EXILE: Day 1: #NGOtrial judges hold presser to spew xenophobic, anti-Israel rubbish disguised as legal reasoning.
Original Arabic story via Youm7 here.
Legal Basis/Grounds for the funding case… The Court: a form of control and soft imperialism of the State… Ignorance of the law by the defendants does not protect them from punishment and any foreign organization may operate only after the conclusion of an agreement with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Cairo Criminal Court rendered its ruling in the case of foreign funding sentencing the 27 defendants in absentia to 5 years of imprisonment, 5 other defendants in their presence to two years of imprisonment, and 11 other defendants to one year of imprisonment with stay of execution, imposing a fine on each defendant of EGP1000, closing all the headquarters and branches of IRI, NDI, Freedom House and German Konrad Adenauer Foundation throughout the Republic, and ordering the confiscation of their money and papers seized at said headquarters.
The verdict was rendered by the tribunal presided by Judge Makram Awad and the membership of Sobhy Al Labban and Hany Abdel-Halim President of the Court and the Secretariat Mohamed Alaa and Mohamed Taha.
The Court confirmed that funding has become a global mechanism forming, within its framework, international relations between the donor and the recipient and that funding is considered a form of new control and domination and a less-expensive soft colonialism, pursued by donor countries to destabilize the security and stability of the receiving countries, which are meant to be weakened and dismantled under the former regime, which curtailed Egypt’s status, whether regionally or internationally, and surrendered to the freewill of USA in building bridges to normalize with Israel. Therefore, “foreign funding” for civil society organizations emerged on the surface as one of the manifestations of this normalization, under the pretense of external support, dialogue with others, promoting democracy, governance, human rights organizations and other names in which they hide.
The Court added that, in view of the deterioration of the political and social conditions in Egypt and the people’s feeling of the State’s weakness, laxness and disintegration for letting their fate determined by the hands of political groups (the gang) that is governed by their own interests and not by loyalty to the homeland. On January 25, 2011, a true People’s revolution erupted to dislodge the rubble from the Egyptian people, crack domination, subordination and dependence on Israel which bled the wrist of every Egyptian. Freedom, human dignity and social justice were regained, which were absent from Egypt many years ago.
It ousted those who held power and paved the way toward building a modern civil democratic state, making the United States and the countries supporting the Zionist entity to worry and to be terrified. Accordingly, the US reaction was that they threw all their weight against this change, where the old mechanisms are no longer able to fit. Then, the U.S. funding took a new dimension in an attempt to contain the revolution, twist its currents, and direct it to serve their own interests and that of Israel.
So it established branches for its NGOs within Egypt outside the legitimate frameworks, to perform a lot of activities that have a political nature, “which may not be licensed at all” since they are considered as a breach of the principle of “sovereignty”, a principle that is well known in international law and punishable by law in all countries of the world, including the United States of America.
The Court stated that the German side provided, through the German Konrad Adenauer foundation, funding to those people in charge of that organization for the operation of political activities that are not licensed from the first place. Said organization implemented hundreds of political training programs and workshops and financed many natural persons, organizations and entities unlicensed to perform civil work. Said activities may not be licensed for their breach of Egypt’s sovereignty.
The Court explained that it was satisfied with the testimony of Dr. Fayza Aboul Naga, the former Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, former Ambassador Marwan Zaki Badr, the supervisor of the Office of the Minister of International Cooperation, Osama Abdel Moneim Shaltout, Director of Non-Governmental Organizations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Leila Ahmed Bahaa Eddin, Deputy Assistant to the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Human Rights, and Aziza Youssef, Head of the Central Administration of Associations and Unions at the Ministry of Solidarity and Social Justice, as well as with the investigations conducted by the National Security, Administrative Control Authority, and Public Funds Department, the report of the fact-finding committee, the statements made by the defendants before of the Investigating Judge regarding the establishment of these NGOs branches, their funding from the main headquarters in the United States of America as well as from Germany. Further, the Court was satisfied with the outcomes of seizure and inspection of the NGOs headquarters done by the Public Prosecution.
In the legal grounds, the Court rejected the defendants defense alleging their ignorance of the law, stating that awareness of the Criminal Law and its complementary punitive laws are generally assumed by all, thus the Court does not accept this allegation of ignorance and error/violation thereof as an excuse to deny criminal intent and that the Non-Governmental Organizations Law No. 84 of 2002 contains criminal penalties, and therefore it is complementary to the Penal Code and violation thereof does not deny criminal intent.
The Court stated, therefore, the fact that the defendant was not aware that the NGO is not authorized by the government, does not deny his criminal intent, as this is considered ignorance of the criminal rule itself. Such ignorance cannot be deemed an excuse so long that this criminal rule imposes on the addressee the commitment of investigating about the organization, in which he is going to work before being employed therein. Therefore, if he omitted to do this investigation and waived such obligation, he should blame no one but himself. This negligence and the intent are considered the same thing.
The Court also raised the issue that was highlighted by the defense that the charges attributed to the defendants are governed by the provisions Non-Governmental Organizations Law No. 84 of 2002, which enforcement date is subsequent to that of the provisions added to the Penal Code, rendering said Law more suitable to the defendants, and taking into consideration that the articles of accusations contained under the Penal Code are annulled by virtue of Article7 of the enactment clauses of NGOs Law. The Court responded on this, stating that the Criminal Law governs the crimes that fall under its jurisdiction until the binding force of a subsequent law ceases to exist. Further, the Court added that change of the constitution does not repeal a specific crime, which is still, in the view of the legislator, punishable from the time of its occurrence.
As for what was raised by the defense of applying the NGOs Law as more favorable to the defendants, the Court stated that Article 76 under Part V of said Law recommended reverting to the Penal Code or any other law, in case there exists a more aggravated penalty than that contained in Article 76. Whereas the crimes attributed to the defendants are punishable under the Penal Code with more aggravated penalties than that mentioned under the NGOs Law, the articles of accusations/counts contained under the Penal Code should be enforced, where there is no room for enforcing the most favorable law to the defendants.
Regarding the allegation raised by the defense of German Konrad Adenauer foundation of the prescription of the crime for which the defendants are prosecuted by virtue of the statute of limitations principle, the Court state that that accusation ascribed to the defendants that they managed, without a license from the Egyptian government, a branch of an international organization, that was unlicensed by the Egyptian government, and received money against committing that crime and that the crime attributed to them is not the establishment of a branch of the organization, but rather the management of a branch of the organization. The nature of said physical act renders it a continuous crime, which statute of limitations begins with the cessation of the continuity of the act since it a regenerative continuity. The defendant shall continue to be guilty of an offense at all times and his crime is punishable as long as he continues to do it and it did not come to an end yet.
Within the context of what the defense raised regarding the applications submitted by some NGOs to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for obtaining authorizations to operate since 2005, which are still pending, and that is considered as an implicit authorization to operate, the Court explained that this does not give the right for any foreign non-governmental organization to work in Egypt or open branches thereof except after the conclusion of a standard agreement with the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and sending it to the Ministry of Solidarity and Social Justice to register the branch of the organization. The Court added that submission of an application does not entail any legal effects that allow those foreign non-governmental organizations to operate in Egypt, since its position differs from that of the Egyptian NGOs, which are allowed by virtue of the Law to incorporate and perform its activities after notification of the Ministry of solidarity to said effect, in case the Ministry did not object or reject the establishment thereof within 60 days after such notification. Thus, the organization is considered operating without license whether it submitted an application for obtaining said license from concerned authorities without any response regarding same, it received a rejection for its application, or it did not submit any application at all.
The Court concluded in its ruling that one cannot imagine, by reason and logic, that the USA or other countries supporting the Zionist entity, has any interest or a genuine desire for establishing a real democracy in Egypt. In fact, history shows that those countries have a well-established faith that their interests are easily achieved with dictatorships working and that damages will be incurred with real democracies.
The second fact is that the donor which pays the money provides it for serving his own agenda that is already set, and the strategies that it desires to achieve from them, and its objectives are often in contradiction with the noble objectives of the voluntary organizations that seek to raise the awareness and the development of society and the defense of human rights.
The third fact is that foreign funding of non-governmental organizations is a stumbling block before Egypt, which its people want, but at the same time paves the way for Egypt, which its enemies want.
The Court, having emphasized on those facts, called upon the concerned authorities in the Egyptian society to approach and encourage NGOs and human rights groups that do not desire nothing but righteousness and consciously upgrading democracy in the society with good faith and to be financed from inside donors so as suspicions will not hover about them or interests direct them. The Court requested the Attorney General to conduct investigations with organizations, associations and entities that have received funding from some Arab and foreign countries and that were mentioned in the report of the fact-finding committee, as those carried out with the organizations concerned with this ruling and to quickly terminate the investigation with all those persons who enabled the foreign defendants to escape.