NGO trial judge was not referred to criminal court, says successor

President of the Cairo Court of Appeals Yousry Abdel Karim has denied news saying his predecessor, Abdel Moez Ibrahim, had been referred to a criminal court.

A privately-owned newspaper and a satellite channel had earlier said that Ibrahim had been referred to a criminal court, and that Abdel Karim was removed along with other judges for lifting a travel ban on US suspects accused of working for unlicensed NGOs and receiving illegal funds in February.

Abdel Karim voiced deep sorrow over the reports. “It is enough that Justice Minister Ahmed Mekky and the Public Prosecution denied the news,” he said.

Abdel Karim noted that he had not been a member of the court division that lifted the ban on the NGO workers.

He called upon the media outlets which reported the news to reveal the identity of the source who gave them the “fabricated” news in order for him to be prosecuted.

Security raids of NGOs offices in December, which included US organizations, were part of investigations by Egyptian authorities into the alleged foreign funds received illegitimately by those organizations. The crackdown caused a deterioration in Egypt’s relationship with the US and threatened to end its annual military aid to Egypt.

Several judges had filed complaints against Abdel Moez Ibrahim, the head of the Cairo Court of Appeals, decrying his alleged intervention in the trial of workers involved in the case.

A later decision by the appeals court to deport the 19 Americans involved in the case stirred a public uproar against the government and the ruling military, and raised doubts about the independence of the judiciary.

Edited translation from MENA

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