Egypt’s prosecutor-general, Hisham Barakat, issued a gag order on the media regarding the investigation of a long list of activists accused of receiving foreign funding with the purpose of "destabilising Egypt during the 25 January revolution."
Known in the media as “the foreign funding for Egyptian activists and organisations case,” the case is currently being investigated by the prosecution but is yet to be referred to court.
According to the prosecutor-general's Saturday statement, the gag order is imposed on audio and video media as well as print media. The gag order includes internet websites as well.
The statement added that the gag order would be imposed until the end of the investigations and that the prosecutor-general's office would issue statements about the case and its updates.
The decision was issued a day after Al-Masry Al-Youm daily published an in-depth report about the case, including the names of lawyers who filed the case and the names of the activists being investigated.
The case has also been previously mentioned by several TV presenters including Ahmed Mousa, known to be a staunch opponent of the 25 January revolution which ousted president Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
In a similar case in February 2012, 43 foreign NGO workers of different nationalities were accused of operating in Egypt and receiving US funds without the appropriate authorisation.
In June 2013, the employees were tried – over half in absentia – and given prison sentences for running unlicensed organisations, receiving foreign money and conducting political training without permits.
The recently amended Article 78 of the penal code now states that offenders who receive foreign or local funding or items to commit acts against the state's interests, "shall be punished by life imprisonment and a fine no less than LE500,000 and no more than what he has been given or promised."
Perpetrators may receive the death penalty if they are public servants or hold public representative status, or "if he committed the crime during wartime or for the purpose of terrorism."