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Egypt's NGOs face 'orchestrated, escalating' assault from authorities

A widening security crackdown on civil society organizations and activists has left many in Egypt pessimistic about the future.
One of the 14 Egyptian activists accused of working for unlicensed non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and receiving illegal foreign funds, speaks with American Robert Becker (L) of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in a cage during their trial in Cairo March 8, 2012. An Egyptian judge said on Thursday he was delaying until April 10 the trial of civil society activists including 16 Americans accused of receiving illegal foreign funds and pursuing their pro-democracy activities without a licence. REU

Seventeen Egyptian rights organizations have released a joint statement condemning what they described as “an orchestrated, escalating assault on Egyptian civil society” organizations in recent weeks.

The statement, published on the official website of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies on March 21, added that recent measures adopted by the authorities against a number of rights organizations — including travel bans, summons for questioning and the freezing of assets of two prominent rights defenders — were an attempt “to entirely eliminate rights organizations” and use the judiciary as a political tool to silence dissidents.

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