Ahead of the pronouncement of a judgment in the case against the lawyer Mohamed El-Baqer, a Federal Foreign Office Spokesperson issued the following statement today (17 December):
The upcoming pronouncement of a judgment on 20 December 2021 in the trial of the lawyer Mohamed El-Baqer will show where the human rights situation in Egypt is heading. The German Government expects the Egyptian Government to work to ensure that Mr El-Baqer receives a fair trial and is released, along with his co-defendants Alaa Abdel Fattah and Mohamed Ibrahim. Lawyers must not be punished for practicing their profession. The German Government holds the view that freedom of expression provides the foundation for peace in society, participation by all social groups, and lasting stability. We welcome the most recent steps by the Egyptian Government to improve the human rights situation, including by introducing Egypt’s first national strategy for human rights in September 2021, and we will follow its implementation with great interest.
The lawyer Mohamed El-Baqer was arrested in September 2019, immediately after having defended his prominent client, the activist and journalist Alaa Abdel Fattah against, among other things, alleged dissemination of false information; he now faces charges in the same case as his client. He has subsequently been held in unlawful pretrial detention for more than two years, in very poor prison conditions, and – despite the national state of emergency having been lifted – is now standing trial before an Emergency State Security Court without the ability to seek legal remedy. Already prior to the conclusion of his legal proceedings, the Egyptian Government placed his name on it terrorist list.