Judge drops charges against 4 NGOs in 'foreign funding case'

El-Sayed Gamal El-Din , Monday 20 Sep 2021

Judge Ali Mokhtar, the investigating judge appointed by the Cairo Court of Appeals to investigate charges in the the 2011 foreign funding of civil society organisations case, dropped on Monday the charges against four NGOs.

A view of the High Court of Justice in Cairo, Egypt (Reuters)

Today's ruling means that the charges in the case have so far been dropped for 71 entities and over 200 individuals. 

Mokhtar found insufficient evidence to pursue a criminal lawsuit against the four NGOs, according to a judicial statement.

The four NGOs are the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights, the Andalus Institute for Tolerance and Anti-Violence Studies, the New Future House Centre for Human Rights and Legal Studies, and the Human Development Association in Mansoura.

The judge also lifted an asset freeze and a travel ban on the founders of these four NGOs.

The controversial case dates back to the January 2011 Revolution that toppled late president Hosni Mubarak and involves an undisclosed number of entities who had their assets frozen and their staff barred from travelling.

Over the past two years, investigating judges have been issuing rulings to drop charges against NGOs in the case, as late as last August.  

In 2020, Egypt ratified the bylaws of a new NGO law to regulate the work of tens of thousands of NGOs in Egypt.

The previous version of the law was criticized for imposing steep restrictions on the work of these organisations in the country.

In his statement, the judge repeated his call to all NGOs in Egypt to settle their legal status as soon as possible in accordance with the new NGO law.

Failure to legalise the status of in organisation one year after the issuance of the law’s executive regulations carries a fine of up to EGP 1 million.

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