Thursday, March 8, 2012

Egypt: Drop Charges in Non-Profit Group Cases

New Associations Law in the Works is a Potential Way Out

March 7, 2012

"(New York) – The Egyptian authorities should drop the charges against 43 workers with nongovernmental organizations who are charged with operating “unlicensed” groups under a repressive law, Human Rights Watch said today.

The trial before the South Cairo Criminal Court is scheduled to re-open on March 8, 2012, after the previous panel of judges recused itself and the appeals court president referred the case to a new circuit. In the meantime, the Egyptian parliament is drafting a new law governing nongovernmental organizations to replace the Mubarak-era law, which grants the government excessive powers to regulate and restrict these groups.

“Egypt’s judges have in the past protected nongovernmental groups and dismissed politicized charges against dissidents,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “This is an opportunity to end a politicized saga by throwing out the case while parliament drafts a new law that will decriminalize peaceful activity by nongovernmental groups.”...."

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