Skip to main content

Police arrest head of defense team for female Egyptian protesters

From Sarah El Sirgany, for CNN
December 2, 2013 -- Updated 1445 GMT (2245 HKT)
Students backing Mohamed Morsi shout slogans during a demonstration on December 1, in Cairo.
Students backing Mohamed Morsi shout slogans during a demonstration on December 1, in Cairo.
  • Lawyer Ahmed El-Hamrawy was arrested at his home in Alexandria at dawn Monday
  • Fellow lawyer: "This means that any lawyer who comes close to the case will be detained"
  • 14 women, seven girls were accused of illegal gathering, thuggery, weapons possession
  • They were arrested at a demonstration for ousted President Mohamed Morsy

Cairo (CNN) -- Police on Monday arrested the head of the defense team for the 21 women and girls sentenced for protesting in Egypt last month, a colleague and member of the defense team told CNN.

Lawyer Ahmed El-Hamrawy was arrested at his home in Alexandria at dawn Monday, lawyer Mahmoud Farouq told CNN. "I can't separate his arrest from the girls' case," said Farouq, who is part of the team defending the 21 jailed protesters. "This means that any lawyer who comes close to the case will be detained."

Gen. Nasser El-Abd, the head of the Alexandria Criminal Investigation Department, told Egyptian daily newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm that El-Hamrawy was arrested with five others for "incitement of violence."

Reports: Egypt's draft constitution goes to interim president

On Wednesday, 14 women were sentenced to 11 years in prison, and seven minors to juvenile detention, on charges of gathering, thuggery and weapons possession at a demonstration for ousted President Mohamed Morsy. The harsh sentence sparked wide criticism of the way the Interior Ministry and the judiciary have been handling the cases of Morsy supporters. An appeals hearing for their case is scheduled to take place Saturday.

HRW: Arrests taken to new level in Egypt
Egypt imprisons more protesters
Muslim Brotherhood ban upheld

"We don't have any doubt that this verdict is a new episode in a series of politicized judicial rulings, which include the sentencing of several Al-Azhar students to 17 years for various misdemeanors based on accusations that are mostly trumped up and generalized," said a joint statement issued by 14 rights groups last week.

Egyptian lawmakers begin vote on new constitution

The verdict coincided with an increasing crackdown on non-Islamist activists who oppose the military-led regime and Morsy. Prominent activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah, detained during the Mubarak and the military council regimes in 2006 and 2011, is being held pending investigations for his alleged involvement in calling for a demonstration. Ahmed Maher, founder of the April 6 Youth Movement, is also being questioned about similar charges.

Legislation restricting demonstrations reignited confrontations between police and the non-Islamist opposition, especially at university campuses across the country. A demonstration coinciding with the retrial of two policemen accused of killing Khaled Saied, whose death had fueled the uprising in 2011, was dispersed with force in Alexandria on Monday.

"El-Hamrawy was part of Morsy's opposition. He demonstrated against him on June 30, but he's been involved in defending freedoms since July 3," when the military removed the Islamist President from power, Farouq told CNN. "He's being punished for that."

Read: Prison sentences for women as Egypt clamps down on protest

Part of complete coverage on
Visit CNN Arabic for full election news and updates in Arabic.
May 26, 2014 -- Updated 1650 GMT (0050 HKT)
CNN's Reza Sayah explains Egypt's presidential election.
May 26, 2014 -- Updated 1655 GMT (0055 HKT)
Minute changes by Egypt's next leader may not be sufficient to bring genuine stability, writes H.A. Hellyer.
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 0359 GMT (1159 HKT)
Supporters of Egyptian leftist presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi (portrait) attend a campaign meeting in Cairo.
Both presidential candidates have made lofty promises. But has either offered specifics on how the economy?
June 8, 2014 -- Updated 0806 GMT (1606 HKT)
CNN's Reza Sayah profiles the leading contender in Egypt's presidential election, ex army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 0809 GMT (1609 HKT)
Hamdeen Sabahi is considered a heavy underdog in the race for Egypt's presidency, but he's sure he's going to win.
May 21, 2014 -- Updated 2208 GMT (0608 HKT)
A court in Cairo sentences ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to three years in prison for embezzlement.
May 22, 2014 -- Updated 1722 GMT (0122 HKT)
An Egyptian man waits for tourists to take them on camel rides at the Giza pyramids on the outskirts of Cairo on February 14, 2011.
Instead of focusing on antiquities, Egypt's new "We miss you" video features dancers, malls and ritzy hotels.
May 8, 2014 -- Updated 1514 GMT (2314 HKT)
Former Arab League head Amre Moussa says presidential favorite Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is right to stand up to "terrorists."
May 8, 2014 -- Updated 1250 GMT (2050 HKT)
Can music heal the rift of revolution and conflict in Egypt? CNN's Reza Sayah meets the Egyptian band trying.
May 6, 2014 -- Updated 2120 GMT (0520 HKT)
Egypt's former military chief doesn't mince words when he describes what would happen if he wins the presidency.
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 0937 GMT (1737 HKT)
Are threats of sexual violence an everyday reality for women in Cairo?
March 24, 2014 -- Updated 1641 GMT (0041 HKT)
Interim Egyptian President Adly Mansour sends letter to the family of jailed Al Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy.
March 9, 2014 -- Updated 1630 GMT (0030 HKT)
CNN's Sara Sidner talks about stepping in for Al Jazeera reporters since they have been barred from working in Egypt.
March 15, 2014 -- Updated 1134 GMT (1934 HKT)
How are the Arab Spring nations faring? What successes can they boast and what challenges await?