Egypt: Constitutional Court nullifies government’s right to dissolve NGOs
Egypt’s Supreme Court has cancelled a parliament bill allowing the government to dismantle Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that it accuses of getting foreign funds or aligned with outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.
State-run MENA news agency reported the court’s Saturday decision, which ruled unconstitutional a recent civil society law that granted the ministry of social affairs the right to close NGOs.
“The Constitution prohibits the administrative bodies to intervene in the affairs of the NGOs… unless there is a judicial verdict,” the Supreme Constitutional Court said in its ruling, which is final.
Egyptian authorities have dissolved hundreds of NGOs over alleged links with the Muslim Brotherhood, declared outlawed and judged worse than a terrorism organization.
Fattah al-Sisi, then defense minister, removed in July 2013 Egypt’s first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi, a member of the organization, before he was elected President in 2014.
Authorities have seized properties and assets of the Muslim Brotherhood. Thousands of its members, including Morsi himself have been flung in prison and handed multiple court sentences.
Al-Sisi’s regime also accuses civil society groups of getting foreign funding with the aim of toppling the government.
The decision to dissolve NGOs has triggered reactions from international human rights watchdogs and from Egypt’s partners, including the USA, which called for reconsidering the law.