Egypt releases prominent human rights activists but freezes their assets
© WikiMedia (Jonathan Rashad)
Egypt releases prominent human rights activists but freezes their assets

Egyptian prosecutors ordered the release Thursday of three human rights workers who had been arrested last month on terrorism-related charges. At the time of the release, it was unclear whether the release indicated that the charges had been dropped. However, Cairo’s Third Circuit Terrorism Court ordered on Sunday a temporary freeze of “all personal assets and property” of the three men.

The three men—Gasser Abdel-Razek, Karim Ennarah and Mohammed Basheer—work for the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR). Abdel-Razek is the executive director of the organization, Ennarah is the criminal justice director and Basheer is the administrative director. The three men were arrested after hosting foreign diplomats from 13 Western nations for a discussion about the situation of human rights in Egypt.

According to EIPR, the ruling to freeze the three men’s assets came “without hearing any oral arguments or allowing defense lawyers to even read the freeze order.” This is not the first time an EIPR worker’s assets have been frozen. Hossam Bahgat, the founder of the human rights organization, has had his assets frozen for years and has also been banned from leaving the country.

Despite the release of Abdel-Razek, Ennarah and Basheer, an EIPR researcher named Patrick Zaki continues to be detained. He was arrested on February 7 on charges of disseminating false news and inciting to protest. Recently, the Third Terrorism Circuit of the Criminal Court “decided to renew the detention” of Patrick Zaki.