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Egypt's Lawyers Syndicate to represent protesters detained during Tiran and Sanafir demos

The syndicate says it will defend dozens of lawyers and other detainees arrested during recent islands protests

Ahram Online , Friday 29 Apr 2016
Sameh Ashour
Sameh Ashour, head of Egypt's lawyers syndicate (Photo: Lawyers' Syndicate website)
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The Egyptian lawyers syndicate announced in a statement on Friday that it will set up defence committees to track those arrested during recent protests and to defend the accused during prosecution proceedings.

Dozens of people were arrested in the capital Cairo and other governorates over the past two weeks during demonstrations against a recent Egyptian-Saudi islands deal.

Among the detained are activists, lawyers and journalists.

The syndicate said the defence committees will include members as well as volunteer lawyers to track all detainees, not only lawyers, and provide legal assistance throughout "all phases of investigations."

The statement, signed by syndicate head Sameh Ashour, said the move comes as a response to a wave of "arrests of citizens as well as limitations and constraints lawyers face while doing their job of attending investigations."

The union stressed its role in defending "freedom and human rights," while highlighting Egyptians' right to "freedom of opinion while being granted all legal guaranteesif detained."

The syndicate added that an extensive report of all cases of detentions, as well as record of the status of each case, will be compiled by the committees and provided to the union.

Lawyer Nabil Anwar Abu Sheikha said Friday that an arrest warrant was issued for him and 11 others for protesting against the controversial Saudi agreement.

The arrest orders stem from demonstrations the lawyers took part in earlier in April in the town of Shebin Al-Qanater, some 32 kilometers north of Cairo.

Abu Sheikha said he and the other lawyers will turn themselves in to prosecutors on Saturday for questioning.

"Other lawyers will rally tomorrow in solidarity, and they might go on strike in protest of the arrest orders," Abu Sheikha told Ahram Online.

Egypt’s decision to transfer the islands of Tiran and Sanafir into Saudi hands after a process of maritime demarcation has sparked a widespread public outcry, with some critics accusing the government of "selling the islands."

Thousands demonstrated on 15 April against the decision in what were believed to be the biggest protests by non-Islamists against president Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi since he came to office in 2014.

A second wave of demonstrations by hundreds, and during which dozens were arrested, was staged ten days later on 25 April in several cities around the country.

Freedom for the Brave, an advocacy group consisting of rights lawyers that track and provide logistic support to political detainees, said Friday that 130 people arrested during the recent protests in Cairo and Giza will stand trial on Saturday.

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