“Freedom for the Black Gown”: Egypt’s Crackdown on Lawyers and the Rule of Law

Source: The Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy

Author(s): Yasmin Omar

Original Link: https://timep.org/commentary/analysis/freedom-for-the-black-gown-egypts-crackdown-on-lawyers-and-the-rule-of-law/

In 2016, Egyptian human rights lawyers launched “Freedom for the Black Gown,” a campaign dedicated to highlighting the ongoing crackdown that had expanded to include the legal community. The campaign released a video showing prominent attorneys holding their bar association membership ID cards and demanding freedom for their detained colleagues. Today, many of the lawyers who appeared in this video are in prison, under travel bans, or have had to leave the country to escape harassment and threats.

The Egyptian constitution, the Lawyers’ Law, and the country’s international legal obligations collectively guarantee the independence of lawyers and establish their ability to perform their jobs. In practice, however, these protections are violated regularly—a reality that has become increasingly visible as the crackdown on fundamental freedoms escalates.

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