The Cairo Criminal Court postponed for the third time on Wednesday ruling on a lawsuit to freeze the assets of Hossam Bahgat and Gamal Eid to 23 May.
The investigating judge ordered the postponement of the “NGOs’ foreign funding” case.
The case was brought against investigative journalist Hossam Bahgat and human rights lawyer Gamal Eid, as well as the latter’s wife and daughter.
The first session in the case was held on 18 February and also adjourned, as the defendants were not officially informed of the case. Both defendants also denied that they were officially informed of the Saturday session.
The court also announced the addition of three other defendants on Tuesday evening, including founder of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Baha El-Din Hossam, his family and brother, the director of Hisham Mubarak Law Center Mostafa Al-Hassan, and the director of the Egyptian Center 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.
Forty-three NGO workers were put on trial, including 32 foreigners, and were convicted of unlicensed work and receiving illegal foreign funds. Twenty-seven defendants, all foreigners, were sentenced to five years imprisonment in absentia, while another five foreigners received two-year sentences and 11 Egyptians received a one-year suspended sentence and a EGP 1,000 fine.
The reopening of the case was met with concern, sparking fear of a new crackdown on human rights activists.