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ANHRI lawyer released on LE20,000 bail in NGO foreign funding case

Release orders for Rawda Ahmed, an Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) lawyer, were issued by the investigating judge in the NGO foreign funding case on Thursday, according to lawyer Ali Atef.

Judge Hesham Abdel Meguid ordered that Ahmed, who was issued summons on May 7, be released on LE20,000 bail pending investigations into charges of tax evasion, Atef told Mada Masr.

The ANHRI lawyer was first summoned for interrogation on May 26, 2016. At the time, the judge postponed the investigation for one week, and then for an extended period of time due to Ahmed’s pregnancy.

Two other ANRHI lawyers, Karim Abdel Rady and Nour Fahmy, were also interrogated in July 2016. No charges have been brought against them, however.

Over the past two years the state and security bodies have pursued measures against ANHRI and its staff members, implementing a travel ban on founder Gamal Eid in February 2016, and freezing his assets later that year. Access to the network’s website was also barred on some Egyptian internet service providers in August 2017, bringing it among the approximately 500 websites currently blocked in Egypt.

Several branches of the Al-Karama library project, also founded by Eid, were shuttered in in December 2016.

The NGO foreign funding case (Case 173/2011) dates back to December 2011, when Egyptian authorities stormed the headquarters of a number of foreign civil society organizations and formed an investigative committee to look into their activities. The investigation was split into two parts: a case dealing with foreign organizations operating in Egypt, which is currently in retrial, and a second case addressing local organizations, which is still under review.

In addition to Eid, a number of other human rights activists — including Hossam Bahgat, Mohamed Zarea, Mozn Hassan and Azza Soliman  — have been interrogated in relation to the case, had their assets frozen and been banned from leaving Egypt, pending investigations into charges of receiving foreign funding with the aim of destabilizing national security.

On Sunday, the interrogation of Magda Adly, one of the founders of Al-Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence, was postponed by an investigating judge, as part of the same case.

AD