News / Middle East

    US 'Deeply Concerned' About Egypt Activist Trials

    In this Thursday, December 29, 2011, file photo, workers from one of the US non-governmental organizations, the National Democratic Institute, wait as Egyptian officials raid their office in Cairo.
    In this Thursday, December 29, 2011, file photo, workers from one of the US non-governmental organizations, the National Democratic Institute, wait as Egyptian officials raid their office in Cairo.

    The United States has expressed deep concern over Egypt's decision to put 43 people on trial over charges of "illegal funding" of pro-democracy groups.

    A judicial source in Cairo said Sunday the cases of the 43 suspects, including 19 Americans, five Serbs, two Germans, three Arab nationals and an unspecified number of Egyptians, have been transferred to the Cairo criminal court.  Among the 19 Americans is Sam LaHood, head of the Egypt office of the International Republican Institute and the son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.  

    The judges overseeing the probe also accused the foreign and Egyptian activists, which have been banned from leaving the country, of "running organizations without the required licenses."

    A date for the start of the trial has yet to be set.

    U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says Washington is deeply concerned over the developments and is seeking clarification from the Egyptian government.  

    On Saturday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned her Egyptian counterpart the dispute may lead to the loss of more than $1.3 billion in annual military aid to Cairo.  But Foreign Minister Mohamed Amr responded Sunday by saying the government cannot interfere in the work of the judiciary.

    The Obama administration has strongly criticized Egypt's crackdown on the non-governmental organizations, three of which are based in Washington.  An unspecified number of Americans involved have sought shelter at the U.S. embassy.

    The investigation into the NGOs is closely linked with the political turmoil that has engulfed Egypt since the ouster nearly a year ago of former president Hosni Mubarak, a close U.S. ally who ruled Egypt for almost 30 years.

    The military generals who took power after Mr. Mubarak's fall have accused "foreign hands" of orchestrating the protests against their rule and often say the demonstrators are receiving funds from abroad to destabilize the country.

    Egyptian authorities carried out 17 raids on the NGO offices in December, confiscating everything from cell phones, documents and computers to safes, desks and money.  Despite assurances given to U.S. officials, two of the organizations said that as of last month, no property or cash had been returned.

    Egyptian civil society groups say the ruling military council ordered the raids to harass activists at the forefront of the anti-Mubarak revolt who have since been pressing for the army to swiftly hand power to civilians.

    In a letter sent last week to Clinton and U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, 41 members of the U.S. Congress urged the Obama administration to withhold further aid to Egypt until the organizations are allowed to reopen and all seized property is returned.

    The letter also called for an end to the judicial probe and that the NGOs be allowed to resume their work.

    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

    Video Twists and Turns Aplenty in US Presidential Race

    Even as Americans pause for this week’s Memorial Day holiday, much attention is focused on the presidential contest

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora