File Photo: Administrative court in Egypt's State Council (Photo: Al-Ahram)
An Egyptian administrative court ruled on Saturday that non-governmental organisations have the right to foreign funding to aid development work in the country.
The lawsuit was filed by Nabil Saad, the chairman of the Egyptian NGO Caritas, against the Ministry of Social Solidarity and a number of governmental institutions after they turned down a request to allow foreign funding.
Saad argued in his case that his NGO is registered, and that authorities have previously approved foreign funding but they have recently turned down a number of funding requests.
The court for its part reviewed the reasoning behind the authorities' denial of foreign funding, specifically from Germany’s Caritas NGO.
The authorities, in a memo to the court, said they denied the funding from Caritas Germany because such funding compromises national security and does not serve Egyptian society and aims to destroy it.
But the court responded by stating that the authorities charges are unfounded, especially since the state previously approved foreign funding for these organisations before.
This is the second such verdict of this nature.
In April an Egyptian administrative court ruled that non-governmental organisations have the right to receive foreign funding in a case filed by Amal Abdel-Hady, chairwoman of the
New Woman Foundation, against the Ministry of Social Solidarity, after the ministry refused to allow the NGO to receive funding from the Rockefeller Foundation.
Similar cases are currently being reviewed by courts.
A number of Egyptian NGOs are currently being investigated for receiving “illegal foreign funding,” among them Nazra for Feminist Studies, a rights group focused on women's issues.
Also being investigated in the case are Hossam Bahgat, an investigative journalist and founder in 2004 of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), and Gamal Eid, a lawyer and founder, also in 2004, of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI).