New Zealand Law Society - Egypt focus of 2018 Day of Endangered Lawyer

Egypt focus of 2018 Day of Endangered Lawyer

This article is over 3 years old. More recent information on this subject may exist.

The eighth annual Day of the Endangered Lawyer will focus on Egypt, on 24 January 2018.

The Day of the Endangered Lawyer foundation is based in the Netherlands. It has developed a wide range of activities around the world on 24 January to raise awareness of lawyers who are being harassed, silenced, pressured, threatened, persecuted, tortured and murdered for their work as lawyers.

The day is commemorated on 24 January because on 24 January 1977 four lawyers and a coworker were murdered at their place of work in Madrid, Spain.

Of the perpetrators, who were affiliated with extreme right-wing parties and organizations, one was sentenced to 15 years in prison, another fled to Brazil and the third ended up in jail in Bolivia for drug smuggling.

In a report on Egypt, the foundation says many human rights organisations, among them Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, IDHAE, ELDH and the International Commission of Jurists confirm that the Egyptian authorities "have moved beyond scaremongering and are now rapidly taking concrete steps to shut down the last critical voices in the country’s human rights community."

"Today in Egypt, human rights activists, lawyers, political activists and independent journalists, all have to live with their phone calls being tapped, endless smear campaigns and hate speech from state-affiliated media as well as continuous harassment and intimidation from the authorities," it says.

Each year the Day of the Endangered Lawyer focuses on one particular country where lawyers are endangered because of the work they carry out. The focus in 2017 was on China.

"Lawyering can be a highly risky profession in China especially for human rights lawyers," the foundation says.

"In the absence of an independent judicial system, the 300,000-odd lawyers in China are subject to close monitoring by the authorities in their work."