Appeals Court orders retrial in foreign funding case

Association

In a move welcomed by civil society groups in Egypt, the Court of Cassation on 5th April 2018 revoked prison sentences against 16 individuals (including an American and a German national) and ordered a re-trial of their case. In 2013, 43 Egyptians and foreign NGO employees were sentenced for illegally receiving foreign funds and operating without a licence. The 'Foreign Funding case' or case No.173/2011, which was widely condemned by United Nations independent experts and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, exemplifies the crackdown on civil society organisations and consequent restrictions on civic space in Egypt. 

In a joint statement issued following the decision, civil society groups declared that:

“the case rested on fabricated security allegations...after the investigative bodies failed to prove any of the charges, state-aligned media outlets launched smear campaigns against these organizations, accusing them of collaboration, espionage, and high treason. Rights organizations and defenders have been subjected to reprisals, defamation, blatant incitement to violence, and even incitement to murder”. 

CSOs also noted the lack of fair trial guarantees in the case, and emphasised that justice and the rule of law must prevail if Egypt is to have any hope of creating a democratic, stable and secure society free from political extremism and terrorism.