Egypt Threatened to Arrest Amal Clooney Over Criticism of Judicial System

The internationally renowned human rights lawyer wrote in a February 2014 report that Egypt wields too much power over legal system.

Amal Clooney.
Amal Clooney.Credit: AP

Egyptian officials recently threatened to arrest Amal Clooney after the internationally renowned human rights lawyer co-authored a report on the independence of Egypt's judiciary, or lack thereof.

Clooney told The Guardian this week that Egyptian officials had threatened her team with detention if they decided to release their findings while still in Egypt.

In the February 2014 report, compiled on behalf of the International Bar Association, Clooney wrote that the Egyptian government wields too much power over the country's legal system, and recommended that Egypt eliminate the practice of allowing officials to handpick judges for politically sensitive cases.

Clooney told The Guardian that she was prevented from launching the report in Cairo, where insulting the judiciary is an imprisonable offense.

"They said: 'Does the report criticize the army, the judiciary, or the government?' We said: 'Well, yes.' They said: 'Well then, you're risking arrest.'"

Clooney represents Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fahmy, one of three Al Jazeera journalists arrested on terrorism charges in December 2013. After their subsequent conviction, Clooney said her client and his colleagues were victims of a show trial.

On Thursday, an Egyptian appeals court ordered a retrial for the three journalists.

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