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Leading rights group suspends activity in Egypt citing complete absence of the rule of law

ANHRI [gamaleid/Twitter]
ANHRI [gamaleid/Twitter]

One of the most famous Egyptian human rights organisations has said it will suspend its operations and activities after 18 years citing the complete absence of the rule of law and respect for human rights.

"ANHRI's decision to suspend its activities comes after many strenuous attempts to continue to operate despite the difficult conditions which Egyptians are going through and the state of political instability that the government has employed to put restrictions on independent human rights organisations," the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information announced yesterday.

"As well as the expansion in the arrests and detention of human rights defenders, journalists and political activists, regardless of whether they are independent or affiliated to political parties."

"While all independent human rights organisations in Egypt face harassment, persecution and threats, the security forces' targeting of ANHRI has been particularly severe and hostile, ranging from arresting members of the ANHRI team, thefts, violent physical assaults, and illegal summons, all the way to attempts to recruit some staff members as informants on ANHRI, and is part of a growing list of violations and harassment."

READ: Families of Egypt prisoners complain of ill-treatment by police

"Unfortunately, the Public Prosecution was not satisfied with not providing protection but has contributed to the violations and restrictions against ANHRI and its team."

The group, which recorded violations against citizens, journalists and political prisoners, added that it will continue to work side by side with the few remaining independent human rights lawyers and defenders.

ANHRI has been asked by security forces not to speak out about prison conditions, reports Madr Masr.

Their decision is "a major loss to the human rights community," Amnesty International said in a Tweet.

"[Egyptian President] Sisi's battering ram approach is fatiguing anyone still trying," said political analyst Amr Khalifa.

ANHRI was founded by Gamal Eid, a human rights activist and lawyer, who was questioned in July last year when he was accused of being paid by the Committee to Protect Journalists to defame Egypt internationally.

In 2011 ANHRI won the Roland Berger Human Dignity Award for their struggle for freedom of expression and press freedom in Egypt. Eid was awarded the Leaders for Democracy Award that same year.

In 2016 a court ordered that Eid's assets be frozen and he was banned from travelling.

READ: Calls for Egypt to end arbitrary prosecution of researchers, academics 

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