Release of Egyptian lawyer Malek Adly welcome, but charges must be dropped says IBAHRI

The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) welcomes the news that Egyptian lawyer, Malek Adly has been released from pre-trial detention, but calls on Egypt to drop all charges against him and ensure a prompt, effective and impartial investigation into any complaints of torture and ill-treatment experienced during the period Mr Adly was held in solitary confinement, which exceeded 100 days.

IBAHRI Co-Chair, Ambassador (ret) Hans Corell commented: ‘While we welcome the decision by the Egyptian courts to provisionally release Mr Adly, we do so with caution, as we remain extremely concerned that charges laid against him still stand.’

He added:‘Seemingly, the charges result directly from Mr Adly’s work as a defender of human rights, making the detention arbitrary and a violation of both Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 9, paragraph 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states: “Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention.” Both instruments are binding for Egypt. The IBAHRI therefore calls on the country’s authorities to grant Mr Adly unconditional release and ensure that lawyers in Egypt can carry out their duties without fear of intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference.’

Mr Adly, Director of the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights and a prominent human rights defender, was one of a group of lawyers to bring a legal challenge against the Egyptian Government following the government’s decision to transfer sovereignty of two Red Sea islands – the Tiran Island and Sanafir Island – to Saudi Arabia. He was arrested by the Egyptian authorities in Cairo's Maadi district on 5 May 2016 while on his way to meet a client, and faces the serious charges, inter alia, of ‘Attempting to overthrow the regime by force’ and ‘Spreading false news and rumours which disturb the public order’. Following the arrest, Mr Adly was transferred to high security prison, Al Mazraa Prison at Tora, where he was held in solitary confinement.

During his almost four-month detention, it has been reported that Mr Adly was submitted to treatment amounting to torture or other forms of ill-treatment, including severe beatings, verbal insults, being stripped of his shirt, being blindfolded, and forced to walk with a gun pointed at his chest. It has also been reported that he has been denied adequate clothing and food, and that his health has deteriorated significantly. 

The IBAHRI will continue to monitor the situation. 

Notes to the Editor

(1)    The International Bar Association (IBA), established in 1947, is the world’s leading organisation of international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. Through its global membership of individual lawyers, law firms, bar associations and law societies it influences the development of international law reform and shapes the future of the legal profession throughout the world.

The IBA’s administrative office is in London, United Kingdom. Regional offices are located in: São Paulo, Brazil; Seoul, South Korea; and Washington DC, United States, while the International Bar Association’s International Criminal Court and International Criminal Law Programme (ICC & ICL) is managed from an office in The Hague, the Netherlands.

The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI), an autonomous and financially independent entity, works to promote, protect and enforce human rights under a just rule of law, and to preserve the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession worldwide.


For further information please contact:

           Romana St. Matthew - Daniel
           Press Office
           International Bar Association
           4th Floor, 10 St Bride Street,
           London EC4A 4AD

           Mobile: +44 (0)7940 731 915
           Direct Line: +44 (0)20 7842 0094
           Main Office: +44 (0)20 7842 0090
           Fax: +44 (0)20 7842 0091