By Rana Muhammad Taha
CAIRO, Oct 29 (Aswat Masriya) – The National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) expressed on Wednesday its "surprise and rejection" to a police search conducted on the house of one of its members earlier in the morning.
NCHR member Manal al-Tibi told Aswat Masriya that plain-clothed security forces arrived at her house with a search warrant, in light of a report filed against her accusing her of "collaborating with foreign parties." She added that the security forces checked her laptop and papers which concern the work of the NCHR.
The chairman of the state-affiliated council, Mohamed Fayek, described the incident as "a flagrant violation of [Tibi's] freedom and personal rights" in a statement by the council. He added that the incident "terrorised" Tibi's son who was with her during the search operation.
Fayek demanded a "clear explanation" for the search procedure.
Civil society organisations operating in Egypt have lately faced forms of harassment as a new law governing their activities is believed to be in the making.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi amended in September Article 78 of Egypt's Penal Code in a manner which makes defendants accused of receiving foreign funds with the purpose of "harming the state" subject to being sentenced to life in prison or death.
Several civil society organisations in Egypt depend on foreign funding due to the scarcity of their resources. The current civil society law obliges organisations to seek the government’s permission before raising any funds to support them.
Civil society organisations have long called for the repeal of this law and its replacement with a less restrictive legislation.
Mohamed Moneeb, deputy foreign minister for the Americas, said earlier this week that Egyptian authorities have tracked direct funding provided by some embassies to registered and unregistered civil society organisations operating in Egypt.