After an initial statement that attempted to distance itself from the arrest of prominent rights lawyer Malek Adly, president of the Lawyers Syndicate Sameh Ashour said the syndicate will defend lawyers prosecuted over their political affiliations.
Ashour released a statement on Friday night asserting that “the syndicate will not abandon its sons who defend the nation, its independence, and its freedoms”.
In previous statements by Ashour on Friday to Al-Bedaiah news website, he said the “case is not a syndicate case, but rather it is political”, adding that the syndicate’s reaction will not go further than sending a lawyer from the syndicate’s Freedoms Committee to attend investigations with Adly.
Adly was arrested from his home on Thursday night, and after a three-hour long investigation he was remanded for 15 days pending investigations.
The lawyer is facing charges of attempting to topple the regime, amending the constitution of the state, joining an entity that works against the government, and spreading false news.
According to testimony by the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights’ (ECESR) lawyer Mahmoud Belal, Adly was severely beaten by security forces when he was arrested.
The general prosecution issued arrest warrants against Adly and others, including journalists Amr Badr and Mahmoud Al-Saqa, following nationwide protests on 15 April objecting to the transfer of sovereignty of Sanafir and Tiran islands to Saudi Arabia.
The trio were vocal advocates of maintaining Egypt’s sovereignty over the Red Sea islands.
Following prosecution investigations, Adly was transferred to Tora prison to await for the next investigation session.
The prominent lawyer has been an active defender of human rights since 2008 and he was a co-founder of the Front of Defence for Egyptian Protesters (FDEP). He currently works as the head of the lawyers’ network at ECESR and is also a member of the freedoms committee at the Egyptian Social Democratic Party (ESDP).
The Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organisation (RFK) expressed “alarm at the arrest, detention, and reported abuse” of Adly.
“The arrest of Malek Adly is yet another indication of the outrageous lengths that the Egyptian government will go to silence independent voices, especially those who are standing up for human rights,” said Kerry Kennedy, president of RFK, in a statement.