News / Middle East

Egypt Blocks Departure of US NGO Workers

Egyptian authorities are preventing some U.S. citizens from leaving due to an investigation of work civil society groups conducted regarding recent elections, Dec. 2011 (file photo).
Egyptian authorities are preventing some U.S. citizens from leaving due to an investigation of work civil society groups conducted regarding recent elections, Dec. 2011 (file photo).

Egyptian authorities are preventing several U.S. citizens from leaving the country because of ongoing investigations into the work of civil society groups supporting the country's legislative elections.

State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says U.S. officials are “very actively involved” with their Egyptian counterparts to lift the travel ban.

"We have several U.S. citizens working at various international, nongovernmental organizations in Egypt that have been questioned by judges in Egypt, and they are currently not being allowed to depart Egypt in connection with the government's investigation of NGOs," said Nuland.

Nuland says “four or five” Americans who are being prevented from leaving Egypt have contacted the U.S. embassy in Cairo, but that privacy rights prevent her from identifying them by name.

One of those caught up in the travel ban is Sam LaHood, son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. Sam LaHood directs the Egyptian program of the Washington-based civil society group International Republican Institute.

He and his staff, along with members of the National Democratic Institute and Freedom House, were questioned repeatedly by Egyptian authorities after they shut down their local offices last month, accusing the three U.S. groups of using foreign funds to support popular unrest.

Nuland says that after being prevented from boarding their flights, all of the Americans were allowed to keep their passports and that none were detained.

"We are urging the government of Egypt to lift these restrictions immediately and allow folks to come home as soon as possible," she said. "And we're hopeful this issue will be resolved in nearest days."

Treatment of international and domestic NGOs in Egypt has been a major point of disagreement between Egypt's new leaders and the Obama administration. Washington has called repeatedly for the return of computer equipment and documents seized from NGO offices during police raids.

As Egypt marks the one-year anniversary of its popular democratic uprising, Nuland said there have been positive steps and areas of concern. Successful parliamentary elections and the lifting of most emergency laws have been encouraging, she said.

"This is a relatively new thing for Egyptian bureaucrats and for the Egyptian judicial system," she said, explaining that Egyptian officials have been slow to adjust to all of the elements that surround democratic voting. "We have not had open elections of this kind in Egypt, so we've got new NGOs on the Egyptian side. We've got NGOs on the international side wanting to do what we do in countries around the world, which is to support the process, not to support any individual candidate."

Nuland says the Obama administration will continue to promote freedoms for civil society groups to support the electoral process, and that the administration is working with Egyptian authorities to improve bureaucratic procedures for properly registering those groups.

You May Like

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

Euro falls after European Central Bank announces a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program More

Saudi King’s Death Clears Succession Route

Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef is Saudi Arabia's New Crown Prince-in-waiting More

Cloud Hangs Over US Counterterrorism Efforts in Yemen

Sources say resignations of Yemen's president, government has left US anti-terror operations 'paralyzed,' yet an American military 'footprint' remains More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid