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Comrade Mahienour El Masry Accepts the Ludovic Trarieux Award

Mahienour El Masry

Mahienour’s acceptance speech for winning this year’s Ludovic Trarieux Award, given annually to a lawyer for contributions to the defense of human rights.

Dear Justice servants and human rights defenders,

Today I am with you in person though that was not going to happen as I was imprisoned in the prisons of field Marshall el sisi like more than 41 thousand political detainees, I was charged along with 8 others, 4 of them are still at prison serving for two Years, I was as well sentenced to 2 years to be reduced at the appeal and to be suspended because of your solidarity and efforts. I was luckier than the other thousands who didn’t receive much attention.

I was astonished when I knew that I have received your prestigious award, at that time I was in prison deprived from all kind of communication with the outside world, I really don’t feel that I deserve such an honor as all the time I was part of a bigger group, starting from being revolutionary socialist , to being a volunteer lawyer at the Alexandria’s protesters defense front, a member in no to military trials and refugees solidarity movement, but above all I was one of millions of Egyptians who had dreamt of justice, made a revolution that toppled 2 dictators and we are crossing fingers that it will topple the third.

I call what happened on the 3rd of July 2013 when el Sisi, the head of the counter-revolution made a coup, not because he toppled another dictator but because he manipulated the masses, I think that he should be considered as a war criminal as he was the head of the military intelligence giving pretexts for the virginity tests happened to female protesters in march 2011, he was the defense minister at the time of isolated president Morsi who killed many Egyptians in the city of Portsaid and when he overthrew Morsi he carried one of the biggest massacres in the new century which is Rabaa massacre killing more than 1000 people and now there is a crack down leading to the imprisonment of thousands and now even evacuating people from their houses and demolishing it in Sinai under the slogan war against terrorism, in such situation where a dictator is fostering his powers one of his most important enemies are human rights defenders and especially lawyers.

Being a lawyer open your eyes to the amount of injustice in the society, and lawyers have to choose whether they want to serve justice or to serve law even if it was against the people interests, as law is an abstract word, for me law is the law of the ruling class and in countries like Egypt where autocracy and tyranny are at their most you will find laws issued to silence the people or to steal their rights. Yet lawyers have a great role to raise awareness, to be shield for the marginalized and voice for the voiceless.

Finally I want to dedicate the award to Omar, Loay, Islam, Nasser the 4 people who are with me in the case but still in prison, to Sanaa Seif, Yara Sallam and the protesters of Ithadia case, to Mohamed Hissny, Alaa Abdelfattah and Shura protestors in prison now, Mahmoud Nasr, El Jazeera english reporters imprisoned in Egypt, Mohamed sultan and Ibrahim el Yamany who are in days will he entering the day 300 in their hunger strike, to the rest of the 41 thousand detainees, to the Palestinian people who taught us how to resist and have hope in the future, to the people of Kobane fighting extremists, to the Iranian girl Rihana Gebari.. Who had been sentenced to death because she killed her raper to defend herself, to all those brave souls and humans I dedicate such award.
Thank you so much and I hope that we as lawyers would be helping to build a better and more humane societies.