The noose continues to be tightened around the necks of human rights defenders in Egypt. Sept. 21 was another dramatic day, marked by a raid at the headquarters of the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF), which is among the groups monitoring Giulio Regeni’s case on behalf of his family.
The state investment authority visited the headquarters of the organization, accompanied by National Security agents and a police van, and threatened to seal the doors. The staff attorneys in the office argued back and managed to ward off closure, pointing out that the organization is legally registered as a law firm and did not violate any law. (Many human rights organizations in Egypt do not seek NGO status to avoid the heavy restrictions imposed.) Back in October 2016, the organization suffered a similar episode, when agents executed warrants to search the file folders of disappeared Egyptians.
“It is no coincidence that the ECRF was planning to meet with Giulio Regeni’s family, to continue to assist in the investigations into Regeni’s forced disappearance and murder in 2016,” says a statement from the commission, which also spoke on behalf of Regeni’s parents Paola and Claudio.