Court of cassation orders a retrial of 16 defendants in the foreign funding case EOHR calls upon the authorities to suspend the case

April 5th, 2018 by Editor

 Court of cassation orders a retrial of 16 defendants in the foreign funding case

EOHR calls upon the authorities to suspend the case

The Court of Cassation issued its verdict cancelling prison sentences ranging from 1 to 2 years for 16 defendants in the so called foreign funding case and ordered their retrial. The 16 defendants belong to 5 foreign human rights NGOs that used to work in Egypt before having their offices shutdown by authorities in 2011. Those organizations were accused of working without proper permits and of receiving unregistered foreign funds.

The case included several public figures and human rights activists including 19 American citizens, 17 of them were deported. The case was reopened by reopened the investigation in the case in March 2015 and the prosecution charged defendants among them establishing branches of international NGOs in Egypt without legal permits, and undertaken unlicensed activities including training party cadres, polls, supporting certain candidates in the 2011 parliamentary elections and sending reports of these activities abroad. The defendants were also accused of illegally obtaining foreign funds.

The defendants will stand for a retrial before a criminal court in Cairo other than the one that issued the prison sentences.

The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) has closely followed the developments of case 173 also known as the foreign funding case. EOHR has strongly criticized this case and the motives behind it before, and EOHR president Hafez Abu Seada is the attorney of some of the defendants in this case.

EOHR calls upon the Egyptian government to suspend investigations of this case and to cease its constant harassment of human rights activists and groups adding that such policies violate the rights the rights to freedom of association, expression and peaceful assembly which are safeguarded by International Human Rights law.

Dr. Hafez Abu Seada saw the verdict of the court of cassation as a victory for freedom of association and reinforces the role of civil society in its effort to further democratization and protect human rights. Abu Seada also called upon the government to amend the new NGO society law so that in can be in line with international standards and assure the complete freedom of civil society in Egypt.

 

 

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