Watchdog urges Egypt to reverse decision closing rights group

September 18, 2007 13:22

A New York-based rights watchdog urged the Egyptian government on Tuesday to rescind its decision closing down one of the country's leading human rights organizations for receiving foreign aid. Human Rights Watch said the Egyptian government's decree dissolving the Association for Human Rights Legal Aid (AHRLA) was "an affront to freedom of association." AHRLA, which reports on human rights violations and provides legal assistance to victims, was ordered to close down for violating a law that bans non-governmental organizations from receiving foreign funding without prior government permission. On Sunday, security forces surrounded the organization's headquarters in downtown Cairo to prevent more than a hundred activists and several leaders of human rights organizations from obstructing the seizure of the AHRLA's assets.

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