Translated and edited by: Committee for Justice
Geneva: November 6, 2022
UN experts affirmed their rejection of harassment and interference in the work of an Egyptian lawyer defending a high-profile case in which the accused faces the death penalty. The lawyer in question is Ahmed Mohamed Abdel-Jalil Hamad, born on September 22, 1990.
Attacks and intimidation:
In a memorandum sent to the Egyptian authorities on September 2, 2022, which has not yet been answered, the experts said that Hamad was subjected to harassment, threats and physical attacks, among other forms of interference and intimidation, as a result of his decision to represent a client, accused of murder, whose name has been withheld to preserve the victim’s physical integrity.
The experts added that the aforementioned lawyer appeared on a talk show by a prominent Egyptian journalist to discuss the case of the accused murderer, and while he was driving his car on Al-Bahr Street in Tanta, Egypt, on June 29, two cars intercepted his way and a number of people, including the aforementioned journalist, threatened him and tried to steal his car keys.The letter added that there is closed-circuit television footage showing Hamad’s car being blocked as well as a video made by Hamad as the incident took place. On 2 August, a witness testified at a police station in Tanta that he saw the incident take place as recounted by Hamad.
On 23 August, Hamad suffered another attack in the street, including by some of the same perpetrators of the 29 June attack, which also resulted in damage to his vehicle. The lawyer is now receiving threatening messages and phone calls, including from the above-mentioned journalist who was involved in the 29 June and 23 August attacks. This individual is also posting public videos on social media, alleging that Hamad is a homosexual and belittling his educational credentials. In the calls, individuals also attempt to extort money from Hamad through threats to hurt him.
The experts added that the lawyer now faces serious charges in two court cases alleging that he threatened and tried to kill the above-mentioned journalist, and injured a bystander, respectively. The journalist has also threatened to take ’10,000’ further cases against Hamad.
A source cited by the experts indicated that these cases at Tanta Court are based on false accusations, and seek to destroy Hamad’s credibility and reputation and force him to cease representing the client in the high profile case. The abovementioned journalist has also threatened to take up “10,000” further cases against Hamad.
The experts expressed serious concern about harassment, threats and attacks on Hamad’s reputation as a result of his legitimate exercise of his professional work as a lawyer, and that if such allegations are confirmed, they would be in violation of the guarantees that lawyers are entitled to in order to perform their professional functions without any threat, intimidation, harassment or interference, and without suffering, threat, prosecution or any administrative or disciplinary sanctions.
Demands from the Egyptian authorities:
In their memorandum, the UN experts called on Egyptian authorities to provide information on the measures taken to protect Hamad while practicing the legal profession in Egypt, including in this high-profile case.
The experts also called on Egypt to provide detailed information on the legislative and other measures adopted by Egypt to ensure that lawyers are able to perform all their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference, and to prevent them from being subjected to or threatened with prosecution, administrative, economic or other sanctions As a result of their identification with their clients or the reasons for their clients as a result of the performance of their functions.