Cairo Criminal Court postponed for the fourth time on Monday ruling on a lawsuit to freeze the assets of investigative journalist Hossam Bahgat and lawyer Gamal Eid to 17 July.
Eid told Daily News Egypt that during the court session the defence team requested for the court to review the case documents, but the court said that reviewing documents will be decided after receiving ”instructions”.
Eid contended that the court might allow them to review documents in accordance with the law or to only review documents while being present in court sessions only without being able to take copies.
The lawyer said that, whatever the court decides, the defence team will submit a request to take a copy from the case documents. The lawyer said the documents are needed to review and prepare their legal evidence.
In such cases, appeals are not applicable after the final decision, as defendants must wait three months and then submit a request to drop the ruling, the lawyer explained.
One day before the trial, Eid appeared in a video published on the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), in which he said the judge who submitted the lawsuit to freeze their assets accused them in the lawsuit of receiving illegal foreign funding without providing any papers evidencing this.
He also said he knew that the accusation made against him in the case was mainly made by National Security police officers due to his critical work and his organisation’s reports on state violations.
The case was brought against investigative journalist Hossam Bahgat and Eid, as well as the latter’s wife and daughter, and three other defendants from other NGOs. The others include the founder of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Baha El-Din Hossam, his family and brother, the director of Hisham Mubarak Law Centre Mostafa Al-Hassan, and the director of the Egyptian Centre for the Right to Education Abdel Hafeiz Tayel.
The “NGOs’ foreign funding” case dates back to December 2011 when prosecutors, backed by the police, stormed the offices of 17 local and international NGOs, including the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute, and Freedom House. The NGOs were being investigated for allegedly receiving illegal foreign funding.