CAIRO, Nov 23 (Aswat Masriya) – Director of El Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence Aida Seif El Dawla was banned from travel on Wednesday as she attempted to board a flight to Tunisia.
According to a statement by El Nadeem, Seif Al-Dawla was scheduled to attend a conference bringing together organizations working on the rehabilitation of victims of violence in North Africa.
Earlier this month, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) ordered the freezing of El Nadeem center’s bank account, but lifted the freeze shortly after, when the center presented a document stating it does not fall under the authority of the Social Solidarity Ministry.
Last February, the Health Ministry threatened to close El Nadeem for "violations," including shifting its focus from operating as a medical facility to working in human rights and advocacy work. The move caused public outcry and criticism with rights groups and defenders locally and internationally condemning the attempt.
Also this week, the judge presiding over the foreign funding case ordered an asset freeze on the bank account of Azza Soliman, head of the Centre for Egyptian Women Legal Assistance (CEWLA), and the account of the legal firm she heads.
She was also banned from travel a few days earlier and was informed that she is involved in an ongoing court case.
In September, the Cairo Criminal Court accepted the prosecution's request to freeze the assets of a number of human rights defenders and organizations in connection with case No. 173 (2011), in which several rights defenders are accused of operating organisations and receiving foreign funds without a license.
Seif El Dawla joins a list of human rights defenders including Hossam Bahgat and Gamal Eid, who are banned from travel for their involvement in the foreign funding case.
El Nadeem’s statement said the recent travel bans aim at “eradicating the rights movement,” in an attempt to “cover up violations systematically committed by the regime,” as well as the inability to handle the country’s crises.
“Preventing individuals who dedicated their efforts to support and alleviate the pain off of victims of violations will not [work],” the statement read.
The Egyptian parliament recently approved a contentious draft NGO law and sent it to the State Council for review.
The law comes amid growing restrictions on civil society organizations in Egypt, namely in light of an ongoing case against several of the undersigned groups.