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Egypt Solicitors Strike After Court Knuckles

FILE: Representative illustration of a courtroom gavel. Taken February 18, 2021

The Egyptian Bar Association announced Thursday an "unlimited" strike to condemn the imprisonment of six colleagues for a court brawl with three clerks earlier this month.

"We are immediately suspending all of our activities, we will stop appearing before the courts and participating in public prosecution investigations from January 19 and for an unlimited period," it said in a statement.

The six lawyers were sentenced on Wednesday to two years in jail for their part in a fight with three clerks during a court session in Marsa Matrouh on northern Egypt's Mediterranean coast on January 5, according to state-run daily Al-Ahram.

The association claimed there had been "a clear intention" by authorities to keep the six lawyers in detention "without real justification", denouncing a "rush to bring them to trial without taking the time to carry out a real investigation".

The convicted lawyers have appealed their sentences, with a hearing set for Sunday.

Last month, in a rare display of dissent in a country where public demonstrations are banned, thousands of lawyers demonstrated in Cairo against the government's introduction of a new electronic invoicing system.