A file photo of a Cairo Criminal court (Photo:Al-Ahram)
A Cairo criminal court upheld on Sunday a decision by the prosecutor-general to freeze the assets of three Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) employees but overturned a motion to freeze the assets of the rights organisation.
The three defendants were detained by the prosecution earlier last week on various charges, including spreading false news, but were released on bail on Thursday.
The prosecution released the three after legal documents were provided showing that EIPR has taken legal procedures to adjust the status of the rights organisation from a company to a non-profit organisation, in accordance with the country's NGO law.
The three EIPR staff are Gasser Abdel-Razk, the head director of EIPR; Mohamed Bashir, the executive director; and Karim Ennarah, the head of the group’s criminal justice department.
According to EIPR’s current acting head Hossam Bahgat, the court ruled on the matter without hearing any arguments or allowing defence lawyers to review the freeze order.
Last week, the Egyptian government ratified new amendments to the NGO law that organises and regulates the work of local and foreign NGOs in the country.
Following the arrest of the three employees, an international solidarity campaign from both international human rights organisations as well as renowned foreign actors, including academy awards nominees Scarlett Johansson and Carey Mulligan, called for the release of the detainees.
Several EU governments and international organisations like the UN also condemned their arrest and called for their release in several statements.
The Egyptian foreign ministry had denounced these statements and rejected any attempt to influence the investigations with the EIPR staff.