News / Africa

Egypt Agrees to Stop Raids on Democracy Groups

Egyptians pray during a demonstration in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, December 30, 2011.
Egyptians pray during a demonstration in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, December 30, 2011.
TEXT SIZE - +

The U.S. State Department said Egypt has agreed to halt raids against non-governmental pro-democracy groups and return property seized in the crackdown.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson spoke Friday with senior Egyptian officials to underscore Washington's concern about the raids on the organizations, including three groups funded by Washington.  

Egyptian security forces stormed 17 offices of human rights groups Thursday as part of an investigation military rulers say will reveal how foreign funding has fomented the country's ongoing unrest.

But a group of Egyptian human rights organizations has accused the country's ruling military council of attempting to "take revenge" against pro-democracy groups by raiding their offices.

A statement signed by 28 Egyptian civil society groups said the raids were part of a wider campaign to discredit activists who criticize the country's interim military rulers.

The group called the raids "unprecedented," saying that not even under former president Hosni Mubarak's repressive government did such raids occur.

Among the groups targeted were the National Democratic Institute and International Republican Institute - both of which are funded by the U.S. government. The offices of the U.S.-based Freedom House also were raided, along with Germany's Konrad Adenauer Foundation and at least two Egyptian non-governmental organizations.

Heavily armed men searched offices in Cairo and at least two other cities, confiscating computers, documents, cell phones and funds while holding staff members incommunicado.

Egypt's state-run news agency MENA said the raids were directed by the Justice Ministry as part of a wider investigation into "illegal foreign funding" of the organizations, as well as other "crimes," including operating without permits.

Egypt's interim government and military rulers have criticized U.S. funding of non-governmental organizations, saying such assistance must have official approval.

Earlier this month, Justice Minister Abdel Abdel-Hamid accused about 300 nonprofit groups of receiving unauthorized foreign funding and using the money to support anti-government protests.

Egypt is currently investigating foreign financing for such groups operating in the country. Prosecutors have described the practice as treason.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

Join the conversation on our social journalism site - Middle East Voices. Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid