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Egyptian lawyers protest colleague’s shooting at courthouse

CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian lawyers on Sunday protested over a police officer shooting a fellow lawyer at a courthouse, the latest incident involving security forces allegedly abusing attorneys in the country.

Lawyer Mohamed el-Gamal suffered a gunshot wound to the chest in the altercation Saturday at Cairo’s Nasr City criminal court. An Egyptian security official says el-Gamal is hospitalized in intensive care, while the officer who shot him has been detained pending the outcome of an investigation.

What sparked the shooting remains unclear. The official, speaking Sunday on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to journalists, said the shooting came after el-Gamal was seen arguing with prosecutors and police officers.

El-Gamal then ran to the lawyers syndicate room at the courthouse, the official said, prompting an officer to run after him “to calm him down.” Another officer mistook this for a chase and shot the lawyer, the official said.

Lawyers syndicate member Khaled Abu Kirsha disputed the police account.

“How could he have mistaken him for a suspect? He was not handcuffed,” Kirsha said. The lawyers syndicate has asked that a judge investigate the shooting instead of prosecutors.

Lawyers stopped working at the Nasr City criminal court Sunday, as well as the Nile Delta court of Abu Hammad, the lawyer’s hometown, to protest the shooting.

The shooting comes after a police officer beat a lawyer last month in another court, sparking a one-day lawyer’s strike and prompting a rare apology from Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi. In a separate incident, two police officers face charges they tortured a lawyer to death in February.

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This story has been corrected to show the wounded lawyer’s name is Mohamed el-Gamal.

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