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Egypt continues to freeze more assets of NGOs

January 12, 2017 at 12:04 pm

Building of the Egyptian High Court of Justice [Bastique/Wikipedia]

An Egyptian court has frozen the assets of two more NGOs and their founders yesterday in a string of moves that has received criticism from the United Nations.

The court ordered the freezing of the assets of Nazra for Feminist Studies and its founder Mozn Hassan, as well as on Mohamed Zarea and his Arab Penal Reform Organisation.

The court is allegedly investigating the NGOs on suspicion of receiving illegal foreign funding.

Yesterday’s decision follows a ruling of an Egyptian court in September that also froze the assets of five other human rights defenders and three NGOs over similar accusations.

The United Nations condemned the ruling stating that it was “extremely concerned” by the decision last year to freeze the assets of the activists and NGOs, largely viewed as an intensified crackdown on civil society.

In November last year, parliament approved a bill that would see further regulation of NGOs which was condemned by critics who said the ruling will place further restrictions on groups’ operations.

An investigation into Egyptian restrictions on NGOs, which began in 2011, caused a diplomatic rift between Washington and Cairo after police closed down several foreign NGOs and attempted to arrest American staff who worked there.

In 2014, an Egyptian court sentenced 43 Egyptians and foreigners to five years in prison in a similar case.