Human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin Clooney (Photo: Reuters)
Amal Clooney, British-Lebanese barrister, wrote an opinion piece for the Huffington Post, in which she responded to a Guardian article that stated that Egyptian officials threatened Clooney with arrest as a result of her representation of jailed Egyptian-Canadian, Al Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy.
Clooney, who recently married actor George Clooney, co-wrote the opinion piece with Mark Wassouf, another member of the Fahmy’s legal counsel. The two explained what actually happened, clarifying that the International Bar Association's Human Rights Institute (IBA) was warned in early 2014 by experts in Egyptian affairs of the risk of arrest if they released a report co-authored by Clooney in Cairo.
The report criticised prosecutions and court decisions that charged defendants with insulting the judiciary, the government and the military. It also issued a warning about the wide powers that Egyptian ministers had over judges and highlighted government control of state prosecution teams.
Following the warning in early 2014, the IBA moved the release to London to be safe, which was before Clooney became Fahmy's lawyer, meaning that the incident occurred "in a context entirely unrelated to this case."
Clooney wrote that the Guardian's journalist apologised for "misleading presentation of this matter in the article."
The Guardian article was also modified.
Clooney's piece also addressed the trial of the Al Jazeera journalists, and the court’s decision to accept an appeal, calling the retrial process "lengthy" and its outcome "uncertain."
"There are no guarantees that a new panel of judges would respect due process or demand cogent evidence before concluding that a crime was committed," they wrote.
Clooney and Wassouf also stated that they requested a pardon for Fahmy from Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, foreign affairs minister Sameh Shoukry and the case’s prosecutor-general in writing. They added that they have contacted Canadian officials regarding the potential to transfer the case to Canada.
The two called for the release of Fahmy for health reasons, saying "it is imperative that Mr. Fahmy be temporarily released on health grounds in accordance with the Egyptian Code of Criminal Procedure."