The Bar Council and Bar Human Rights Committee (BHRC) highlighted the plight of persecuted lawyers in Egypt to mark the eighth International Day of Endangered Lawyers, as the profession remembered lawyers at risk around the world.
Growing reports show that the Egyptian government continues to issue travel bans, freeze assets and detain human rights lawyers, as part of a sustained campaign to intimidate and undermine their work.
Prominent figures facing persecution include Azza Soliman, a women’s rights lawyer and co-founder of the Centre for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance, Malek Adly, a human rights lawyer and director of Lawyers Network at the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights, and Khaled Ali, a workers’ rights lawyer.
Bar Chair, Andrew Walker QC said: ‘Through the intimidation of lawyers, authorities dismantle and undermine the fundamental freedoms of their citizens.’
He said: ‘The Bar Council along with BHRC stands in solidarity with those lawyers across the world, and in particular the lawyers of Egypt, who show courage and determination in striving to uphold the rule of law in the face of persecution.’
The two organisations also called on the Iranian authorities to release lawyers detained there, including Abdolfattah Soltani and Narges Mohammadi.
In a letter to the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei, they expressed ‘profound concern for lawyers and other human rights defenders in Iran who continue to be persecuted for undertaking their professional obligations to their clients’.
BHRC Chair, Kirsty Brimelow QC said: ‘Iran has an international legal obligation to allow its lawyers freedom to perform their professional functions. It is in breach of that obligation.’
She said she hoped that President Rouhani would address the issue as a matter of urgency.