The « Free-Mahienour Campaign »
"Ludovic-Trarieux" Prize 2014
Free Mahienour now !
The Ludovic Trarieux Award Jury deplores the sentencing of Mahienour El-Massry, Human Rights Lawyer and 2014 Ludovic Trarieux Prize recipient and launches an appeal to Egyptian authorities to release Mahienour immediately and without conditions.
On 31 May 2015, El Raml Misdemeanour Court of Appeal in Alexandria sentenced human rights defenders Ms Mahienour El-Massry, Mr Youssef Shaban, and Mr Loay Mohamed Abdel Rahman to one year and three months' imprisonment.
In this case, while the defendants had gone to the police station to render legal assistance to activists who had been arrested after clashes between pro- and anti-Morsi factions, they were accused of storming the Al-Raml police station in Alexandria and attacking its officers. The defendants also were accused of torching Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in March 2013.
This most recent Court decision constitutes yet further evidence of the continued judicial harassment against Ms. El-Massry, a human rights lawyer known for her activism in favor of judicial independence and prisoners' rights, organizing peaceful protests, support activities for political prisoners and using social media to denounce human rights violations.
We remain profoundly concerned about Mahienour El-Massry and other human rights lawyers who face continuous harassment simply for the exercise of their mandate as citizens’ rights defenders.
We recall the valuable role of lawyers and human rights defenders in the promotion and defense of the rule of law and in society at large. This role must be recognized and their work supported and promoted in line with international human rights law.
We remind Egyptian authorities of their obligation, under customary international law and international principles, and as required explicitly in the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers (particularly Principles 16 and 17), to adequately protect and support lawyers practicing in Egypt.
Consequently, we urge the Egyptian authorities to reconsider the convictions and sentences imposed on Ms. El-Massry and her colleagues, as they appear to be aimed solely at curtailing their human rights activities and related to their legitimate work as lawyers. Mahienour El-Massry, Youssef Shaban, Mohamed Ramadan and Loay Mohamed Abdel Rahman should be immediately released and their prison sentences reversed.
We also urge the Egyptian authorities to take all necessary steps to immediately put an end to all forms of persecution, including at the judicial level, against Ms. Mahienour El-Massry and all human rights lawyers and defenders in Egypt in the exercise of their profession.
The Jury will continue to closely monitor this situation and alert the legal profession on the situation described above.
Amsterdam, June 12, 2015
Known by most political activists, Masry is a member of the Revolutionary Socialists movement, and has always been outspoken as to the rights of detainees and political prisoners, with a history of activism in many labor movements, and on behalf of Syrian and Palestinian refugees in Egypt.
Mahinour al-Masry, an Egyptian lawyer and activist who has been detained during the eras of both former presidents Hosni Mubarak and Mohamed Morsi, as well as during the current era of Interim President, now faces threat of imprisonment once again in the Mansour-Sisi era, as she preferred to name it. Masry and six others were detained on Dec. 2, 2013 in Alexandria for protesting without permission in front of the Alexandria Courthouse. They were protesting in solidarity with Khaled Said, whose brutal 2010 death while in state custody helped sparked the 2011 January 25 Revolution.
In January 2014, Mahinour al-Masry was sentenced in absentia to two years in jail and to a fine of 50,000 EGP, for protesting in December in solidarity with Khaled Said, whose brutal death in 2010 while he was in custody lead to the 2011 January 25 Revolution. On May 20, 2014, the Sidi Gaber Misdemeanour Court in Alexandria upheld The two-year jail sentence against activist Mahinour al-Masry and fined her 50,000 EGP for organizing an unauthorized protest. Mahinour al-Masry was detained on May 20th 2014, to serve her sentence in jail. On May 22nd, the Egyptian security forces violently repressed participants to a solidarity march organised outside the headquarters of the Egyptian Center for Economic & Social Rights (ECESR) in Alexandria, following a press conference organized to show support for Ms. Mahinour al-Masry,
Moreover, Mahinour al-Masry is also facing trial on separate charges for an incident that occurred in March 2013, qualified as “assaulting security forces”, after she and other lawyers went to Raml police station to provide legal assistance to three activists who were arrested and sent to the police by supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood. The lawyers were attacked by the police in the police station, and Mahinour al-Masry was detained briefly before the Prosecution decided to release her and the others. Lawyers in solidarity with the detainees have decided to carry-out a sit in at Al-Raml Prosecution to protest, then all protesters were beaten during the protest and 13 were arrested.
The case was referred to court only on May 8, 2014, but the appointed judge resigned from the bench, and the next hearing before a different circuit is scheduled for end June 2014.
During an interview with Al-Wadi, she declared that the regime is not different from Mubarak’s one, and that its actions took a more violent form, as state institutions have unanimously agreed upon suppression of human rights, namely that the government wants to suppress opinions under the cover of fighting terrorism.
She continued that Mubarak imposed the state of emergency for thirty years using counter-terrorism as an argument, but this law was applied on all young people who demanded freedom and justice, and that military trials also included workers.
She further noted that since the revolution, the Egyptian state did not undertake any laws to facilitate the restoration of companies that were privatized, or important companies, such as Ezz Steel, which still achieves profits, and its profits still go to Ahmed Ezz’s bank accounts.
She further stated that in the case in which she was charged with violation of the protest law, she has been protesting with only 19 other demonstrators. She added that despite this, security forces attacked them with tear gas and arrested some of them.
Created in 1984, the "International Human Rights Prize Ludovic -Trarieux” is awarded to " a lawyer, regardless of nationality or Bar, who thoroughout his career has illustrated, by his activity or his suffering, the defence of human rights, the promotion of defence rights, the supremacy of law, and the struggle against racism and intolerance in any form ".
It is the oldest and most prestigious award given to a lawyer in the world, commemorating the memory of the French lawyer, Ludovic Trarieux (1840-1904), who in the midst of the Dreyfus Affair, in France, in 1898, founded the " League for the Defence of Human Rights and the Citizen ", because, he said: " It was not only the single cause of a man which was to be defended, but behind this cause, law, justice, humanity ".
The first Prize was awarded on March 29th, 1985 to Nelson Mandela then in jail. It was officially presented to his daughter, Zenani Mandela Dlamini, on April 27th 1985, in front of forty presidents of Bars and Law Societies from Europe and Africa. It was the first award given to Mandela in France and the first around the world given by lawyers. On February 11th 1990, Nelson Mandela was released. Since then, it was decided that the Prize would be awarded again.
Since 2003, the Prize is awarded every year in partnership by the Human Rights Institute of The Bar of Bordeaux, the Human Rights Institute of the Bar of Paris, the Human Rights Institute of The Bar of Brussels, l'Unione forense per la tutela dei diritti dell'uomo (Roma), Rechtsanwaltskammer Berlin, the Bar of Luxemburg, the Bar of Geneva, the Bar of Amsterdam as well as the Union Internationale des Avocats (UIA), and the European Bar Human Rights Institute (IDHAE) whose members are the biggest european law societies fighting for human rights. It is presented every year in a city that is home to one of the member Institutes.
The following is the list of prize winners :
Nelson MANDELA (South Africa)
1992: Augusto ZÚŃIGA PAZ (Peru) †
1994: Jadranka CIGELJ (Bosnia-Herzegovina)
1996 Nejib HOSNI (Tunisia) and Dalila MEZIANE (Algeria).
1998 ZHOU Guoqiang (China)
2000 Esber YAGMURDERELI (Turkey)
2002 Mehrangiz KAR (Iran)
2003 Digna OCHOA and Bárbara ZAMORA (Mexico)
2004: Akhtam NAISSE (Syria)
2005: Henri BURIN DES ROZIERS (Brazil)
2006: Parvez IMROZ (India)
2007 : René GÓMEZ MANZANO (Cuba)
2008 : U AYE MYINT (Burma)
2009 : Beatrice MTETWA (Zimbabwe)
2010 : Karinna MOSKALENKO (Russia)
2011 : Fethi TERBIL (Libya)
2012 : Muharrem ERBEY (Turkey)
2013 : Vadim KURAMSHIN (Kazakhstan)
[i] [i] See ftnote page 2.