CAIRO: After speaking at the European Parliament (EP) on the Egyptian human rights record, director of Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) Bahey eldin Hassan was referred to investigations Tuesday, CHRS said in a statement Wednesday.
President of the EP Martin Schulz condemned the investigations, tweeting Wednesday that “[h]arassment on [human rights] defenders in #Egypt unacceptable.”
The organization, which reallocated its regional activities to Tunisia and kept its Egypt Program operating from Cairo in December 2014, added that a committee from the Egyptian Ministry of Social Solidarity was tasked with “looking into its (CIHRS) activities.”
In a May 28 session at the EP, CIHRS said “Egypt has become a republic of fear in which politics are absent, and the current administration is controlling the political process with no notable accountability or oversight.”
“Rights NGOs’ and human rights defenders’ activities have been further curtailed, as the range of harassment measures to target them has broadened, from politically-motivated investigations for foreign funding, travel bans and defamation campaigns in the media, to threats to their lives, but also their homes, workplaces and ability to travel,” CIHRS said in the statement.
The new NGOs law, which stipulates that NGOs must obtain a prerequisite approval for raising funds, was rejected by several NGOs, saying “it is politically motivated.” The organization said such law led to “closure of some five international organizations operating in Egypt and prison sentences of one year (suspended) to five years for various staff members.”