Leadership Spat Puts Egyptian Lawyers Close to Fisticuffs
By Mohammed Baali
The intervention of outside mediators at a conference of lawyers on Tuesday just barely headed off fistfights between supporters and opponents of the head of the Egyptian Bar Association, Sameh Ashour.
Ashour’s supporters had been attacking efforts of leftist lawyers to organize the conference to spotlight the financial statements of Ashour and the association council.
The leftist lawyers distributed invitations to the event, including their demands for a new law to organize the legal profession in Egypt.
In the invitation, a copy of which was obtained by Albawaba.com, the dissident lawyers also demanded that Ashour and the association council approach the ministers of justice and interior to stop police officers’ and prosecutors’ mistreatment of lawyers. The invitation also criticizes the association officials’ financial practices.
Ashour’s supporters made their presence felt at the conference, where they tried to prevent the leftist lawyers from criticizing their chief. They insisted on delivering lengthy speeches confirming their support for Ashour, and the resulting tensions nearly developed into a brawl.
One of the conference organizers, speaking to Albawaba.com, criticized Ashour and referred to his “gangster-like behavior towards his opponents.”
He added that Ashour’s “men” had beaten one of the lawyers last week and jeopardized the conference.