Egypt freezes rights groups’ assets
From AHMED MOOLA in Cairo, Egypt
CAIRO, (CAJ News) – THE freezing of bank accounts belonging to Egyptian human rights organizations has been denounced as the latest in a series of repressive measures against critics of the government and defenders fundamental freedoms.
This week, a Cairo court upheld a decision made in March to freeze the bank accounts of the prominent individuals and organizations. This was based on allegations they received supposedly unlawful funding from abroad.
Five prominent advocates (Hossam Bahgat, Gamal Eid, Bahey el din Hassan, Mostafa El-Hassan and Abdel Hafiz Tayel) and three organisations (Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Hisham Mubarak Law Center and Egyptian Center on the Rights to Education) are affected.
They have been rendered unable to operate.
This is the latest affront to the operations of human rights advocates. They have recently suffered travel bans and investigations over trumped up charges.
A counter-terrorism law adopted in 2015 lays down heavy penalties,including life imprisonment, for “harmful acts against the national interest or acts that destabilise the general peace, independence or unity of Egypt” and stipulates strict approval regulations for operating an “organisation with an international range” and “accepting funding from abroad.”
Bärbel Kofler, Germany Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, called on Egypt to create conditions in which human rights groups could do their work unhindered.
– CAJ News
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