Africa News

Pakistan Press Foundation is concerned over the unlawful persecution of Eid and Bahgat

Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) in a letter to Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, President of Egypt expressed concern over the unlawful persecution of Gamal Eid, director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, and Hossam Bahgat, founder of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights.

PPF Secretary General Owais Aslam Ali in his letter urged the government of Egypt to remove the travel ban and asset freeze on Eid and Bahgat and end the order blocking reporting of the case, and provide normal legal access to their representatives.

According to International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), since February both Eid and Bahgat have not been allowed to travel out of the country without explanation or option of appeal. In the previous month, their properties were also frozen.

Eid and Bahgat have faced Case no. 173, the ‘foreign funding’ case, which has recently been re-activated. Both were schedule to appear in court this 20 April to defend themselves from possible charges of accepting foreign funding without authorization- charges that since an amendment to Egypt’s penal code in 2014, can carry a penalty of life imprisonment.

The re-activation of Case 173 and ongoing use of Law 84 are in contradiction with the constitutional rights now guaranteed to Egyptian citizens. Article 75 of Egypt’s 2014 constitution explicitly recognizes the right of non-governmental organizations in Egypt to exist and carry out their functions freely and without interference by agencies of the state, subject to no restriction save giving notification of their existence and demonstrating their transparent and non-military activity.

Banning Eid and Bahgat from traving and freezing their assets without a clear judicial charge or stated duration violates their constitutional rights as citizens.