Wednesday,13 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1125, 6 - 12 December 2012
Wednesday,13 December, 2017
Issue 1125, 6 - 12 December 2012

Ahram Weekly

Rift among lawyers

Amid the current political divisions, the Lawyers Syndicate was not far from internal splits of its own, reports Ahmed Morsy

Al-Ahram Weekly

Members of the Lawyers Syndicate decided on Saturday to refer syndicate chairman Sameh Ashour to a disciplinary committee and to start taking the necessary measures for a motion of no confidence in him. The syndicate deputy chairman, leftist Mohamed Al-Damati was chosen as the official spokesman of the bar.
The decision was made during Saturday’s demonstration by syndicate members supporting President Mohamed Morsi, held in front of their syndicate and organised by hundreds of lawyers belonging to the Islamic current. The decision to question Ashour came after he attended an emergency general assembly of the Cairo Judges Club held last week to announce the judges’ rejection of the 22 November constitutional declaration issued by Morsi.
During the meeting of the Judges Club, Ashour announced his full support of the stance adopted by judges. “If they decide to strike, lawyers will strike and if they decide to stage a sit-in, lawyers will join judges,” said Ashour who later declared his opposition to the newly drafted constitution.
“Egypt had a revolution and the remnants of the former regime cannot have a role after the 25 January Revolution,” said Mamdouh Ismail, a member of the syndicate board. “Ashour doesn’t represent the Lawyers Syndicate or even lawyers and we must withdraw confidence from him,” Ismail stated during the sit-in.
Fathi Tamim, another board member, said there were more than 10,000 signatures from lawyers asking for a vote of no confidence concerning Ashour.
During the lawyers’ sit-in, there were leaflets distributed to them praising the new constitution and describing Article 181 as a triumph for lawyers. The article reads, “the legal profession is a free profession and a cornerstone of justice. Lawyers shall be independent in practising their profession and shall be safeguarded by guarantees that protect them and enable them to carry out their work in a manner regulated by the law.”
Ashour denied being referred to a disciplinary board. He asked his opponents to read the law of the syndicate, which lends its chairman immunity from being questioned.
“MB lawyers deceive syndicate members by claiming that Article 181 gives lawyers immunity during their work, while it only has guarantees to protect lawyers,” Ashour added.
On Sunday, Cairo’s north and south syndicate boards released a joint statement calling upon members of the general syndicate board and the chairman to unite. The statement also urged both sides to set aside any disagreements which threaten the profession and to direct their attention towards the national interest regardless of any other considerations.
“No one can withdraw confidence or even discipline Ashour, unless the Supreme Judiciary Council lifts immunity from him,” Khaled Abu Krisha, member of the syndicate’s board, told Al-Ahram Weekly.
“Today, an extraordinary general assembly of the Lawyers Syndicate will be held. The assembled lawyers will either vote for withdrawing confidence from Ashour or for withdrawing confidence from the syndicate council,” Abu Krisha said.
Walid Abdel-Raouf, a lawyer and a member of Al-Haq Movement for the Independence of the Lawyers Syndicate, believes that the current argument is only for settling political scores.
“The whole problem is merely settling political scores between the syndicate chairman, from one side, and the Muslim Brotherhood, from the other side,” Abdel-Raouf told the Weekly. Both sides collected signatures to withdraw the confidence from the other and both requests will be discussed at today’s assembly.

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