Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 01 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Coverage of Gaza in the Israeli media

Read more

REPORTERS

1914-1918: The Depths of Hell

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 01 August 2014

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Exclusive: Israel's US ambassador speaks to FRANCE 24

Read more

#THE 51%

World War One: The war that changed women’s lives

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Ségolène Royal goes for green

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

A look back at some of the Observers' best stories

Read more

DEBATE

Argentina Defaults: Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds' (part 2)

Read more

  • Hamas denies capturing Israeli soldier as Gaza truce lies in tatters

    Read more

  • Exclusive: Israel's US ambassador speaks to FRANCE 24

    Read more

  • Police 'chokehold' caused NYC death, coroner rules

    Read more

  • French most keen to erase their online footprint, says Google

    Read more

  • Air France ground workers to strike on August 2

    Read more

  • Rogue general denies Islamist seizure of Benghazi

    Read more

  • Ugandan court strikes down anti-gay legislation

    Read more

  • 1914-1918: The Depths of Hell

    Read more

  • Regional summit to tackle deadly Ebola outbreak

    Read more

  • French hospital to open wine bar for terminally ill patients

    Read more

  • Video: Tipping is dying out in French café culture

    Read more

  • €2.5 million in cocaine ‘disappears’ from Paris police HQ

    Read more

  • Appeal court keeps French rogue trader Kerviel in jail

    Read more

  • Interactive: France’s new plan to counter jihadism in Africa

    Read more

  • Ukrainian army suffers losses in separatist attack

    Read more

  • Argentinian markets plummet following default

    Read more

Africa

Egypt defends raids on NGO offices

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-01-02

Egypt has defended the decision last week to raid the offices of 17 non-governmental organisations, some funded by the US, as part of investigations into illegal political funding. Washington has threatened to cut aid to Egypt over the raids.

REUTERS - Egypt’s government on Sunday denied accusations from human rights groups that it was trying to smother some of the ruling military council’s most vocal opponents when it raided the offices of 17 non-governmental organisations last week.

Angered by the swoops, Washington called on Egyptian authorities to halt “harassment” of staff of the groups involved, which included the U.S.-funded National Democratic Institute and International Republican Institute.

The U.S. government also hinted it could review the $1.3 billion in annual military aid to Cairo if the raids continued.

Egyptian government ministers told a news conference the authorities had acted within the law as part of an investigation into illegal funding of political activities.

“These violations are criminal and the punishment could include imprisonment,” said Justice Minister Adel Abdelhamid Abdallah.

He said Egypt was keen to support human rights groups, including foreign ones, and that 35,000 organisations were operating under the law and with appropriate permits in Egypt.

“It is not just Egypt that bans political funding or funding that has political aims,” said Planning and International Cooperation Minister Faiza Abu el-Naga. “Even the U.S. bans such funding.”

She said the number of non-governmental organisations violating the law on funding political activities had grown since an uprising overthrew President Hosni Mubarak last year.

Both ministers stressed the independence of Egypt’s justice system, but did not explain what democracy campaigners and many other Egyptians see as the legal system’s failure to bring to justice those responsible for the deaths of more than 850 people during the anti-Mubarak revolt.

“The justice system and prosecutor’s office are quick and efficient in investigating and charging civil society and rights groups that have critically revealed human rights violations by Egyptian authorities against protesters,” said activist Mohamed Fahmy.

“Yet they cannot bring a single official or police officer responsible for the killing of the martyrs of the revolution to justice,” he added.

Almost a year since the uprising, no official has been convicted for the killing of protesters. On Dec. 29 an Egyptian court cleared five police officers of criminal charges over the killing of five protesters during the revolt.

Abu el-Naga said the government was “keen in light of the gains of the January 25 revolution to assert human rights and the respect of the Egyptian citizen”.

Washington’s ambassador to Egypt, Anne Patterson, had promised that U.S. groups whose premises were searched in the investigation would seek to register themselves with the authorities, Abu el-Naga said.

It was not immediately clear which of the groups targeted in the raids had been registered beforehand.

Civil society groups that helped drive the protests that toppled Mubarak in February have become increasingly vocal in criticising what they call the army’s heavy-handed tactics in dealing with street unrest in recent months.

In a joint statement last week, 27 civil society groups said the military council ordered the raids to defame and stigmatise activists, rights groups and others at the forefront of the anti-Mubarak revolt.

Date created : 2012-01-02

  • EGYPT

    Egypt 'agrees to end crackdown on rights groups'

    Read more

  • EGYPT

    Egyptian police raid offices of rights groups in Cairo

    Read more

COMMENT(S)