Lawyers syndicate to appeal latest Tanta assault verdict

The Egyptian Lawyers Syndicate on Monday announced it would appeal a jail sentence issued in June against two lawyers found guilty of assaulting a prosecutor in the Nile Delta city of Tanta.

The ruling triggered a national crisis between Egypt's judges and lawyers, with the latter taking to the streets to protest a verdict they saw as both hasty and biased against lawyers. Lawyers also complained that priority was given to policemen and the sons of judges when filling appointments to senior judicial positions.

The assault occurred on 6 June after the Tanta prosecutor reportedly slapped one of the two lawyers in the face, prompting the two men to physically retaliate.

Ihab Saai Eddin and Mustafa Fattouh were later slapped with five years in prison each and fines of LE300 for their roles in the melee. On Sunday, however, the Tanta Appeals Court reduced the sentence to 27 months in jail but increased the financial penalty to LE3000 each, both of which the syndicate plans to appeal.

Syndicate President Hamdi Khalifa, a leading member of the ruling National Democratic Party, for his part, ruled out the possibility of a lawyers' strike to protest the latest ruling. “We will follow the proper legal channels with the attorney-general,” Khalifa said.

President Hosni Mubarak had earlier declined to intervene in the dispute in a move seen by many as a victory for the judges.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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