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Lawyers’ association warns Egypt dissidents

Mohammad Al Baradei, Ayman Nour face expulsion from the union for failing to practise the legal profession

Gulf News

Cairo: The Egyptian Lawyers Association has warned self-exiled dissidents, Mohammad Al Baradei and Ayman Nour, that their membership in the union could be revoked.

The warning is part of moves by the association against hundreds of members who do not practise the legal profession.

“The Lawyers’ Association, Egypt’s largest professional union, has around 600,000 members. Only 150,000 of them are practising lawyers, according to its leader.”Tweet this

The union’s board on Monday changed the status of lawyers, including Al Baradei and Nour, from full-fledged to non-practising members.

“Their membership can be struck off in four years unless they prove they practise the profession, and pay the required membership fees,” Majdy Abdul Halim, spokesman for the union, said yesterday.

“Any registered lawyer, who is not actually engaged in the profession, whether he is in Egypt or abroad, will be put on the non-practising membership list. There will be no going [back] on this decision,” he added.

The head of the union, Sameh Ashour, said the move against Al Baradei and Nour is not politically motivated.

“The Lawyers’ Syndicate cannot be a transit [point] for those who want to benefit from it without being engaged in the profession,” Ashour told private television Al Nahar last week.

No comment

The Lawyers’ Association, Egypt’s largest professional union, has around 600,000 members. Only 150,000 of them are practising lawyers, according to Ashour.

There has been no comment from Al Baradei or Nour, who are both law school graduates.

In August 2013, Al Baradei, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, resigned from his post as vice-president, protesting a security crackdown on two camps.

Shortly later, Al Baradei, now 75, left Egypt and has since been living in Austria.

Al Baradei, a former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, has been the target of frequent criticism in pro-government media since his departure from Egypt.

He has often criticised the Egyptian government via Twitter for alleged rights violations.

Nour, a sympathiser of Mohammad Mursi’s now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, departed from Egypt following the Islamist leader’s ouster. Nour, 53, is believed to be living in Turkey, a staunch backer of the Brotherhood.

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