Former vice-president of the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) judge Tahani Al-Gebali died on the morning of January 9 at the age of 72 from complications related to Covid-19. Al-Gebali was admitted to Agouza hospital 10 days ago and then transferred to the hospital’s intensive care unit.
Among the many tributes, Minister of Culture Ines Abdel-Dayem described Al-Gebali as “one of the most important guardians of the law”, while the president of the Egyptian National Council of Women Maya Morsy declared that “the Egypt has lost an emblematic person in the judicial field. authority.”
Al-Gebali was born in Gharbiya Governorate in 1950. She graduated from the Law Faculty of Mansoura University in 1973 and obtained postgraduate degrees in Constitutional and Islamic Law.
In a career spanning 30 years, Al-Gebali was the first female lawyer to be elected for two terms as a member of the Board of Directors of the Bar Association. She gained national notoriety in a series of high-profile cases, inspiring many women to pursue legal careers. In 1992, she became the first woman to chair a permanent office of the Union of Arab Lawyers, assuming the chairmanship of the Committee for the Advancement of Arab Women. She has spoken at numerous international and local conferences and seminars on women’s rights and has often argued that the theological evidence used by conservatives does not exclude women from holding public office, including that of the presidency. .
Al-Gebali has published several books and research articles on women’s rights and in 2003 was ranked 23rd Most Powerful Arab Woman by Arabian Business Weekly magazine.
Al-Gebali made headlines on January 22, 2003 when President Hosni Mubarak appointed her vice-chair of the CSC. At the time of her appointment, not only was she the first woman in Egyptian history to hold such a senior judicial post, she was the only female judge out of 9,300 serving. She held the position until 2012.
Al-Gebali was one of the most vocal opponents of the rise to power of the Muslim Brotherhood group and was said to have advised the Supreme Council of the ruling Armed Forces not to cede power until that a constitution be written. She had publicly warned of the dangers of Brotherhood rule and was removed from the SCC when the Brotherhood government cut the number of SCC judges.
Al-Gebali has been a UN legal expert, international trade arbitrator and lecturer at the Arab Institute for Human Rights in Tunisia. She was a strong advocate for women’s rights, joining committees affiliated with the United Nations and the Arab League.
Al-Gebali has received more than 30 awards, among others, from the United Nations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Union of Arab Lawyers in 1999, the Union of Progressive Women and the Organization of Arab Women.
Al-Gebali’s funeral took place in his hometown of Tanta on Sunday.
* A print version of this article appears in the January 13, 2022 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.