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NGO: Gaza court overturns closure order

Aug. 5, 2011 3:07 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 6, 2011 7:44 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Gaza’s High Court of Justice on Thursday overturned a government decision to shut down Sharek Youth Forum's Gaza offices, the NGO said.

The court ruled in favor of the forum’s appeal against the July 12 closure by the interior ministry and national security department, a move that had been criticized by local civil society and the United Nations.

Judges called on the general attorney and the ministry of interior officials to explain their reason for shutting the children and youth NGO, while the court was still examining the legality of a 2010 decision to close it down, Sharek said after the hearing Thursday .

In July, UN humanitarian envoy Maxwell Gaylard expressed concern that the closure notice was issued while judicial proceedings were ongoing and in the absence of any conviction of the NGO or individual staff members for malfeasance.

Also Thursday, a delegation of the Sharek Youth Forum in the West Bank visited Hamas leader and Palestinian Legislative Council Speaker Aziz Dweik in his Hebron office to discuss the future of the group in Gaza.

The NGO representatives said they agreed with Dweik on the importance of reopening the offices to continue providing services to youth in Gaza.

The Hamas leader said he was working to restore the forum’s offices, and affirmed their closure was illogical and illegal, Sharek Youth Forum said.
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