[JURIST] The Egyptian government prohibited a prominent human rights lawyer from leaving the country on Thursday. Negad Borai, the lawyer who runs the United Group for Law [advocacy website] intended to visit family in Jordan when airport authorities prevented [AP report] him from boarding a plane. Borai’s name had been added to the country’s no-fly list by the public prosecutor’s office. Though no charges have been filed against him, Borai is accused of “deliberately spreading false information with the purpose of harming public order or public interest”—a common accusation imposed on civil rights activists in Egypt. In November the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression and the Cairo Institute for Human Rights [advocacy websites] issued a joint report [report] citing 80 travel bans instituted by Egypt between January 2014 and September 2016.
Egypt has been internationally scrutinized in recent months over allegations of human rights infringements and free speech violations. In December Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court upheld [JURIST report] the effective ban against protests. The current law requires individuals seeking to protest to inform the interior ministry, at least three days prior, of any public gathering with more than 10 people, allows security forces to break up unapproved protests with water cannons, tear gas, and birdshot, and imposes up to five years of jail time for violation of various protest restrictions. In September an Egyptian court froze assets [JURIST report] of five notable human rights activists and three NGOs for allegedly accepting foreign funds without governmental authorization. In July Amnesty International criticized [JURIST report] the Egyptian government for abducting and torturing hundreds of citizens during a crackdown on political activists and protesters.