The International Bar Association wrote a scathing report exposing flaws in the Egyptian court system in February, and Clooney was threatened with arrest for bringing up the report.
The London human rights barrister was warned by Egyptian officials, which Amal explained to The Guardian:
When I went to launch the report, first of all they stopped us from doing it in Cairo. They said: ‘Does the report criticise the army, the judiciary, or the government?’ We said: ‘Well, yes.’ They said: ‘Well then, you’re risking arrest.’
The International Bar Association’s report suggested that the government was not as independent as it could be. Amal and her team had several recommendations, including ending the practice allowing “Egyptian officials to handpick judges for certain politicised cases”.
“That recommendation wasn’t followed,” Amal said, “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. And this one was no different.”
Amal and her team were representing Peter Greste, Baher Mohamed, and Mohamed Fahmy, who all received stiff jail sentences (7-10 years) in June by Judge Mohamed Nagy Shehata, for endangering Egypt’s national security.
Although there was a new judge for a New Year’s Day retrial, Clooney didn’t think the outcome would be any different.
If the idea is: well, there were errors and now there’s going to be a retrial, but then the retrial operates on the same basis as the original one, that doesn’t really mean much…We have to continue and double our efforts to achieve his release in other ways. Unfortunately we have to conclude that we can’t rely on these Egyptian court processes to achieve a fair or swift result.
Since her gorgeous wedding to George Clooney in Venice, Amal has continued working full-time (including traveling to Greece to discuss the country’s bid for the return of the Parthenon marbles from Britain) and was also named Barbara Walters‘ “Most Fascinating Person of 2014”.