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Amal Clooney says she was threatened with arrest after pointing out flaws in the Egyptian judicial system.
Clooney, a human rights lawyer, is representing one of three al-Jazeera journalists jailed in Cairo. She was told during a Jan. 1 appeal hearing that a report her team filed in February 2014 could potentially have major consequences.
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“When I went to launch the report, first of all they stopped us from doing it in Cairo,” Clooney told the Guardian. “They said: ‘Does the report criticize the army, the judiciary, or the government?’ We said: ‘Well, yes.’ They said: ‘Well then, you’re risking arrest.’ ”
The report suggested that justice department officials have too much power over judges. Clooney’s team had proposed an end to the policy of Egyptian officials selecting judges for certain cases.
“That recommendation wasn’t followed, and we’ve seen the results of that in this particular case where you had a handpicked panel led by a judge who is known for dispensing brutal verdicts,” said Clooney, who married actor George Clooney in September 2014. “And this one was no different.”
Clooney’s client, Mohamed Fahmyone, was sentenced in June to seven to 10 years in prison, as were journalists Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed. The three have been granted a retrial, with a new judge assigned to the case.
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