An Egyptian flag flutters at the High Court of Justice in Cairo November 1, 2011. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El-Ghany
CAIRO, Jul 11 (Aswat Masriya) – Director of the Andalus Institute Ahmed Samih spread false news about religious discrimination in Egypt, according to the court reasoning, which was released on Monday.
A Cairo Criminal Court ordered in June the freezing of Samih's funds as well as the funds of the Andalus Institute for Tolerance and anti-Violence Studies that belongs to him.
The investigations attributed to Samih the receipt of foreign funds from the European Union and the National Endowment for Democracy in violation to the law.
In its reasoning, the court pointed out that Egypt's Homeland Security investigations confirmed the center is an "illegitimate institution that aims at harming national security by spreading fabricated news and falsely reporting that Copts and Baha'is face religious discrimination in Egypt."
The court added that the center "tarnishes the country's image abroad by spreading false reports that imply the presence of sectarian strife."
The case has triggered heavy criticism against Egypt since it started in 2011 with Egyptian authorities raiding several NGOs and launching an investigation into foreign funding received by NGOs.
It later came to be known as the NGO trial, in which 43 Egyptians and foreigners were convicted in 2013.
The judicial probe in the NGO trial barred four rights defenders and their families from disposing of their assets. The temporary decision included Gamal Eid and Hossam Bahgat, two leading Egyptian rights defenders.
The former is the director of the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), while the latter is the founder of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR).
A media gag has been enforced on the case in March with the exception of official statements released by the committee itself.