Judge drops investigation against 75 NGOs, lifts travel ban decisions

Ahram Online , El-Sayed Gamal El-Din , Tuesday 22 Aug 2023

A judge investigating the 2011 case on foreign funding of civil society organizations has dropped charges against 75 NGOs, ending travel bans and asset freezes, Egypt’s Ministry of Justice announced on Tuesday.

Ministry of Justice building
File Photo: Ministry of Justice building in the new administrative capital. Photo courtesy of Egyptian Ministry of Justice Website.


According to the statement issued by the Ministry of Justice on Tuesday, 85 organizations have been under investigation in the foreign funding case.

Investigations have concluded for 75 organizations, with orders of non-prosecution (dismissal orders) issued for them, added the justice ministry. 

The ministry said that upon issuance of dismissal orders, all travel bans, watchlist placements, and asset freezes related to these investigations are canceled.

“The Ministry of Justice closely monitors the decisions issued by the investigating judge and will work on implementing these decisions and their resulting legal effects with utmost precision, in order to uphold the principle of the rule of law,” the statement said.

As for the remaining organizations, some are near to completing their investigations, while others remain unresolved, the statement added.

The contentious case traces its origins back to the January 2011 Revolution, which led to the ousting of the late President Hosni Mubarak. It involved an undisclosed number of NGOs whose assets were frozen and whose personnel were barred from international travel.

Over the course of the past two years, investigating judges have consistently issued rulings to dismiss charges against NGOs involved in the case, with the most recent instances taking place as recently as last August.

In 2020, Egypt formally adopted the bylaws of a new NGO law aimed at regulating the activities of the myriad NGOs operating within the country.

The prior iteration of this law drew substantial criticism for imposing stringent limitations on these organizations' operations.

In his statement, the judge reiterated his appeal to all NGOs in Egypt, urging them to promptly regularize their legal standing in accordance with the provisions of the new NGO law.

It should be noted that failure to legalize an organization's status within one year of the issuance of the law's executive regulations may result in a fine of up to EGP 1 million.

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