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Asmaa Naiem

HRD & lawyer

Asmaa Naiem is a human rights lawyer and researcher focusing on justice and accountability for human rights abuses as well as women’s rights. She provides legal assistance to political prisoners and detainees. Asmaa Naiem is a member of the Front to Defend Rights and Freedoms, a coalition of NGOs, human rights defenders and journalists, and previously worked for the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights.

A significant crackdown on civil society in Egypt has been taking place since 2014. HRDs face an extremely challenging situation due to restrictions imposed on civil society and peaceful public gatherings and protests, travel bans, the arrest and sentencing of HRDs, bloggers, journalists and protesters, as well as an ongoing smear campaign against human rights groups.

Law 84 of 2002 regulates the establishment and functioning of NGOs. The law provides the Executive with several means and venues to exercise political control over the work of NGOs, including restricting their access to foreign funding and their ability to join international associations. It also provides the government with wide powers of dissolution. Human rights organisations are being subjected to judicial investigations by a committee of experts to assess whether they comply with Association Law 84/2002. Bans on their events have also been taking place.

A counterterrorism law enacted in August 2015 defines terrorism in very broad terms, and is being used to restrict freedom of expression and intimidate government opponents, journalists and human rights defenders.