|Published : 18 Sep 2016, 10:24:24 | Updated : 18 Sep 2016, 11:31:13|
Egypt Court freezes assets of human rights defenders and NGO's
A court in Egypt has ordered a freeze on the assets of five prominent human rights activists and three non-governmental organisations.
All are accused of receiving foreign cash in a case stretching back to 2011.
If convicted, they could face up to 25 years in prison. A prominent rights campaigner and an investigative journalist, Hossam Bahgat, is among those whose assets have been frozen.
The UK-based human rights group Amnesty International on Saturday called the ruling a "shameless ploy" to silence activism.
The other four activists named in the court ruling include Gamal Eid, Bahey el-Din Hassan, Mustafa el-Hassan and Abdel-Hafiz Tayel.
The five face charges of illegally receiving foreign funds and using them to harm national security.
The NGOs that have had their assets frozen are the groups three of them were leading.
"We can live under threat, but we will not collude with a police state that despises human rights," Eid wrote on his Facebook account after the ruling, referring to the 2011 uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak.
He said the decision sent a message to civil society campaigners to toe the line or else.
The initial case into foreign funding of NGOs was launched amid a crackdown against civil society groups after the uprising in early 2011 that left the military in charge; according to BBC.