Egypt: The responsibility of banks for asset freeze orders against human rights defenders
In 2016 and 2017, an Egyptian court issued a number of travel bans, arrests and asset freezes against human rights defenders in a case dealing with the funding of local and foreign NGOs. In September 2016, asset freezes were ordered against Hossam Bahgat, founder of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights; Gamal Eid, director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information; Bahey el-Din Hassan, director of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), Mostafa al-Hassan, director of the Hisham Mubarak Law Center; and Abdel Hafez Tayel, director of the Egyptian Center for the Right to Education (ECRE). The court also froze the assets of CIHRS, the Hisham Mubarak Law Center, and ECRE. A few months prior to that, the judges ordered an asset freeze against the Andalus Center and its Director, Ahmed Samih. In December 2016, an asset freeze was ordered against Azza Soliman, head of Lawyers for Justice and Peace, as well as her private law office, and in January 2017, the judge decided to freeze the assets of Mozn Hassan,
In December 2016, an asset freeze was ordered against Azza Soliman, head of Lawyers for Justice and Peace, as well as her private law office, and in January 2017, the judge decided to freeze the assets of Mozn Hassan, founder, and director of Nazra for Feminist Studies, as well as Mohamed Zarea and Atef Hafez, both of the Arab Penal Reform Organization. The asset freeze orders come on top of travel bans against at least 12 rights activists imposed by investigating judges.
We invited Ahli United Bank (AUB) to respond to concerns regarding its role in the asset freeze of Ms. Azza Soliman. Responses from AUB and rejoinders from Azza Soliman are provided below. We also contacted IFC with questions about its investment in AUB and its position on the responsibility of banks for freezing the assets of human rights defenders. IFC's response is provided below. We will continue to monitor allegations against relevant banks and relevant entities and will consider inviting them to respond in due course.