Friday, March 2, 2012

Egypt must end attacks on civil society

1 March 2012

"The decision to lift a travel ban on seven US nationals facing trial as part of an NGO crackdown in Egypt is a welcome step but it does not go far enough, Amnesty International said.

The organization has called for the charges based on the repressive NGO law against those on trial to be dropped, and for the authorities to end their attacks on civil society.

The seven are part of a group of 43 people – all but 14 of whom are foreign nationals – currently on trial for allegedly breaching Egypt’s Law on Associations.

Travel bans reportedly remain in effect for others connected to the investigation and there are fears that this case is being used as a prelude to a wider assault on Egyptian human rights organizations. Other foreign nationals are also reportedly under a travel ban in relation to a different case.

“The Egyptian authorities must not use this heavily publicized case to distract international attention from the situation faced by human rights organizations in the Egypt,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

When the international attention is gone, human rights activists in Egypt will bear the brunt of this offensive, both in court, and under the threat of an even more repressive Law on Associations.”......"

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