Egypt freezes assets of anti-torture NGO
CAIROEgyptian authorities have frozen the assets of a prominent human rights group that works with torture victims, the head of the organization said on Nov. 10.
The move came months after authorities tried on two separate occasions to shut down the El Nadeem Centre for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Torture and Violence.
“Today they informed us that the legal department at our bank had received a ruling from the Central Bank to freeze our account,” the group’s head Magda Adly told AFP.
She said the central bank linked its decision to the group’s “legal status” and conforming with a repressive NGO law that dates back to the rule of president Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted in 2011.
In February and April, authorities issued orders to close the center with the health ministry saying it was carrying out “activities other than those allowed” in line with its association permit.
London-based watchdog Amnesty International denounced the move, and urged authorities to revoke the decision against the center, which provides psychological support for torture and violence victims and documents complaints of torture in detention.
“The Egyptian authorities’ decision to arbitrarily freeze its bank account is a cruel blow to human rights in the country,” said Amnesty’s regional advocacy director Philip Luther.
“This is yet more evidence of the Egyptian authorities’ chilling contempt of perceived critics,” he added in a statement.
“The El Nadeem Centre for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence is a lifeline for hundreds of victims of torture and for families of people who have been subjected to enforced disappearance,” Amnesty said.
Meanwhile, Egyptian security forces had deployed in the main squares of the capital and set up checkpoints around Greater Cairo in anticipation of the planned “revolution of the poor” protests scheduled to take place on Nov. 11, against the worsening economic conditions, a local security source told state-run Anadolu Agency.