High profile lawyer Farid El-Dib, Mubarak’s lead defence, dies aged 79

Ahram Online , Tuesday 25 Oct 2022

High profile lawyer Farid El-Dib, who represented former President Hosni Mubarak and his two sons in several cases following the January 2011 popular uprising, passed away at the age of 79 after a long illness, his daughter announced on Tuesday.

Farid El-Dib
Farid El-Dib


El-Dib was born on 23 October 1943 in Cairo. He joined the faculty of law in 1958 and graduated with honours in 1963.

After graduating, El-Dib landed a job as a prosecutor in the Ministry of Justice under President Gamal Abdel-Nasser.

However, Nasser in 1969 fired El-Dib along with 127 other judges and prosecutors whom he accused of conspiring against his government.

El-Dib spent the next couple of years working as a lawyer in the Arab League’s International Organisation to Combat Crime.

In 1971, he quit the Arab League and started practicing law.

Today, El-Dib is most well known for defending Mubarak and his sons, Alaa and Gamal, when they were tried in 2011, along with a number of other key figures of his regime, on several charges, including corruption and the murder of protesters.

El-Dib helped Mubarak, who ruled the country for 30 years, to receive an acquittal in what was dubbed at the time as “the trial of the century” in which the late president was accused of conspiring in the killing of protesters during the 18-day revolt.

But even before defending Mubarak, El-Dib had a reputation for defending well-known figures in controversial legal cases that no one else wanted to touch.

At more than one point in his career, El-Dib represented clients whom the Mubarak regime attempted to persecute for different political and economic reasons.

In 2000, El-Dib represented professor and political activist Saad Eddin Ibrahim in court after the late president charged him of spying for the United States.

However, the case of Israeli “spy” Azam Azam was, perhaps, the most controversial case El-Dib argued in court.

In 1996, the Mubarak government accused Druze-Israeli businessman Azam Azam, who was a partner in a textile factory in Cairo, of spying for Israel. The prosecutors claimed that Azam was passing important industrial secrets – written in invisible ink on women’s lingerie – to Israel.

In 2008, El-Dib took on one of the most controversial cases in his career when he agreed to defend Hisham Talaat Moustafa, a member of the Egyptian parliament and a construction magnate, against murder charges.

Lower courts had indicted Moustafa on ‘incitement to kill’ charges in the murder case of Lebanese singer Suzanne Tamim.

The courts found Moustafa guilty and sentenced him to death, before an appeal court reduced his sentence to 15 years in prison on procedural grounds.

El-Dib maintained this pattern of representing well-known clients up through the present.

In his latest court pleadings earlier this year, El-Dib asked for the release on health grounds of well-known businessman Hassan Rateb, who is serving five years in prison for funding a criminal operation that illegally excavated and trafficked in antiquities.

In September, the late lawyer submitted a memorandum of an appeal against the death sentence issued against the Mansoura University student Mohamed Adel, who is accused of killing his fellow student Nayera Ashraf after she rejected his marriage proposal.

The move stirred controversy and caused public uproar.

In remarks reported by TV presenter Lamis El-Hadid, El-Dib clarified that his appeal was only against the trial procedures and that he was not retained by the defendant in the case, stressing his condemnation of the murder crime.

He stressed that he had no other motives behind his step and he was not “looking for fame or fortune, but only fulfilling his duty toward the law.”

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