Rights defender banned from travel for involvement in foreign funding case

Monday 27-06-2016 03:50 PM

Women rights defender Mozn Hassan. Photo from Nazra for Feminist Studies

CAIRO, Jun 27 (Aswat Masriya) - Egyptian airport authorities prevented women’s rights defender Mozn Hassan from travelling to Lebanon on Monday over accusations that she is involved in a high-profile case on NGOs’ alleged foreign funding. 

The case dates back to 2011 and has brought heavy criticism to Egypt since it started with Egyptian authorities raiding several NGOs and launching an investigation into foreign funding allegedly received by them. It later on simply came to be known as the NGO trial, in which 43 Egyptians and foreigners were convicted in 2013.

Hassan, a co-founder and executive director of Nazra for Feminist Studies, was stopped at the airport while she was on her way to Beirut to participate in the Executive Committee meeting for the Women Human Rights Defenders  Regional Coalition for the Middle East and North Africa, Nazra said in a statement.

She had been summoned for interrogation over the NGO case shortly after it was reopened in March.

According to Nazra, the judge presiding over the case notified the attending lawyers then the he will specify an appointment for them to review the case’s papers, and will subsequently summon Hassan at another time.

The NGO said in a statement on Monday that “the travel ban comes as a third step within the frame of interrogating her and referring her to the judiciary.”

Hassan was not the only one interrogated from Nazra for alleged affiliation with the foreign funding case. Three other members of the women’s rights organisation were summoned days before Hassan was summoned.

The NGO case involves a number of leading Egyptian rights defenders and journalists including the executive director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Gamal Eid and the founder of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights Hossam Bahgat.

Local and International rights organisations have criticized the reopening of the case.Amnesty International urged the Egyptian government to "end the onslaught" on human rights defenders.

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