News / Middle East

    Egypt Sets Date for Trial of US Democracy Activists

    Egyptian state media has announced that the judiciary will go ahead with the trial of 43 democracy advocates, including 19 Americans, in the case of allegedly illegal funding of foreign non-government organizations.

    The announcement by Egyptian state media that the case against foreign and Egyptian democracy advocates, including 19 Americans, will go to trial on February 26 is raising already high tensions between Egypt and the U.S.

    The Americans accused in the case have officially been barred from leaving the country.  Sam LaHood, son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood, who is Egypt director of the International Republican Institute, is among those charged.  Several defendants have taken refuge at the U.S. embassy in Cairo.

    Egyptian state security forces raided the offices of several international pro-democracy NGOs in December, seizing computers and closing down their offices.

    Speaking on Thursday before a U.S. congressional committee, Lorne Craner, president of the International Republican Institute, strongly criticized Egyptian authorities, saying those charged have been denied basic legal rights under Egyptian law.  The IRI chief said the current NGO dispute should be resolved soon.

    "Egypt has chosen to make the NGO issue the central concern in America, Europe and elsewhere.  And the longer this issue goes on, the more difficult it becomes to unravel, and the more it poisons any new partnership we might be able to form with Cairo," he said.

    The case has prompted intense media scrutiny in both the U.S. and Egypt, heightening tensions between the two long-time allies.  Egypt's International Cooperation Minister, Faiza Abou Nega, has drummed up support for the case in the Egyptian press, for what analysts speculate are political motivations.

    Several U.S. members of Congress have urged the Obama administration to cut foreign aid to Egypt over the case. Several prominent members of Egypt's powerful Muslim Brotherhood have in turn called on Egypt to re-examine its 1979 Camp David Peace Treaty with Israel if that aid is cut.

    Joint Chiefs of Staff head General John Dempsey met with Field Marshall Mohammed Hussein Tantawi this past week to discuss the case.  Senator John McCain of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is also due in Cairo in several days to meet top Egyptian officials.

    Veteran Egyptian editor and publisher Hisham Kassem says that there is a political dimension to the case, and that it has serious economic implications for Egypt.  He argues that the U.S. will probably issue a waiver to avoid cutting the $1.3 billion in annual military aid to Egypt, but believes there will be a freeze in other international aid to the country:

    "There will be no investments or loans coming into the country.  This is the perfect way to isolate Egypt from the international community.  I am shocked at statements made by Fayza Abou Nega who is saying that the attack on her coming from the States is a badge on her chest and that she is negotiating loans, when this is a lie.  This is one of the worst things happening in the country now since the revolution began," he said.

    Egyptian officials say privately that the country's ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces is furious about the judiciary case, but are extremely reluctant to interfere.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    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.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora