be protecting through their activism and work. In 2017 ELDH and IADL already choose to focus on the situation in Egypt. You will find further information about their actions as well as information from Amnesty on Egypt here.
January 24, 2018 Day of the Endangered Lawyer
In 35 cities all over the world lawyers gathered to stand for their collegues in danger in Egypt. This was The Hague where a large number of them came to the Court House (Paleis van Justitie) to inform the public about this situation.
The other 34 cities on all continents were: ccra, Ankara, Barcelona, Berlin, Bordeaux, Brasilia (13 August 2018), Brussels, Dhaka, Düsseldorf, Geneva, Halifax, Hannover, Istanbul, Izmir, London, Madrid, Manilla, Milano, Montpellier, Mumbai, Napoli, New York, Nürnberg, Oristano, Paris, Roma, San Marino, Sousse, Strasbourg (CCBE event), Taipei, Toronto, Vancouver, Venezia, Victoria; Colombia Caravana also organised an event.
In The Hague the Italian lawyer Nicola Canestrini informed a large audience about what is going on in Egypt. He has been there recently and wrote this report (soon available in English).
The Turkish collegues were mentioned too.