Creative Representation | Expert Litigation


September 17, 2021: Bartko firm spearheads dismissal of all claims against our client, a former Prime Minister of Egypt, in an Alien Tort Claim case pending in Washington D.C.—winning by proving up immunity based on the United States’ recognition of complex diplomatic immunity due to the client’s status as a representative to the International Monetary Fund.

This lawsuit was begun in June 2020, brought by U.S. resident and activist Mohammed Soltan against Hazem El Beblawi, who served as an interim Prime Minister of Egypt 2013-2014, between the Morsi and current al-Sisi regimes.  Mr. Beblawi has served in several capacities in Egyptian government and is an acclaimed Western-educated academic and author regarding Gulf state economics.  Mr. Soltan was injured and incarcerated following demonstrations against the al-Sisi government, and alleged that Mr. Beblawi as the interim Prime Minister is secondarily responsible for his injuries under the Alien Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. A. § 1350 and the related TVPA codified there.  The firm has deep experience in this area, having represented former heads of state of the Philippines and South Korea in such cases.  In the Egypt matter, working with co-counsel Bryan Cave and partner Tim Broas of that firm, we consulted with the U.S. State Department—both in the Trump and Biden administrations—so that it would certify and recognize Mr. Beblawi’s diplomatic immunity, because he was served in the United States with summons in the Soltan case while representing Egypt and other Gulf countries as a principal representative to the IMF, a specialized agency of the United Nations.  Ordinarily, the position of the United States government on diplomatic immunity is binding on the courts.  Mr. Soltan and his expert counsel argued that the United Nations Headquarters’ Agreement governed diplomatic immunity, and that the position of the United States did not control.  Ultimately, the district court found on September 17, 2021 that certifying diplomatic immunity to foreign government representatives was indeed within the purview of the United States’ executive branch, and that in any event the record showed that the UN/IMF had consented to immunity as well.  The case required a thorough understanding of the law and history of international diplomatic immunity.  The firm and our client are grateful for the guidance of 9 Bedford Row and Steven Kay, QC, in this matter.  The firm’s legal team was Rob Bunzel, Luzann Fernandez, John Bartko and Chad DeVeauxView a PDF copy of the District Court’s decision.