Egyptian judge Ali Mokhtar issued a court ruling on Sunday dropping charges against five NGOs in case No.173 for the year 2011, which is commonly known as "foreign funding of civil society case.”
The NGOs in the case, which dates back to the January Revolution in 2011 that toppled late President Hosni Mubarak, faced allegations of receiving foreign funds.
Mokhtar is the latest investigating judge – succeeding a number of previous judges – delegated by the Court of Appeals to investigate the report by a fact-finding committee formed in 2011 to look into the foreign funding of civil society groups.
“The investigations into 4 of the 5 acquitted organizations have concluded that there was no reason to file a criminal case against them due to insufficient evidence,” Mokhtar said, adding that a criminal case should not have been filed against the fifth one for "lack of importance".
The judge noted that Sunday's ruling – which consequently lifts asset freezes and travel bans on the staff of the five NGOs – raises the number of acquitted organizations in the case to 63 in the case that involved more than 160 defendants.
Earlier, the Cairo Appeal Court dropped charges against 18 NGOs in May, 20 NGOs in March and 20 other in December 2020.
Mokhtar called upon the civil society organizations and associations operating in Egypt and the entities that carry out an act of civil society work to quickly settle their legal status.
“We remind them repeatedly of the issuance of the prime minister’s resolution No. 104 of 2021 issuing the executive regulations for the law regulating the practice of civil work promulgated by Law 149 of 2019 that was published in the Official Gazette on 11 January 2021,” he said.