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Egypt's Sisi ratifies NGO bill restricting human rights groups | Reuters

CAIRO Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi signed into law a bill regulating the work of non-governmental organisations that has been widely criticised by rights groups, a presidential decree showed on Monday.Human rights groups and activists say the law in effect bans their work and makes it harder for charities to operate.

The bill restricts NGO activity to developmental and social work and introduces jail terms of up to five years for non- compliance.Parliament passed the bill in November but did not immediately send it to Sisi, who constitutionally has 30 days to sign a bill into law or veto it.

Egyptian rights activists say they face the worst crackdown in their history under Sisi, accusing him of erasing freedoms won in the 2011 Arab Spring uprising that ended Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule.

The government had been working for years on a new law regulating NGOs, which human rights groups feared would be more restrictive than Mubarak-era rules, but the bill drafted by lawmakers was so restrictive even cabinet ministers objected to it. Non-political charities say the bill restricts them at a time when subsidy cuts and tax increases have made it harder for Egyptians to make ends meet. (Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein; Editing by Giles Elgood and Andrew Bolton)

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Published Date: May 29, 2017 22:02 PM | Updated Date: May 29, 2017 22:02 PM

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