Egypt travel bans, asset freezes choking civil society -rights groups


CAIRO (Reuters) – Years-long travel bans and asset freezes towards a few of Egypt’s most distinguished activists are getting used to muzzle civil society and are exacting lasting injury on the private lives of these focused, in line with two studies by human rights groups.

Researchers say it’s unimaginable to estimate the variety of folks affected by the measures, which are sometimes open-ended and imposed with out official notification.

There has been a sweeping crackdown on Islamist and liberal dissidents in Egypt beneath President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who as military chief led the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Mursi in 2013 and was elected to the presidency a yr later.

Egypt’s state info service didn’t reply to a request for remark.

Sisi and his supporters say safety measures taken over the previous 9 years have been essential to stabilise Egypt and that they’re working to offer fundamental rights similar to jobs and housing.

The instances of 15 folks affected by travel bans together with ladies’s rights activists, researchers and attorneys, have been highlighted in a report by U.S.-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) and London-based rights group FairSquare printed on Wednesday.

A separate report by the U.S.-based Freedom Initiative and Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy, printed on Tuesday, mentioned travel bans have been usually politically motivated, utilized in an arbitrary style, and offered no recourse for problem.

“Egyptian authorities are utilizing travel bans as yet one more device in an arsenal of repression,” mentioned Allison McManus, analysis director on the Freedom Initiative.

Dozens of these arrested within the crackdown have just lately been amnestied or free of pre-trial detention, although rights groups say hundreds stay jailed.

Some travel bans towards activists caught up in a 2015 case investigating overseas funding of non-governmental organisations have been dropped, however others stay in place. Eleven folks within the case nonetheless have their property frozen, HRW mentioned.

The HRW report cited a number of activists linked to the Egypt Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), one of many nation’s most distinguished rights groups, who’re nonetheless banned from travel, together with founder and director Hossam Bahgat and Patrick Zaki, a researcher arrested then launched after writing about discrimination towards Egypt’s Coptic Christians.

It additionally cited the case of Waleed Salem, a graduate researcher of Egypt’s judiciary who has been separated from his 13-year-old daughter for 4 years, and lawyer Nasser Amin, who it mentioned was prevented from visiting the International Criminal Court in April to signify victims of the battle in Darfur, due to a travel ban beneath the NGO case.

(Editing by William Maclean)

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