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Leading rights activist warns of unknown future for NGOs in Egypt

The executive director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information tells Al-Monitor that the government wants to “turn civil society into a government division.”
Human rights activist Gamal Eid is seen at a court in Cairo, March 24, 2016. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih - RTSC4NZ
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CAIRO — Egyptian human rights organizations are facing a major crisis that threatens their very existence. A number of those affiliated with these organizations are being prosecuted for their criticism of the current regime’s policies, and the government is using various measures to limit their work. Chief among these is reopening probes into accusations that nongovernmental organizations received foreign funding to destabilize the country — knowing that such charges can incur penalties up to life imprisonment — and bringing legal proceedings, including ones that can impose travel bans and asset freezes, against prominent human rights activists.

Gamal Eid, a prominent rights activist and executive director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), has been banned from traveling and his assets were frozen, along with the assets of his wife and his minor daughter. Eid spoke to Al-Monitor about his concerns over the escalating campaign led by the state against civil society organizations, and expressed his apprehension regarding the unknown future that awaits them in Egypt.

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