Cairo Criminal Court adjourned Saturday to 24 March a session to rule on a Thursday judicial order freezing the assets of four rights activists, including journalist Hossam Bahgat and lawyer Gamal Eid, on charges they received a total of $1.5 million in "illegal funds from foreign entities" after all defendants failed to show up in court.
The session was set after a judicial committee overseeing a five-year investigation into several rights activists accused of receiving illegal funding from foreign entities ordered Thursday the freezing of assets of Bahgat, Eid and at least two others whose names remain undisclosed.
The assets of Eid’s wife and minor daughter were also frozen.
The judge inquired as to the absence of the defendants, to which defence lawyers said their clients were not officially notified of the case and only knew of it through the media.
It is the legal right of defendants to be notified that they are being prosecuted.
Last month, in two separate instances, authorities stopped both well-known rights activists, Bahgat and Eid, from travelling out of Cairo International Airport, stating that their names were on a no-travel list, but without providing further details.
Bahgat founded the Egyptian Initiative for Personnel Rights (EIPR) in 2004, while Eid founded the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), also in 2004.