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Co-founder of anti-torture NGO Al-Nadeem prevented from traveling

Authorities at Cairo International Airport prevented Suzanne Fayyad, co-founder of Al-Nadeem Center for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture, from traveling on Wednesday as she attempted to board a flight to Tunisia.

Fayyad, who was traveling to participate in a conference on the rehabilitation of child victims of torture, told Mada Masr that a security official informed her that the decision to bar her from traveling was issued by an investigative judge, but did not provide further details.

It is not clear whether Fayyad’s travel ban has been issued in connection to an ongoing investigation of a number of human rights organizations and activists, more widely known as the “NGO foreign funding case.”

Airport authorities also prevented another founder of Al-Nadeem, Aida Seif al-Dawla, from traveling in November 2016.

A number of human rights activists have also been issued travel bans without prior notice as part of the NGO foreign funding case, including Cairo Institute for Human Rights director Mohamed Zaree, Nazra for Feminist Studies director Mozn Hassan, investigative journalist and former head of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights Hossam Bahgat, Arab Network for Human Rights director Gamal Eid, human rights lawyer Negad al-Borai, and Center for Egyptian Women Legal Assistance head Azza Soliman.

Al-Nadeem Center provides rehabilitation services to victims of torture and violence through short and long-term psychological and medical support. The center also issues monthly reports about torture and violence in prisons and detention facilities, as well as human rights violations committed by police, since its establishment in 1993.

In November of last year, Al-Nadeem reported that their bank account was frozen following a directive from the Central Bank of Egypt, although the freeze was lifted a few days later.

The center was forcibly closed February 2017, one year after a dispute with the Health Ministry over the legality of its operations. At the time of the closure order, the ministry claimed that the center had shifted its focus from being purely a medical facility to taking on human rights issues and advocacy, in violation of the law.

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