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Egyptian court freezes assets of human rights' defenders

The court case against the NGO workers has been going on since 2011 [AFP]

Date of publication: 17 September, 2016

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Human rights' fighters in Egypt have seen their assets frozen, in a further restriction on freedoms in the country.
Egyptian courts froze the assets of several human rights activists on Saturday, all-but ending a five-year case that could lead to life sentences for the accused.

Cairo's criminal court made the order against the directors of a number of human rights organisations without making any criminal charges.

"We will continue to defend rights and liberties and public policies fostering social justice," said a spokesperson for the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), in a statement released today.

The court issued an order against Bahey el-Din Hassan, founder of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Mustafa al-Hassan, of the Hisham Mubarak Law Center and Abd al-Hafiz Tayel, of the Egyptian Center for the Right to Education.

Egypt's judiciary - which is closely intertwined with the regime - have issued asset freezes before including case 173/2011 - "case on foreign funding of civil societies". 

On March 24, the court ordered a hold on the accounts of Hossam Bahgat, founder of the EIPR and Gamal Eid, founder of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), as well their families' assets.

The court has also issued travel bans against 11 additional human rights workers in the case which started in 2011.

Egypt's regime has embarked on a wave of repression since the 2013 coup against Egypt's first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi.

Thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters, liberals, activists, and NGO workers have been arrested, and given trials not viewed as fair by human rights' groups.

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