Egypt delays deadline for local and international groups to register under criticized law

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A senior Egyptian government official says authorities have pushed back a deadline for local and international non-government organizations to register under a restrictive law or risk being shut down, a decision that was criticized as a way to silence critics of the government.

The initial decision called on civil groups to register under a law that dates back to longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak, and which gives the government wide-ranging powers to interfere in their work, finances and staffing. Violators risked being shut down or prosecuted.

Khaled Sultan, an official in the Social Solidarity Ministry in charge of such groups, told The Associated Press on Sunday that the government pushed the deadline to November. It follows an outcry from local and international rights groups who said the measure targets them.