CAIRO: Abdul Ghaffar Shukr, vice president of Egypt’s state-run rights watchdog National Council for Human Rights, said the council is prepared to stand in solidarity with the April 6 Youth Movement regarding a court ruling to ban the movement’s activities, if the movement requests their assistance, Youm7 reported Thursday.
“I am against banning citizens’ rights to participate in political activities through legal organizations,” Shukr said in a statement.
He also said organizing civil groups or entities is a valuable gain of the January 25 Revolution, adding that the National Council for Human Rights supports implementing the articles of the constitution and rejects the banning of civil rights granted under law.
All activities of the April 6 Youth Movement have been banned by a decision of the Abdeen Court for Urgent Matters on April 28, charging the group with espionage and defamation of the state.
Members of the April 6 Youth Movement announced on April 29 in a press conference that they will appeal against the ruling, Youm7 reported.
Human Rights Watch stated on its website on April 30 that it condemns the court ban on Egypt’s leading pro-democracy movement as a violation of freedom of association.
The international organization described the court’s ban as a violation of citizen rights, peaceful assembly, and free expression. It also urged authorities to overturn the ruling in court.
“Banning political dissent won’t make it go away,” said Joe Stork, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa division. “A judge’s gavel can’t turn back the clock to before 2011.”
Hundreds of April 6 Youth Movement members protested in front of the Press Syndicate on April 30 against the ruling, and against Egypt’s protest law, according to the movement’s Facebook page.
Ahmed Maher and Mohamed Adel, founders of the movement, were sentenced to three years in jail and fined 50,000 EGP for violating the protest law and assaulting police officers in November 2013 in front of Abdeen Court.