George Clooney’s wife Amal Clooney risked arrest in Egypt for criticizing the country’s judicial system that led to the conviction of three Al Jazeera journalists accused of helping the Muslim Brotherhood.
Clooney, now representing one of the trio, wrote a harshly worded report in February 2014 about the country’s policy of permitting government officials to select judges, earning her the threat of arrest even before she became involved with the case.
“When I went to launch the report, first of all they stopped us from doing it in Cairo,”Clooney told the UK’s Guardian newspaper this week. “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.’”
Clooney compiled the report on behalf of the International Bar Association and suggested that Egypt end the controversial practice. Unfortunately the government ignored the report and the journalists received stiff sentences of up to 10 years in prison.
“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,” Clooney told the newspaper. “And this one was no different.”