All you need to know about Egypt’s ‘Foreign Funding’ case



Thu, 05 Apr 2018 - 01:00 GMT


Thu, 05 Apr 2018 - 01:00 GMT

Still of judge announcing the verdict in the "Foreign Funds" case, April 5, 2018 - YouTube/ON Live

Still of judge announcing the verdict in the "Foreign Funds" case, April 5, 2018 - YouTube/ON Live

CAIRO – 5 April 2018: Egypt’s Court of Cassation has overturned on Thursday prison sentences against 16 defendants in a case dubbed in the media as the “Foreign Funding” case.

The case was originally opened against 43 defendants, some of which are foreigners, who were accused of receiving illegal foreign funds for their NGOs and civil society organizations. Of those charged were famous activists Hossam Bahgat, and Gamal Eid.

The following is a timeline on the case:

July 2011: Formation of a Fact-finding Committee

The then-Minister of Justice, Mohamed al-Gendy, ordered the formation of a committee to check and find facts pertaining to the funding of local organizations with foreign money, and the establishment of unlicensed foreign organizations in Egypt.

In September 2011, Soldier Advisors Sameh Abu Zeid and Ashraf Ashmawy joined the Cairo Court of Appeal to investigate the committee’s report on foreign funding for organizations and civil society organizations.

February 2012: 43 Sent to Criminal Prosecution

Abu Zeid and Ashmawy sent 43 defendants, of which 19 were Americans, five Serbians, two Germans and three Arabs, to the Criminal Court with charges of receiving illegal foreign funding and employing it in restricted activities. The Court of Appeal set a trial on Feb. 26, 2012.

On Feb. 28, the court, headed by Judge Mohamed Shokry Al-Tenhy, decided to relegate the case to another court due to its sensitivity.

Feb. 29, 2012: Travel-ban lifted off foreign defendants

The Cairo Court of Appeal decided to lift the travel-ban off the foreign defendants in the case after an LE 2 million bail was paid for each of them, which provoked the public. In Mar. 1, 2012, nine Americans along with 8 others of varied nationalities left on a private American plane.

June 2013: Verdict issued

Some 43 defendants, of which 14 were Egyptians, 29 were Americans, Europeans, and Arabs, were charged with receiving foreign aid amounting to $60 million, through 68 unlicensed rights and civil society organizations operating in Egypt.

Cairo Criminal Court, headed by Judge Makram Awad, had issued a verdict in June 2013, penalizing 27 absentees with five years’ imprisonment. Of the absentees, 18 were Americans and the rest were of varied nationalities, and all were managers of different organizations’ branches in Egypt.

The court also issued a verdict of two years’ imprisonment on five present defendants, of which one was an American, another was German, and three were Egyptians. The other 11 present Egyptian defendants received a verdict of one year’s imprisonment and a fine of LE 1,000 each.

March 2016: Case Reopens

Judges Hesham Abdel Meguid and Ahmed Abdel Tawab, who were assigned to the “Foreign Funding” case, decided to prohibit Hossam Bahgat and Gamal Eid and their respective families, along with five others, from having the freedom to handle their finances. The Criminal Court subsequently scheduled a trial on Mar. 19, 2016 to look into the decision, and has scheduled to issue a verdict on Sept. 17, 2016.

Abdel Meguid had said that banning managers of civil society organizations from traveling was just a “precautionary measure” until they have been investigated, and that they were not charged with anything.

Sept. 17: Supporting the prohibition of Eid and Bahgat and others from disposing of their money

Cairo Criminal Court supported on Sept. 17, 2016 prohibiting rights activists Gamal Eid and Hossam Bahgat along with five others from disposing of their money, for being tied with Case 173 of 2011 titled “Foreign Funding”, while it rejected the request to withhold their wives and children’s money.

The prohibition on the disposing of personal finances was imposed on the following: Gamal Eid, manager of The Arabic Information Network for Human Rights, Hossam Bahgat, founder of The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, and two of their respective families. It was also imposed on Bahi Eldin Hassan, founder of Cairo Center for Human Rights, Moustafa Al-Hassan, manager of Hesham Mubark Law Center, and Abdel Hafeez Tayel, manager of the Egyptian Center for the Right to Education.



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