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.
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

36 people are confirmed dead, but some 266 remain trapped on board More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends 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