EU criticises freezing assets of NGO directors

Thursday 12-01-2017 03:50 PM

A trial session on freezing the funds of rights activists on accusations of receiving foreign funding. ASWATMASRIYA/Mohamed al-Raai

CAIRO, Jan 12 (Aswat Masriya) - European Union criticises court decision to freeze assets of two human rights activists, in a statement on Thursday.

On Wednesday, the Cairo Criminal Court decided to freeze assets belonging to three non-governmental organisaiton directors on charges of foreign funding. 

The defendants include director of Nazra for Feminist Studies Mozn Hassan, director od Arab Organisation for Criminal Rehabilitation Mohamed Zare'a, and director of the Arab Penal Reform Organisation. They are charged with receiving foreign funds.

"The decision continues a worrying trend of restricting space for civil society to operate in Egypt, as seen by the recent multiplication of travel bans and asset freezes imposed on prominent human rights defenders and organisations," the EU statement read.

According to EU, human rights defenders play a key role in democratic, economic development and hence building political stability.

It has called on ensuring civil society organisaitons work are operating freely.

The foreign funding case initially started in 2011 and has brought heavy criticism to Egypt with a number of NGOs being raided and investigations launched into their foreign funding.

It later on simply came to be known as the NGO trial, in which 43 Egyptians and foreigners were convicted in 2013.

Egypt reopened the investigation into the case last March, a move which was locally and internationally criticised.

In September 2016, the judicial probe barred four rights defenders and their families from disposing of their assets. The temporary decision includes Gamal Eid and Hossam Bahgat, two leading Egyptian rights defenders.


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