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Egypt Drops Charges Against Human Rights Groups, Releases Activists and YouTube Star

Egypt Drops Charges Against Human Rights Groups, Releases Activists and YouTube Star

Egypt’s high court. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Egypt announced on Monday that it had dropped charges against four human rights groups who had faced charges of illegally receiving foreign funds and using them to harm national security, including the United Group, the Egyptian Democratic Institute, the Egyptian Society for Upgrading Societal Participation and Lawyers for Justice and Peace.

The court ruling also lifts asset freezes and travel bans on the staff of the four NGOs, including el-Borai, lawyer Azza Soliman and activist Esraa Abdel-Fattah.

On Sunday, Egypt also released Youtuber Shadi Srour, journalist Shaimaa Sami and activist Ziyad Aboel-Fadel late Sunday from a police headquarters in Cairo, according two lawyers, Khalid Ali and Ismael el-Rashedi, AP reports.

This comes in light of a series of events of releasing political prisoners and rights advocates, as Human rights lawyer and activist Mahienour El Massry and journalists Mostafa Al Asar, Moataz Wadnan, and Esraa Abdelfattah were released from prison on 18 July.

The three faced charges of “participating in a terrorist group, as well as publishing false news on social media.”

Youtuber and comedian Shadi Srour initially became popular on YouTube for his satirical videos. He sparked controversy on social media in February 2019 after he announced in a Facebook post that he was leaving Islam, identifying himself as an atheist.

Following a call for demonstrations by regime critic and fugitive journalist Moataz Matar on al-Sharq TV Channel, which is based in Turkey. Police arrested Srour and several others in March 2019. Srour also posted a video titled “Enough el-Sissi” in which he endorsed calls made by the self-exiled Egyptian businessman Mohamed Ali for people to protest against the president.

Ziyad Aboul Fadl, who is also a member of the leftist Bread and Freedom Party, was detained in March 2019 on charges of joining a terrorist group, misusing social media and spreading false news.

 

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