Egypt National Dialogue welcomes closure of NGO ‘foreign funding’ case

Ahram Online , Friday 22 Mar 2024

National Dialogue has expressed satisfaction with the recent judicial decision to close the 13-year-old NGO “foreign funding” case.

 Diaa Rashwan
A file photo of Diaa Rashwan, the general coordinator of the National Dialogue

 

“Bringing the curtain down on Case 173/2011 has not and will not be the only or last positive step,” the dialogue’s board of trustees said in a statement on Friday.

It added that such a step would further enhance collaboration between the board of trustees and the government with the support of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.

On Wednesday, a Cairo court dropped the charges against the last five NGOs accused of receiving foreign funds in the long-standing case, citing lack of evidence.

Judge Ahmed Abdel-Aziz Qattalan dismissed the case against The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), the Arab Penal Reform Organization (APRO), Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), and El-Nadeem Against Violence and Torture Organization.

Judge Qattalan also removed the names of the five NGO officials, including human rights activists Hossam Bahgat and Gamal Eid, from the travel ban and watch lists and unfroze their assets. 

Over the past two years, investigating judges have consistently issued rulings dismissing charges against NGOs involved in the case, a demand long called for by human rights organizations.

With Wednesday’s update, the number of NGOs cleared of criminal charges in the case has reached 85.

The National Dialogue – a presidential initiative meant to address the country’s pressing issue with the participation of societal segments – has addressed many issues related to civil work during its sessions.

Last year, the National Dialogue proposed amendments to several articles of Law 149/2019, which regulates the exercise of NGOs.

Approximately 52,000 NGOs, including numerous foreign organizations, are operating in Egypt, according to data from the Ministry of Social Solidarity.

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