Democracy ALERT: Egypt – 85 Civil Society Organizations Have Been Cleared of Charges of Foreign Funding but One Remains Under Investigation

March 26, 2024

On March 20, 2024, a Cairo Court dropped the charges against five civil society organizations (CSOs) accused of receiving foreign funds in the long-standing Case 173 citing lack of evidence. Judge Ahmed Abdel-Aziz Qattalan dismissed the case against the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), Arab Penal Reform Organization (APRO), Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), and El-Nadeem Against Violence and Torture Organization. Case 173 originated in 2011 after the Egyptian government requested the Minister of Justice to investigate foreign funding of CSOs in Egypt. As Case 173 moved forward, CSOs were affected by a series of repressive measures, including raids, travel bans, asset freeze orders, summoning of staff for interrogation, and closure orders. In 2013, 43 international NGO workers were also convicted to prison terms ranging from one to five years by a Cairo criminal court.

Over the past two years, judges have consistently issued rulings dismissing charges against civil society organizations involved in Case 173. With the ruling on March 20, the number of Egyptian civil society organizations cleared of criminal charges linked to Case 173 reached a total of 85.

The World Movement for Democracy welcomes these resolutions while noting that not all civil society organizations in Egypt have been yet cleared of criminal charges. The Arab Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and Legal Profession (ACIJLP), one of the first organizations raided in the mass crackdown on civil society back in 2011, was referred to the Supreme State Security Prosecution in 2017 and has not received any communications regarding their legal standing. The World Movement for Democracy stands in solidarity with ACIJLP’s call for the investigating judges to provide an update on their case.