Clash in Egypt: the government and the bar, report of a mission

Middle East and North Africa
Issue: Independence of Judges and Lawyers
Document Type: Fact Finding Mission
Date: 1995

The judiciary and the legal profession have been traditionally held in high esteem in Egyptian society. For many years, the Egyptian regular judiciary has successfully played its rightful role as a protector of fundamental freedoms.

Egyptian lawyers have also been on the forefront of defending rights and liberties. These two pillars of the Rule of Law m Egypt have been recently affected by the Government’s fight against militant Islamist groups since 1991.

The death of lawyer Abdel Harith Madani following his arrest on 26 April 1994 has widened the already existing gap between the Government and the lawyers in Egypt. The Government asserts that Mr. Madani died of natural causes while his family and colleagues fear that he died as a result of torture.

The matter remains in the hands of the Attorney-General of Egypt who until today has not revealed the result of his investigation on what caused Mr. Madani’s death.

When hundreds of lawyers attempted to take to the streets protesting the death in detention of lawyer Abdel Harith Madani, the Centre for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers (CIJL) decided to send a mission to Egypt to look at the causes of this serious friction between the Government and the Bar.

Based on the Basic Principles of the Independence of the Judiciary and the 1990 UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers and other human rights norms, this report attempts to examine the actions of the Government as well as of the Bar Association in Egypt.

Drafted mainly by mission-coordinator Mr. Baher Alashhab, in close consultation with other members of the mission, the report outlines a threat to the independence and integrity of the legal profession in Egypt, addressing both the Government and the Bar.

The report ends with conclusions and recommendations. The CIJL hopes that the report will help in advancing the cause of justice in Egypt.

Egypt-clash-fact finding mission report-1995-eng (full text in English, PDF)

Egypt-clash-fact finding mission report-1995-ara (ful text in Arabic, PDF)

(full text in Arabic, PDF)

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