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Egypt: President El-Sisi Should End Persecution of Human Rights Community
In anticipation of a Cairo court ruling tomorrow on the asset freeze of fourteen Egyptians linked to human rights organizations, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“The unprecedented persecution and dismantling of Egypt’s human rights community under the authoritarian regime of President el-Sisi endangers Egypt and puts it at increased risk for destabilization and radicalization,” said Dokhi Fassihian, senior program manager for Middle East and North Africa programs. “Human rights defenders are a country’s first responders who work toward remedies for violence and injustice against citizens. Without them, Egypt has no hope for a democratic transition, security or economic development. El-Sisi should intervene immediately to ensure this absurd episode is finally put to an end, and that the country’s human rights leaders are allowed to return to their legitimate human rights work.”
On September 17th, a Cairo Criminal Court will rule on the asset freeze of seven human rights defenders, including Hossam Bahgat, Gamal Eid, Bahey el Din Hassan, Mostafa al Hassan, and Abdel Hafiz el Tayel, as well as the accounts of their family members and their organizations. The anticipated ruling is part of Case 173 on foreign funding for civil society organizations dating back to 2011, which has placed at least 37 organizations at risk of prosecution, summoned 17 human rights defenders for interrogation about their work, and barred at least 12 individuals from leaving the country. The same case forced the closure of the Egypt offices of Freedom House, the International Republic Institute, the National Democratic Institute, the International Center for Journalists, and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in 2013.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.