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Lawyer Mahienour El-Massry spends 34th birthday in Egypt prison

Egyptian human rights lawyer Mahienour el-Massry
Egyptian human rights lawyer Mahienour El-Massry [Photo courtesy of Free Mahienour]

Award-winning Egyptian human rights lawyer Mahienour El-Massry is spending her 34th birthday today in prison in Egypt.

El-Massry was arrested in September by plainclothes police officers as she left the Supreme State Security Prosecution building in Cairo where she was following up on the investigations of her clients who were arrested during demonstrations which had taken place that month.

Last year hundreds of people took to the streets across the country after Egyptian whistleblower Mohamed Ali revealed widespread corruption in the government of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and among his inner circle. Some 4,000 people were arrested.

El-Massry, who is famous for her work defending prisoners' rights, has been accused of aiding a terror group and spreading false news.

READ: Egypt prison authorities raid cells of prisoners protesting death of journalist

This is third birthday she has spent in jail; after being in detention during her 30th and 32nd birthdays.

In January 2014 she was jailed for allegedly protesting without a permit, and assaulting security forces. During this stretch inside she was awarded the international Ludovic Trarieux Award given to lawyers who contribute towards the defence of human rights.

In December 2017 El-Massry was rearrested for allegedly taking part in protests against the decision to cede sovereignty of the Tiran and Sanafir islands to Saudi Arabia.

El-Massry was one of several high-profile human rights lawyers who were arrested during last year's September protests.

Mohamed Al-Baqer was detained whilst waiting to attend the interrogation of his client, the activist and blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah.

READ: Egypt activist dies in Scorpion prison after medical negligence

Mohamed Younes was forcibly disappeared in September before he could attend an official investigation into corruption allegations against Al-Sisi made by Mohamed Ali.

In October lawyer Amr Iman was arrested from his home after announcing he would start a hunger strike in solidarity with Al-Baqer and Younes.

Amr, who witnessed Alaa's arrest, said: "This is a blatant violation against lawyers… lawyers are immune while working, just like judges and prosecutors. As a lawyer, I am afraid about getting arrested right now."

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