Egyptian authorities forcibly shut down NGO supporting victims of torture and violence

Association

On 9th February, the Egyptian authorities forcibly shut down the Al-Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence, a local organisation that treats victims of torture and trauma. As staff arrived at the facility in the morning, they found out that the place had been sealed off by police and the building's doorman had been taken into police custody for questioning.

Al-Nadeem is a non-governmental organisation which, in addition to offering therapy for torture victims, also documents cases of police violations. As noted in press reports, its forcible closure came as its co-founder, Seif el-Dawla, was fighting against a court order to have the center shut down. The content of this order, issued in March 2016, had not been made public; however, it was reportedly based on vague government claims that the organisation had violated health regulations.

In a statement published in February 2016 in response to accusations by the Health Ministry that the organisation had deviated from its aims and violated the law by shifting its focus from providing medical services to advocating and working on human rights issues, Al-Nadeem said:

“If the ministry means by human rights activity, [exposing] ‘torture and police oppression of members of terrorist organizations,’ this activity is done by the center, not the clinic, which is none of the ministry’s business.”

Seif al-Dawla also stated at the time:

“If they want to consider us a human rights organization, and if this is the accusation, let them say it out loud, then it will be our turn to reply. [...] This is a step within a larger context, where there is crackdown on NGOs."

Al-Nadeem is also among a number of non-government organisations currently under criminal investigation on  charges of illegally receiving foreign funds.

Tags: CSO closure