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US troubled by freezing of Egyptian human rights defenders' assets

The United States has said that it is troubled by the decision of an Egyptian court to freeze the assets of human rights defenders.

“This decision comes against a wider backdrop of restrictions on Egyptian civil society activity and will produce neither stability nor security,” the State Department said in a press release on Wednesday.

The full text of the press release is below.

The United States is troubled by the decision by an Egyptian court after a judicial process to freeze the assets of additional human rights defenders, including Mozn Hassan of Nazra for Feminist Studies and Mohamed Zarea of the Arab Penal Reform Organization. These freezes follow similar actions against the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, the Hisham Mubarak Law Center, and the Egyptian Center on the Rights to Education – and their leaders – in September.

These human rights organizations work to document violations and abuses, advance women’s rights and gender equality, and defend the freedoms enshrined in Egypt's constitution. This decision comes against a wider backdrop of restrictions on Egyptian civil society activity and will produce neither stability nor security. We urge the Government of Egypt to lift these asset freezes, take all legally available measures to end the investigations into these human rights non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and ease restrictions on association and expression so that these and other NGOs can operate freely.